2023 Talent League Girls team reviews: Country non-finalists

ANOTHER season is quickly coming to a close in the Coates Talent League Girls and we take a look at how 2023 panned out for each of the 13 sides. In the first team reviews article, we take a look at the three Country-based non-finalists, diving into their season, draft prospects and some names to remember in coming years.


Position: 13th
Country pool: Fifth
Wins: 3
Losses: 10
Percentage: 66.8

Gippsland Power was one of those sides that will be excited about the future, picking up three wins in the second half of the season, and having a number of close losses that could have been converted into even more premiership points.

Capping off the season with a 51-point win over Murray Bushrangers, the Power also knocked off Northern Territory Academy and GWV Rebels either side of a heartbreaking defeat to Calder Cannons. The Power’s inclusion of a host of 2007-born youngsters gave the indication that the future will be bright one.


Defender Amber Schutte is the club’s sole AFLW Draft Combine invite, with the December-born 17-year-old enjoying an impressive top-age national carnival. Schutte has a strong right foot kick and particularly impressed during Country’s loss to Queensland.

Schutte averaged 9.3 disposals, 1.3 marks, 4.7 tackles and 2.7 rebound 50s for Vic Country, while being a key cog in the Power’s defence. Picking up double-digit disposals in each of her 10 games, averaging 17.1 disposals, 2.7 marks, 3.2 tackles and 3.6 rebound 50s.


Gippsland bottom-ager Ash Centra is clearly a standout player for next year with the tall utility among the pick one contenders for 2024 with elite skills and decision making. Midfielder/forward Jasmine Sowden is another bottom-age talent to keep in mind, while the Power’s 2007-born crop headlined by Vic Country Under 16s MVP Ella Stoddart is very strong.


Position: 16th
Country pool: Sixth
Wins: 2
Losses: 11
Percentage: 30.7

Bendigo Pioneers had a horror run with injuries this season, with a number of top-end talents suffering either season-ending injuries or were on ice for long periods of time. Towards the end of the season, the Pioneers had opposition players from Murray Bushrangers and GWV Rebels fill in to round out their squad in a great show of sportsmanship.

Picking up a couple of wins in the season, including the opening round against Murray Bushrangers, the Pioneers also came from behind against Northern Territory at Highgate Recreation Reserve to pick up another four points.


AFLW Academy member Lila Keck headlines a solid top-end group that are draft possibilities. The potential first round prospect is a dynamic forward/midfielder who had ankle interruptions throughout the year, but made her presence felt in most of her matches. She also kicked some important goals for Vic Country at the national carnival.

The other two AFLW Draft Combine invites were Bryde O’Rourke and Keely Fullerton. O’Rourke is an athletic tall who can play on all three lines, while Fullerton is a smooth-moving left-footer who runs hard off a wing and can hit the scoreboard.


Bottom-age star Lucia Painter is another player among the best 2024 AFLW Draft prospects but had a season ending ankle injury. Midfielder-forward Jemmika Douglas also had her season curtailed by injury, but has shown promising signs for the future. From the 2007-crop, Ella Jeffrey and Olivia Lacy have had some exciting moments.


Position: 17th
Country pool: Seventh
Wins: 1
Losses: 12
Percentage: 27.9

Murray Bushrangers had a tough year on the results front, but still blooded a number of talented players across the course of the season. With the Bushrangers’ region crossing the NSW-ACT border, players come from far and wide, with a host of representatives also members of the GIANTS Academy.

The Bushrangers’ sole win came against the Bendigo Pioneers in Round 12, when they defeated their fellow country side by 22 points in Round 12. It turned around the result from Round 1 when Murray had a heartbreaking narrow loss.


Though not receiving any official combine invitations, Murray did have some national carnival representatives. They included defender Kaylea Kobzan and fellow tall utility, Alice Voss. Both are strong intercept markers and powerful left-footers. Though having areas to work on in their games, Kobzan has spent time up forward, and Voss through the ruck at times.


One of Murray’s most promising prospect is bottom-ager Ellie Hall who missed 2023 after doing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the preseason. The GIANTS Academy member is one to watch for next year, alongside Allies representative Tamika Rourke, and smooth-moving utility Holly Egan – the sister of Richmond’s Grace.

From a 2007-born perspective, Molly McLaren is one to remember, while incredibly, Murray has already blooded a couple of promising 2026 AFLW Draft prospect in Majella Day and Rose Bell.

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