Scouting Notes: 2023 Talent League Girls – Elimination Finals

FINALS kicked off last weekend in the Coates Talent League Girls competition as the four matches determined which four sides advanced through to the preliminary finals. As always, we took note of some of the top performers, with. focus on the players who represented Victoria at the recent championships, or bottom-age talents.

The notes are the opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • Oakleigh Chargers
  • Calder Cannons


#2 Sarah Poustie

Playing both inside and outside, the bottom-ager had a game to remember. Though others took centre stage early, Poustie kept at it and worked hard a kick behind the play and then getting to the outside. She would often start at a stoppage then spread wide to provide an extra number on the outside, while being a presence overhead. She took a number of crucial marks, including a couple of outstanding contested marks at half-forward in the final term to send the ball back inside 50. She ran hard all day and cracked in from start to finish.

#3 Sienna Tallariti

Yet again was a reliable force at half-back, taking a number of strong marks both intercept and from her teammates running out of defence. Boasting an outstanding right foot, she was able to nail a pass on the wing close to the line perfectly, and used the ball well by hand or foot. She has got better as the season went on, and was particularly influential in the first and third terms when Calder was attacking with the breeze. Her hands were safe and strong.

#5 Abbey Vicino

The bottom-ager just kept finding the ball and running hard. She won it in close and looked to use her first few steps to explode away and get it forward. She kicked a great goal on the run in the second term and got involved in scoring transitions across the match. Her polish at the end is an area that can be tidied up, but her work rate and ability to both read the ball off hands and then take it forward really caught the eye.

#6 Maggie Mahony

Another consistent ball-winner in the midfield, Mahony cracked in and did all she could to force it forward. She was a little fumbly at ground level in the conditions, but acted as a fierce tackling presence. She had her moments and kept running well, setting up a nice goal going inside 50 to Lily Hart who duly delivered on the run.

#8 Lara Hausegger

Thought not a huge ball-winner, Hausegger tried hard and had some composed moments in defence, mopping up at half-back and getting it forward. She had a few good touches in the opening term when Calder was attacking ,and cleared the ball from danger. Though not having to do a lot when her side was kicking with the breeze, her tackling pressure was notable.

#17 Lucy Cronin

Her work out of defence, particularly in the opening term when Calder had the breeze was ultra impressive. In challenging conditions, she moved well and importantly, hit targets, even managing to hug the boundary with a kick and nail a pass to a teammate leading out on the wing. Not so much an aerial presence, Cronin was often one used off a handball receive or mopping up herself, getting into the right spots.

#24 Jemma Rigoni

Owning a wing all day, Rigoni ran hard up and down between the arcs and had a lot more impact than her stats would suggest. She took a number of good marks working into space and directed her teammates where to run and go. Holding a good line, Rigoni was able to be an option out side, and she sent the ball inside 50 on a number of occasions, using her run and carry down the ground to influence the match.

Calder’s Kayley Kavanagh had a big day out again despite her side going down in a loss | Image credit: Rookie Me Central


#3 Chloe Baker-West

The inside midfielder had a crack and won her fair share o the ball yet again. She put her body on the line and worked for repeat possessions around the ground, with a commanding presence that teammates looked to often. Though when under pressure she tended to blaze away and bomb the ball forward, she kept working hard in close and shovelling the ball out, while getting into defence to support. Baker-West copped a knock late in the game but kept going, and was another key feature of the Cannons’ strong midfield.

#5 Jade McLay

Was one of the hardest runners all day after starting in the ruck. At times she played behind the ball and at others in attack, clunking a number of fantastic marks along the way. She was strong at the stoppages, and McLay was often held, and showed her frustrations, but provided some big bumps and asserted her influence on the contest in all thirds of the ground. She tried to set up a goal to Steph Mitchell in the third term but the ball slipped out of Mitchell’s grasp in the goalsquare.

#15 Shauna McElligott

Presenting up forward all game, the double bottom-ager showed some good hands around the ground. She worked up to be a marking target on the lead, and not just inside 50, but between the arcs as well. At ground level, she laid a fantastic tackle on the wing in the second term to win a free kick, and perhaps just ironing out the decision making by foot is the next step. A promising player for the future who has enjoyed an exciting season.

#18 Sarah Grunden

The forward had a tough day because of limited opportunities, but presented when she could, and even in the dying minutes, won a touch on the wing and under pressure hit a pass across her body effectively. Though she had minimal impact on the game given she played forward the four quarters, Grunden got into spots where she could be used if required.

#24 Amy Gaylor

The AFLW Academy member was solid across the four quarters, with her defensive pressure unsurprisingly her standout trait. She cracked in, mostly playing midfield and shovelled the ball out to teammates on the outside. In the fourth term, she won an early clearance bursting forward and lowering the eyes well, but it was mostly her tackling and ability to force repeat stoppages that really showed on the day.

#25 Kayley Kavanagh

The best on ground across four quarters, Kavanagh was sublime yet again dominating on the inside and outside. Her work around the coalface saw her win a number of crucial one-on-one balls and was unlucky not win some free kicks on occasions, and also put her body on the line time and time again. She drove the ball from congestion down the field, and most impressively, took some strong marks around the ground. Though pinpoint passing is a developing, she generally put the ball into the right spots.

  • Team
  • Eastern Ranges
  • Northern Knights


#6 Hayley McLaughlin

The hard-running winger got involved in everything across the course of the game, almost always making good decisions and able to hit up targets forward or centre. She not only pushed hard forward, but knew when to drop behind the ball, taking a good intercept mark at half-forward in the third term and getting others involved in transition.

#9 Emma Stilve

Had a big impact on the game and was the one who started the game strongly kicking two goals in the opening quarter. The first came in the opening 30 seconds getting on the board by running onto it. She kicked her second via a great snap from the boundary line just before quarter time to give her side a 28-0 lead at the first break. Stilve’s third major came running back hard towards goal against the breeze and made it count from a few metres out. It was not just her three goals that impacted the game, but her ability to work up the ground and present well.

#10 Laura Stone

In her second game back from injury, the Vic Metro Best and Fairest winner spent most of her time at both ends. She started in defence and did not see a great deal of it, though had a nice run and kick to half-forward in the opening term. Her greatest impact came in the final quarter where, playing forward, she clunked two great marks and converted both set shots back-to-back.

#14 Alyssia Pisano

Stepping up on the big stage in a big way, Pisano proved too classy for the Knights, booting four clever goals in pretty similar fashion. Aside from her set shot snap from the preferred side from a left-footer, the other three majors all involved her running hard, receiving the ball on the outside and snapping truly. After doing her job on the scoreboard, Pisano was thrown into defence and had a couple more touches clearing the ball.

#17 Grace Baba

Not overly prolific after quarter time, but Baba had some eye-catching runs from defence to attack. She was good overhead and produced a lovely timed spoil in the opening term, playing an accountable role, while being able to peel off and create some run for the Ranges as well.

#37 Evie Parker

The bottom-ager looked dangerous in attack, with her third term in particular an eye-catching one. Though she only managed to kick the one goal – with a clever snap with the outside of the boot – she threatened to kick multiple majors, getting into the right spots and presenting well. She was good one-on-one to work her way from behind to the front in marking contests, and though still a little fumbly at ground level, has some traits to work with for next year.

#39 Mackenzie Bourne

The bottom-ager rotated between ruck and attack and played her role, kicking 2.2 of which both goals came in the second term. Her first was a clever snap that bounced home, and her second was a soccer off the deck, both against the breeze. She provided a good target and even if she did not mark it, was able to get involved in transition and bomb it forward.

#54 Tayla McMillan

The classy double bottom-ager moved well around the ground and out of the stoppage, with her one-touch nature a feature of her game. Her release by hand is well-time and she dropped into a hole inside 50 and ran forward to have a shot which missed as she was pushed. Her elite sidestep is hard to miss, with the young gun set to break a few ankles in the future, but her natural ability being able to win the ball at ground level cleanly and burst away is what makes her so damaging. A second possession winner at stoppages, she was the standout inside midfielder in the game.

Laura Stone mostly played in defence then went forward and kicked two goals in the last quarter | Image credit: Rookie Me Central

Northern Knights:

#5 Zoe Hargreaves

Comfortably Northern’s best in defeat, Hargreaves returned from the Under 17s Futures match to do all she could for the Knights against a strong Ranges on-ball group. She worked hard around the ground and found space behind the ball, then drove it forward. Hargreaves did well cleaning up in defence and finding targets down the ground, while bringing great defensive pressure and deft touch to the play.

#11 Hannah Scott

The top-age defender had a tough day against Pisano, but tried hard all day and looked to direct the defence when it was under siege. Generally her neat kicking worked out well, though one poor kickout almost resulted in a goal. Her tackling was her best feature, locking the ball up on a number of occasions, but also conceded a few free kicks.

#14 Ava Jordan

Starting on-ball and spending the majority of her time there before resting forward, Jordan had an okay game when given chances. She is good at drawing free kicks given her size and smarts, and her ball use was exemplary. She only had the 11 touches in the end, and had moments in and out of the play, but still showed her traits.

#21 Mary Robinson

Though it was a tough day for the Northern forwards, Robinson kept presenting and while six touches do not jump off the page, she did show promising signs. Aside from her leading out, she had a brilliant play to set up the Knights’ sole goal, running hard towards the boundary one-on-one, winning the ball off the deck with one touch, spinning out of trouble, evading another opponent and dishing off by hand to Ava Vincent for an easy major from the goalsquare.

#34 Matilda Fitzgerald

A player who tried hard all day from defence, Fitzgerald usually took the kickouts or was the first option from the kickouts. She saved a goal early by laying a good tackle, then when going back tapped it across the line. When under pressure she tried to drive the ball down the ground and settled the defence. It was a challenging day for the Knights defence, but Fitzgerald had her moments.

#47 Olivia Gorman

One of a number of 2007-born Knights, Gorman bobbed up for some impressive moments. Her bodywork inside 50, particularly one-on-one caught the eye, and she took a good intercept mark in the second term inside 50. Her set shot did miss, but she continued to work hard to get to the front of contests, and though her polish could improve, she took three marks from 11 disposals from limited chances up forward.

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • Tasmania Devils

Geelong Falcons:

#6 Chloe Bryant

The Falcons midfielder had a productive outing through the midfield, finding plenty of the ball early and having a big first half. Her work in close and ability to spread caught the eye, also kicking a nice goal off a step in the third term. Bryant pushed hard forward whenever she could to be a good option in transition, and though she can rush at times, has some nice traits.

#7 Sara Howley

Another dominant ball-winning performance from the bottom-ager who racked up another 28 disposals and kicked a clever goal out of a forward stoppage that bounced home. That major got the side going in the fourth term to storm home, though she was impressive across the four quarters. she did get caught and pinged for holding the ball a couple of times, but otherwise was clean and effective by hand or foot.

#8 Mekah Morrissy

The hard-running winger was busy across the ground taking a game-high eight marks, while laying five tackles to go with her 18 disposals. Her efficiency was down on her usual output, mostly due to rushing kicks forward and looking to bomb to space. Her movement under pressure was very good and she showed off her evasiveness in each third of the ground.

#13 Seisia White

Involved throughout the match, bobbing up with some nice plays in transition, She was able to get the ball inside 50 consistently and apply pressure to the opposition. White did get run-down in attack during the third term and missed a shot on goal which would have been impressive from long-rang had it gone in, but she cracked in and contributed well.

#24 Chantal Mason

The competition leading goalkicker finished with three goals for the game, with two of those coming in the last quarter. Though not always being able to be involved with the ball up the other end, she presented well, and either clunked the mark or brought it to ground for her crumbers. Her first goal – a clever snap under pressure off a step – was the most impressive, with the remaining two coming from set shots she nailed easily.

#25 Chloe Adams

The Geelong skipper was simply sensational across the ground, phenomenal on both offence and defence, with a nice reward via a goal in the second term on the run. She willed herself to multiple contests and played to each siren, with a great run-down tackle on Strong just before the three quarter time siren. Clean with ball-in-hand and making good decisions, Adams’ performance across the board was outstanding.

Tasmania Devils:

#2 Ava Read

Read became the dominant goalkicker on the day, slotting four goals – all coming up the one end – and looking lively. She converted three from set shots after getting into good positions, with her hands and set shot routine consistent. The third of her four goals was easily the best, with the bottom-ager looking corralled on the boundary line against an opponent, then stepped inside and threaded the needle to perfection.

#8 Sophie Strong

The speedy midfielder had some eye-catching moments coming off the back of a strong Under 17s Futures game. She has quick hands and a nice burst, able to create separation on her opponents. Sometimes she can do a touch too much, getting run-down by Adams on the three quarter time siren or rushed it forward when she has more time, but has some rare eye-catching traits that will only improve with time.

#9 Mia Anderson

Having settled into the Tasmanian midfield with ease, Anderson was again busy throughout the match. Though she has had bigger games in the past, she still showed off her smooth moves exiting a stoppage, and generally used the ball going forward. Anderson’s clean hands and vision stood out in the loss.

#24 Georgia Clark

The AFLW Academy member worked hard throughout the game, and though she only kicked the one goal – a soccer off the deck in the goalsquare – she worked up and down the ground to present. She had 13 disposals, three marks and four tackles, though showed her strength to stand up in tackles and still get the handball away. Clark could have added another goal to her name in that first term following a great lead and strong mark, but just missed the set shot.

#25 Jorja Haberle

Holding up in defence, Haberle was often the one mopping up in defence and clearing the ball from danger. Though her efficiency could have improved, she save a number of forward forays by just getting it out to safety. Her hands off the deck were strong, and showed off a thumping boot. Haberle finished with a team-high 20 disposals, three marks and seven rebound 50s.

#26 Harriet Bingley

Another young one who worked hard across the ground, Bingley won the ball in each third of the ground and was influential for the Devils. She showed good strength overhead and a bigger body in the clinches. Though her polish could improve a little she is a great size and is still a double-bottom-ager with the potential to play on all three lines.

  • Team
  • Dandenong Stingrays
  • GWV Rebels

Dandenong Stingrays:

#6 Jemma Ramsdale

Ramsdale continued her incredible form of late, shutting star bottom-age forward Claire Mahony out of the contest. While Ramsdale had less inside 50s to deal with against the Rebels, she got proactive pushing up the ground and took a number of crucial intercept marks. Once again one of Dandenong’s best, she did well in leading the backline to restricting the Rebels to just one behind for the match.

#7 Mikayla Williamson

Though not as prolific as other weeks, Williamson still played her part, winning the ball around the stoppage and looking to burst away. Her kicking was down a bit on recent improvements, but there was a lot more pressure around the ball carrier too. Williamson’s highlight was a ripping goal on the run after bursting out of a stoppage on the forward side of the wing. Overall had her moments and used her pace to good effect.

#8 Meg Robertson

One of the more consistent Stingrays across four quarters, Robertson was handy going from the inside to the outside and working hard between the arcs. Her positioning behind the ball was effective and delivered a nice low bullet into Besanko in the third term, before working forward to mark off that next kick. Her set shot missed, but she remained solid throughout the second half, laying a great smother in the fourth term to lock it inside 50.

#15 Jemaya Bressan

Winning it consistently off a wing and going forward, Bressan’s kicking was a little hit and miss, but her ground level work and positioning stood out. In the fourth term, Bressan took a strong intercept mark reading the play well, then got a 50m penalty for encroachment, but unfortunately missed the subsequent set shot.

#23 Zoe Besanko

It was a really lively performance from Besanko who was only really let down by her accuracy. Kicking 2.3 from 14 disposals, Besanko’s speed on the lead was deadly, and her athleticism when rolling through the ruck, or when the ball hit the ground, was superb. She got involved in scoring plays and also applied some great pressure at ground level. Once that consistency in front of goal develops, she will end up kicking bags and be a handful for opposition defenders.

#25 Jemma Reynolds

The bottom-ager looked lively throughout the game and showed off the traits that earned her a place in the Under 17s Futures match. She took a strong mark early on one-on-one and was clean using the ball to the outside. She had a huge first term, and when given time and space, delivered some low, piercing kicks inside 50. In the last quarter, Reynolds won the ball on the wing, sidestepped an opponent and delivered a well-weighted pass inside 50 which lead to a goal.

#45 Elli Symonds

Arguably Dandenong’s best on the day, Symonds impressed not just in her ruck role, but up forward as well. Similar to Besanko, with the exception of the finishing, she looked incredible across the ground, laying some enormous tackles and clunking big marks. Her one goal came bursting from the centre square and kicking it on the run on instinct, with a couple more chances going close. It was her around the ground work that really showed off her athletic attributes, and produced a fantastic run-down tackle inside 50 late in the game.

#51 Evelyn Connolly

With plenty of experience around her inside 50, Connolly was able to shine and bob up for a couple of goals. The 2007-born Vic Country representative showed some fantastic football smarts, setting up a major to Besanko with a clever handball over her head after gathering well. Connolly’s two goals both came in the final term getting into the right spots and kicking from point blank range, but having the smarts to know where to move.

#60 Molly Reimers

Another Dandenong forward who looked dangerous even without hitting the scoreboard, as she almost kicked out in the last term. A link-up player to dish off to running teammates or those forward of the ball, the double bottom-ager followed up from her performance last week with another strong outing here. She clunked four marks to show her aerial progression this season and complemented the side in getting it forward.

#61 Nikita Harris

A lively distributor, Harris has her eye-catching moments in matches, and she did again against the Rebels. Collecting 16 disposals, Harris also laid seven tackles and had seven inside 50s, which sums up her balance of offensive and defensive traits. Possessing some clean hands at ground level, she continued her consistent form this season, and while not an aerial presence yet, does her best work at ground level with elite defensive pressure.

GWV Rebels:

#1 Isabella Davies

Davies set the tone in the first term on the wing going up against three opponents. After forcing the ball to ground, she held up one opponent then when another tried to run off, laid a fantastic tackle to win the ball back for her side. Clean at ground level and effective by hand, she tried hard all day even if under pressure she tended to bomb the ball a bit by foot.

#15 Millie Lang

The best-on for the Rebels, Lang was strong from start to finish, doing well in quelling in-form forward Sophie Butterworth. She did well aerially, and often brought the ball to ground, with her aggressive rebounding a feature of her game. At times she got a little too aggressive with her running, and when the ball turned over down-field, had not covered enough ground to get back, such as in the last term where the Stingrays kicked a goal from a two-on-one. Still, she did a far more right than wrong and was effective for the most part by foot.

#23 Maggie Johnstone

Johnstone might have only had the five touches, but she just does everything right. Starting off the game by reading the ball well off half-back to intercept from an opposition centre clearance, Johnstone showed good technique by foot. In defence in the third term, she read an opposition handball to perfection at top speed, bursting away and kicking down the ground.

#24 Lily Jordan

It was a tough day for forwards up the Rebels end, but Jordan played high and pushed up the ground to apply good pressure around the stoppages. She laid another seven tackles and plenty more pressure acts, which is what she does well when not winning it. Mostly won her touches under pressure and again could occasionally bomb it, but put it further afield when the team needed to gain field position.

#27 Tyla Crabtree

Found plenty of it around the stoppages and working hard to assist the defence, Crabtree was a defensive force with her tackling, willing to take on bigger opponents. Her work rate to get into positions to get-and-go was really good, with mostly her polish and consistency at winning it cleanly the key next. Certainly held her own across the four quarters and tried her heart out on the inside.

#35 Laila Lappin

Winning most of her touches behind the ball, Lappin took a couple of important intercept marks and tried hard against a trio of Stingrays talls. Though largely shouldering that load, Lappin was able to take the ball out of the ruck on a number of times and thump it down the ground. Another Rebel who battled hard against some quality opponents.

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