State Academy notes: 2024 WAFLW – Round 1

WESTERN Australia’s most talented AFL Women’s Draft prospects returned to the field over the weekend with Round 1 of the WAFL Women’s commencing. As we always do, Rookie Me Central took a look at those Under 18s State Academy players from the four games.

All Scouting notes are the opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • East Perth
  • Subiaco

East Perth:

#3 Lucy Greenwood (Forward)
Stats: 14 disposals, 1 mark, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s

Making her debut, the bottom-age small forward played high up in order to get into the action, and finished with more touches than anyone else on her team. She did try and pressure but is still looking to make tackles stick given her frame, though with ball-in-hand is where she does the damage. Boasting elite speed and agility, she sidestepped an opponent without a fuss on the wing 25 seconds into the second term. Also clean at ground level with nice skills, Greenwood will likely push up to a wing consistently to get involved.


#22 Olivia Wolmarans (Forward)
Stats: 17 disposals, 2 marks, 1 tackle, 1 hitout, 3 inside 50s, 6.1

Wolmarans will be the subject of our Player Focus for Round 1 – and therefore her performance will be discussed in greater detail – after slamming home six goals against East Perth in a dominant display. With two in the first term and three in the third, the bottom-ager really came to play to kick off her second season at WAFLW level. Though other games will be far tougher, she showed her athleticism and ability to turn on a dime before kicking majors on the run, or from set shots.

  • Team
  • Claremont
  • Swan Districts


#24 Bec Anderson (Forward)
Stats: 6 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 5 hitouts, 2 inside 50s, 2.0

The marking forward took her chances where she had them taking a two-juggle mark in the first quarter to nail the set shot, before being bumped out of a ruck contest late in the game to seal the match from the goalsquare. She did look to apply pressure on her opponents which was another plus.

#33 Juliet Kelly (Defender/Midfielder)
Stats: 11 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50

The smooth-moving talent started rotated between defence and midfield and got into the right spots when behind the ball. She is not a massive accumulator, but rarely wastes a touch, showing her skill and composure under pressure consistently. Boasting an elite endurance base, Kelly is reliable overhead and brilliant at ground level. In one instance during the third term she produced a pinpoint long 20m handball through traffic to a teammate, opening up the game.

Swan Districts:

#5 Carys D’Addario (Midfielder)
Stats: 18 disposals, 3 marks, 7 tackles, 4 inside 50s

An absolute beast in the engine room, it was bordering on laughable how much D’Addario was using opponents like ragdolls and acted seemingly unfazed when they were hanging off her. She either broke through tackles or handballed with two players trying to bring her down, D’Addario was the best Swans player. After missing almost all of 2023 due to injury, she made up for lost time with a brilliant Round 1 game, and now it is about staying injury-free to produce a big bottom-age year.

  • Team
  • South Fremantle
  • East Fremantle

South Fremantle:

#4 Noa McNaughton (Forward)
Stats: 10 disposals, 1 mark, 6 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 goals

Considering her preseason was interrupted by a toe injury, to come out and kick the first goal of the match, and then finish with two from 10 touches really shows her talent. She is among the better pure small forwards in the draft crop, with her goal sense and evasion just outstanding. What was impressive in this game was her defensive attitude, laying six tackles and showing that side of her game which was an area she had begun to improve later last year. If she becomes that all-round forward, watch out.

#9 Kate Newson (Forward/Ruck)
Stats: 7 disposals, 8 hitouts, 1 inside 50

The ex-Thunder ruck spent her time almost exclusively forward except for chop outs, indicating the importance of finding the towering top-ager a second role. She naturally was far too tall for anyone who can her way, but is still learning her craft. A first match to dust off the cobwebs, it will be interesting to see how she fares in the role going forward.

#14 Jasmine Bazeley (Forward/Midfielder)
Stats: 4 disposals, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50

Though her stats do not jump off the page, Bazeley just gets noticed when she wins it. Her speed off the mark definitely helps, and the fact she can play off a wing or a flank allows her to break the lines and pump the ball forward. A left footer too, Bazeley is the player to release the ball to by hand and let her go to work.

#15 Renee Morgan (Midfielder)
Stats: 19 disposals, 1 mark, 9 tackles, 2 inside 50s

Morgan thrived on having serious quality around her as each of the players took turns of stepping up. Her skills on either side of her body really stands out, and while she does not have the explosiveness of an O’Hehir, she is strong and loves winning the contested ball. She will usually either feed out the ball to a teammate and when given time, pinpoint passes, but she gets her hands dirty as well, laying a match-high nine tackles.

#19 Zoe Keley (Ruck)
Stats: 4 disposals, 1 tackle, 4 hitouts, 1 inside 50

Making her debut in the ruck against ultra-experienced opponents, Keley was overpowered, but kept fighting throughout four quarters. Having only turned 17 in December last year, Keley has more to come, and will likely share the load with Newson throughout the year.

#33 Molly O’Hehir (Midfielder)
Stats: 19 disposals, 3 marks, 7 tackles, 5 inside 50s 0.1

The talented top-ager was one of the standouts for the Bulldogs with a superb performance through midfield. She used her explosive speed to do something few can do which is run down Fish – as well as some others – and her defensive pressure was absolutely elite in the game. She broke the lines and always looked dangerous when having space in front of her. O’Hehir’s clunk in the goalsquare to save a goal midway through the fourth quarter capped off her game.

East Fremantle:

#21 Tiani Teakle (Forward)
Stats: 2 disposals, 1 inside 50

Only 17 inside 50s and sharing the forwardline with tall timbers Emmelie Fiedler and Sarah Wielstra mean Teakle was not a main focal point. She made leads and had a good disposal kicking deep leading to the important Mylee Leitch goal, but otherwise had a quiet game.

#29 Natasha Entwistle (Defender)
Stats: 7 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles

Did not see a lot of it despite it being down her end a fair bit, but Entwistle just played her role. Having to go aainst State Academy teammate Kate Newson at times – who has around 18cm on her – Entwistle showed she can be competitive against taller or smaller players due to her athletic profile. Thought a quieter game by her standards, she still played her role, was defensively strong and laid a few good tackles to go with her seven touches.

#38 Zippy Fish (Midfielder)
Stats: 21 disposals, 3 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s

Fish made a fast start to her 2024 season as best-on in a tight win over South Fremantle. Her level is so high that the performance might have been a seven or eight out of 10 from her best, but was still enough to have a high level of impact. She found the ball 21 times, was effective by hand or foot, took a couple of good marks including one speckie, and burst away on a couple of occasions. She did get caught once by O’Hehir but few others have the speed to match, and she just remained involved throughout the match.

  • Team
  • Peel Thunder
  • West Perth

Peel Thunder:

#2 Evie Cowcher (Defender/Midfielder)
Stats: 28 disposals, 8 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s

The bottom-age young gun was the best for Peel, trying hard out of defence and then pushing into the midfield late. It might be a tough season for the young Thunder outfit, but Cowcher will continue to provide highlights with her aerial ability, run and carry and long kicking. A little rusty in a few moments, she will be better for the run and still finished with 28 touches.

#4 Holly Britton (Forward/Midfielder)
Stats: 9 disposals, 2 marks, 1 tackle

Britton had her moments, and she showed some great strength overhead on a couple of occasions when playing forward. A natural contested ball-winner, she will be an important part of the midfield rotation, but is strong enough in marking contests and at ground level to be that effective forward too.

#6 Jorja Haines (Wing/Forward)
Stats: 10 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 0.1

In her first game in just under 12 months, Haines equipped herself well, though still has plenty of room for improvement. She showed off the jets she possesses and was able to burst away on a couple of occasions, but was also run down too. The coaches won’t mind that as she has the capacity to break the lines, and starts on a wing then pushes forward.

#8 Dakota Sexton (Defender/Midfielder)
Stats: 13 disposals, 1 tackle

Similar to Britton but up the other end, Sexton will play in defence and rotate through the middle, and she had enough of the ball to suggest she will be able to find it again this year. Her strength stands out as an attribute, but she also has that nice burst that can run-down opponents too.

West Perth:

#1 Megan Norbury (Wing)
Stats: 17 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s

The top-age elite endurance runner bounced back from a slightly quieter 2023 to produced a strong first game at League level for 2024. Norbury racked up 17 disposals and importantly took seven marks, showing her spread. Though she could tidy up a little at times, her ability to execute longer handballs or dish off to nearby teammates quickly was impressive. If she can piece all her traits together, she has enormous hurt factor.

#7 Mia Russo (Midfielder/Forward)
Stats: 18 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1.3

Speaking of hurt fact, AFLW Under 16s MVP Russo has that in spades. She started in the midfield and struggled to adjust to the speed at first, run down a couple of times and gave away four free kicks by half-time. Though it might not be the Rogers Cup level anymore, she came back out after the main break and, playing mostly forward, looked arguably the most dangerous player on the field. She kicked 1.3 so could have made more of her chances, but anytime there was a forward stoppage, she was a chance of scoring. So strong overhead and at ground level with great smarts around goal.

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