PROFILED | 2024 Under 23 All-Stars: Part I

IN the first of a two-part series today, we take a look at the 2024 Under 23 All-Stars who will face off against the AFLW Academy tomorrow at Ikon Park. In this article, we profile the first 12 players, before doing the same for the last 12 players in the second article.

#1 Zoe Hargreaves (Northern Knights / Vic Metro)
03/06/2006 | 172cm | Midfielder / Defender

Hargreaves is a powerful midfielder with an explosive first few steps who caught the eye in her debut Coates Talent League Girls season last year. She stepped up to play a game with Vic Metro as a bottom-ager and impressed, and has been earmarked to spend some time in defence this year by coach Allana Dickie when rotating outside of her preferred midfield role.

#2 Olivia Morris (Casey Demons VFLW / NSW-ACT)
06/09/2005 | 164cm | Inside Midfielder

Played in this game last year except for the AFLW Academy, Morris is tough and clean on the inside and thrives around the coalface. She provides consistent effort each time she goes out on field, and the over-ager has joined sister Ella at Casey Demons. Morris is averaging 11 disposals from her two VFL Women’s games thus far and gets her chance to impress again here.

#4 Jasmine Sowden (Gippsland Power / Vic Country)
17/12/2006 | 164cm | Midfielder / Forward

It can be difficult to standout when one of your teammates is arguably the best player in the country, but Gippsland Power’s Sowden was able to do just that as a bottom-ager last season. Pairing up with potential pick one Ash Centra – who will represent the Academy in this match – the dual-sided midfielder showed an ability to use her athletic traits and skill to advantage last season. A fierce tackler as well.

#5 Emma Stark (Oakleigh Chargers / Northern Territory)
01/02/2006 | 165cm | Forward / Wing

Stark had a massive year for St Mary’s in the NTFL Women’s competition and will represent Oakleigh Chargers in her top-age season. An elite runner given she is also a field umpire, Stark put her name on the map by umpiring the Essendon-Hawthorn AFLW match at Marvel Stadium. But on-field, the Territorian has more than enough of her own tricks, and was a dominant forward for the Saints this year.

#6 Sophie Strong (Tasmania Devils / Tasmania)
17/10/2006 | 166cm | Midfielder / Forward

A high-upside talent who had a big finish to last season, Strong looms as the second best Tasmanian in this year’s draft crop. She has those athletic traits that catch the eye, and can get goalside to make things happen forward of centre. Still developing areas of her game to round out her overall performance, she has the traits that will take her far.

#7 Johanna Sunderland (Geelong VFLW / Victoria)
14/07/2005 | 165cm | Defender

A late inclusion to the AFLW Draft Combine last year, Sunderland is as reliable as they come. A medium defender, Sunderland continually provided composure in the back 50 for the Falcons and more often than not made good decision with ball-in-hand. A safe user, she has now made the natural transition into the Cats’ VFLW squad where she is averaging 12.5 disposals from her two games.

#8 Grace Belloni (Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro)
09/09/2006 | 174cm | Forward / Midfielder

Belloni burst onto the scene with a full year after the one game in her double bottom-age season, booting 11 gaols in 16 games and averaging 15.8 disposals. Not only is Belloni a crafty forward with a strong pair of hands, but she can go into the midfield and provide a stronger body in there. One of a number of highly touted Ranges who can take their game further in 2024.

#9 Georgie Brisbane (Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro)
13/12/2006 | 175cm | Forward / Midfielder

As far as raw talent goes, Brisbane has it in spades. She might still be searching for week-to-week consistency, but at 175cm with elite hands and terrific athleticism, she ticks most boxes for a tall forward. Add in the fact that like Belloni, Brisbane can roll into the midfield and have an impact, and she has even more layers to her game. One who will pose problems for many defenders this year.

#10 Lou-Lou Field (Western Jets / Vic Metro)
18/10/2006 | 167cm | Defender

A damaging lefty coming out of defence, Field is captaining the Western Jets this year and will no doubt cross paths with teammate Sierra Grieves in this game. Field is strong overhead and an intercepting machine. She starred for Vic Metro in the back 50 against the Allies last season, and is a reliable long kick with nice decision making and footy smarts. Will be looking for continuity this season.

#11 T’Sharni Graham (Palmerston Magpies / Northern Territory)
28/10/2005 | 170cm | Defender / Midfielder

Another member of the AFLW Academy last year, Graham comes with an extra year of experience having played in this match, as well as representing the Allies in the AFLW Under 18 Championships. Boasting natural leadership by co-captaining Palmerston Magpies with opponent in this game, Tatyana Perry, Graham has the ability to play just about anywhere with great defensive pressure and work rate.

#12 Mel Staunton (Carlton VFLW / NSW-ACT)
24/01/2005 | 168cm | Midfielder/Forward

The talented midfielder/forward is in a unique situation compared to others where she not only played for the AFLW Academy last year, but also won the MVP from that game. Unfortunately injury would put a line through the rest of her 2023 season, missing out on representing the Allies at the AFLW Under 18 Championships. Overlooked in the draft, Staunton has joined Carlton’s VFLW side this year.

#13 Ava Campbell (Collingwood VFLW / Victoria)
29/07/2005 | 173cm | Defender / Forward

Last year’s Eastern Ranges skipper, Campbell got better as the year went on and had a big finish to her top-age season. Invited to the AFLW Draft Combine, the tall defender did ultimately miss out on being picked up, but has since headed to Collingwood’s VFLW program where she has played forward, kicking a goal on the weekend. Very good overhead and reads the play immensely well.


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