2023 Talent League Girls team reviews: Metro elimination 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 next of these team reviews articles, we take a look at the two Metropolitan-based elimination finals losers, diving into their season, draft prospects and some names to remember in coming years.

>> 2023 Talent League Girls team reviews: Metro non-finalists
>> 2023 Talent League Girls team reviews: Country non-finalists


Position: 5th
Metro pool: Third
Wins: 8
Losses: 5
Percentage: 117.9

Calder Cannons started and finished the season strongly, with only a stretch of four losses in five games mid-season the downside of the season. A highlight was a smashing 71-0 win over Murray Bushrangers in Round 4, though that high was followed by an 85-0 loss to Oakleigh Chargers just before the first community break.

Though it took the Cannons a little while to find their best form, they had some impressive wins in the last five rounds, including a dominant 39-point victory over preliminary finalists, Geelong Falcons. They deservedly made finals, but ran into a red-hot Oakleigh Chargers. The performance was a marked improvement on the first time around, however.


Calder Cannons have a number of AFLW draft prospects headlined by AFLW Academy member Amy Gaylor. The hard-running midfielder with a nice burst and elite defensive abilities will likely end up in the red sash given the club’s links to the Bombers, and is also a handy left-footer who wins her own ball but can spread to the outside.

Vic Metro MVP winner Kayley Kavanagh has not put a foot wrong all season and has easily been the most consistent player at the Cannons, and perhaps in the league from a top-age perspective. Her pure inside game has developed into a more balanced one, and along with fellow Vic Metro representative Sarah Grunden who is a clever and skilful forward, are other top draft prospects.


Calder’s top 2024 AFLW Draft prospect is left-footed forward Kyla Forbes who is a smooth mover and dangerous around goal. She earned a place in the Under 17 Futures match such is her potential. Another name to keep an eye on is tenacious midfielder Maddison Albrecht who had some big moments in her bottom-age season after four games last year.

The 2007-born Cannons crop looks incredibly promising, with dual Vic Metro Under 16s MVP Chloe Baker-West a star in the making. She will make a formidable combination with the taller Jade McLay who has played on all three lines and even in the ruck. A third talent with enormous potential is marking forward Shauna McElligott who kicked 10 goals in a five-game stretch this season.


Position: 6th
Country pool: Fourth
Wins: 8
Losses: 5
Percentage: 109.1

Northern Knights had a mixed bag of a season, starting well with three wins in the first four games. With a balance of over-age, top-age and bottom-age prospects, the Knights showed competitiveness throughout the year and put enough wins in the bank to qualify for finals. After Round 13 the Knights were 7-2 and right in with a shot to push for a top two metropolitan spot.

Losses to GWV Rebels, Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons in the final month saw them drop down into sixth, and while they still made finals, could not match it with minor premiers, Eastern Ranges in the elimination final, going down by 79 points.


The Knights have a rich history at the AFLW Draft, with a stack of top-end talents making it to the elite level, including a couple of number one picks. In 2023, the draft crop is a little thinner, with skilful pocket rocket Ava Jordan the sole Draft Combine invite. At just 148cm, Jordan would become the smallest AFLW player if drafted.

Northern does already have a draftee in the bank, with co-captain Lulu Beatty picked up earlier in the year by Carlton having impressed in her sole Talent League game after an injury-interrupted season last year.


Northern is never too far away from developing a stack of great future talents, and sisters Zoe and Phoebe Hargreaves among the top ones to watch for 2024 and 2025 respectively. The Knights had a largely bottom-age midfield this year with Tahlia Plunkett and Suwindi Buckley both holding their own.

Up forward, Kira Lemire and Mary Robinson both showed promising signs as marking targets for next year, while double bottom-agers Scarlett Johnson and Marlo Graham have some eye-catching traits.

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