2023 Talent League Girls team reviews: Grand Finalists

ANOTHER season has come 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 preliminary 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

>> 2023 Talent League Girls team reviews: Metro elimination finalists
>> 2023 Talent League Girls team reviews: Country elimination finalists
>> 2023 Talent League Girls team reviews: Preliminary finalists


Position: 2nd (Premiers)
Metro pool: Second
Wins: 10
Losses: 3
Percentage: 268.9

Oakleigh Chargers finished the 2023 Coates Talent League Girls season on the ultimate high, taking out the premiership. They came from second – but with a superior percentage – to first reach the grand final, and then defeat the Eastern Ranges in outstanding fashion. The grand final victory came after impressive wins over Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays.

The Chargers won their first five games of the season – and nine of their first 10 – with only a narrow defeat at the hands of Gold Coast Suns Academy the only blemish. Oakleigh would go on to lose two more games in the final three matches to Sandringham Dragons and the Ranges, but once back at full strength, went full steam ahead to the flag.


Perhaps the most intriguing draft prospect for the Chargers in the end was a surprise packet in the season. Defender Lucy Cronin returned from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury to play a key role in the back 50, and though she missed out on Vic Metro selection, had a red-hot finish to the year.

Teammate and skipper Lara Hausegger also had a fantastic finish to the season and a big grand final, earning a Draft Combine invited with Cronin, and over-ager Jemma Rigoni. The Melbourne father-daughter eligible talent started in defence but developed into a winger using her explosive speed to full advantage.


Oakleigh has one of the most intriguing prospects for next year in the form of key forward Emma McDonald, who looms as an outstanding contested marking and athletic talent inside 50. She along with grand final best on ground medal winner Sienna Tallariti form a couple of bookends to make the competition envious.

Abbey Vicino finished second in the league best and fairest, while Sarah Poustie is a top-end talent as well making next year’s Chargers a tough lineup to beat. Throw in onballer Maggie Mahony and defender Charlotte Brewer, and the list goes on.

From a 2007-born perspective, Chloe Bown was simply dominant when out on the field, playing between forward and midfield, while defenders Chloe Thorn and Zara Neuwirth were among the premiership players.


Position: 1st (Runners-up)
Country pool: First
Wins: 11
Losses: 2
Percentage: 181.8

Eastern Ranges fell short of a flag, but still enjoyed a strong season, only dropping two games the whole year. Winning the first four games of the season, the Ranges fell to Dandenong Stingrays in Round 8 coming off a bye, before straightening up with a huge victory over Western Jets. A second loss – this time to the Chargers – would prove the last in the regular season for the Ranges.

From that point on, Eastern won eight consecutive games – six in the regular season and two finals – to reach the decider. In the post-season series, Eastern had crushing 79 and 60-point wins over Northern Knights and Geelong Falcons, while also got some bragging rights over the Chargers in the last round of the season. Unfortunately the premiership was not to be, but there were many players who stood up throughout 2023.


Eastern has arguably the two top AFLW Draft prospects in midfielder Laura Stone and forward Alyssia Pisano. Both are potential top five players, with Stone having explosive speed and being able to play on all three lines, while Pisano is the best small forward going around with a potent left boot and some of the cleanest hands at ground level.

Outside the top two, the Ranges have no less than a handful of draftable players. Tall duo Jess Vukic and Jacinta Hose provide a point of difference in the draft crop, even with the latter suffering a second ACL injury. Winger Hayley McLaughlin plays a key specialist role, while captain Ava Campbell finished off the season strongly. One of the biggest improvers this season was midfielder Georgia Stubs who also earned a Draft Combine invite.


Like Oakleigh, Eastern’s top-end talent does not stop this year. Next season, the Ranges also have a couple of highly touted bookends to look forward to. Contested marking forward Georgie Brisbane and athletic defender Grace Baba are both in the top echelon of talents for 2024, while forward/midfielder Grace Belloni is another consistent ball-winner.

Other bottom-age players include Evie Parker, Emma Stilve and Stasia Stevenson who all stepped up across the season, while Molly Paterson and Mackenzie Bourne played key roles in the grand final.

From a 2007-born perspective, Tayla McMillan is a top talent who will only get better and better through the midfield, while Jordyn Allen provided some nice rebound out of defence not too dissimilar to her Collingwood namesake.

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