McMillan races to early RMC Medal lead, top-age stars chase

EASTERN Ranges bottom-ager Tayla McMillan has taken the early lead in the 2024 Rookie Me Central Medal, with the classy midfielder polling 20 votes across the first six rounds. The Ranges have played five matches, with McMillan polling in each of them, including three best on ground performances to accumulate 15 votes.

The Rookie Me Central Medal sees players are awarded votes on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis in each game, with the winner to be announced at the end of the Coates Talent League Girls season. The past two seasons the medal has been handed out, it went to Murray Bushrangers’ Zarlie Goldsworthy in 2022, and Geelong Falcons’ Sara Howley last year. Goldsworthy then went on to win the 2023 AFL Women’s Rising Star a year later with the GWS Giants.

At the first leaderboard update, McMillan leads a host of top-agers for the award, with just the Eastern Ranges young gun and Tasmanian Mischa Barwin as the sole 2007-born players inside the Top 10. McMillan – who has polled 20 votes at an average of four votes per game – leads Western Jets ball magnet Sierra Grieves by three votes.

Gippsland Power gun and potential top pick Ash Centra is next with 16 votes, having polled three best on grounds from her four full matches. She shares the third placed podium spot with Sandringham Dragons’ winger Scout Howden. Rounding out the top five is Bendigo Pioneers’ Lou Painter – who has polled 14 of a possible 15 votes in her past three games – and Barwin who has been a surprise packet in her debut season.

Dandenong Stingrays’ Jemma Reynolds is outright seventh, while a quartet of top-age talents share eighth spot with 13 votes apiece. They are Jemmika Douglas, Zoe Hargreaves, Havana Harris and Millie Lang. Just outside the top 10 are Giants Academy bottom-ager Isla Wiencke, Gippsland Power midfielder Jasmine Sowden and Northern Knights’ skipper Holly Ridewood. Reigning champ Howley is equal 15th on 10 votes.

Of club leaders, Oakleigh Chargers is the only side with two players sharing top spot, as Emma McDonald and Sarah Poustie have both polled 10 votes. Calder Cannons’ Jade McLay leads her club with seven, the same amount as Lions Academy co-captain Isabella McDonough. Swans Academy’s Imogen Brown is on sixth with double bottom-ager Sophia Green polling five votes for Murray Bushrangers thus far.

In terms of club-against-club rivalry, Eastern Ranges are just pipping four clubs with the top five vote-getters separated by a vote each. The Ranges have a combined 49 votes, with Tasmania Devils (48), Oakleigh Chargers (47), Northern Knights (46) and Sandringham Dragons (45). The Suns Academy (39) is the clear best of the Northern Academies, with the Giants Academy (21) the next best.


1st. Tayla McMillan (Eastern Ranges) – 20 votes
2nd. Sierra Grieves (Western Jets) – 17 votes
Eq. 3rd. Ash Centra (Gippsland Power) – 16 votes
Eq. 3rd. Scout Howden (Sandringham Dragons) – 16 votes
Eq. 5th. Mischa Barwin (Tasmania Devils) – 15 votes
Eq. 5th. Lou Painter (Bendigo Pioneers) – 15 votes
7th. Jemma Reynolds (Dandenong Stingrays) – 14 votes
Eq. 8th. Jemmika Douglas (Bendigo Pioneers) – 13 votes
Eq. 8th. Zoe Hargreaves (Northern Knights) – 13 votes
Eq. 8th. Havana Harris (Suns Academy) – 13 votes
Eq. 8th. Millie Lang (GWV Rebels) – 13 votes


Bendigo Pioneers – Lou Painter (15)
Calder Cannons – Jade McLay (7)
Dandenong Stingrays – Jemma Reynolds (14)
Eastern Ranges – Tayla McMillan (20)
Geelong Falcons – Sara Howley (10)
Giants Academy – Isla Wiencke (11)
Gippsland Power – Ash Centra (16)
GWV Rebels – Millie Lang (13)
Lions Academy – Isabella McDonough (7)
Murray Bushrangers – Sophia Green (5)
Northern Knights – Zoe Hargreaves (13)
Oakleigh Chargers – Emma McDonald & Sarah Poustie (10)
Sandringham Dragons – Scout Howden (16)
Suns Academy – Havana Harris (13)
Swans Academy – Imogen Brown (6)
Tasmania Devils – Mischa Barwin (15)
Western Jets – Sierra Grieves (17)


Eastern Ranges – 49
Tasmania Devils – 48
Oakleigh Chargers – 47
Northern Knights – 46
Sandringham Dragons – 45
Gippsland Power – 39
Suns Academy – 39
Bendigo Pioneers – 38
Dandenong Stingrays – 38
GWV Rebels – 35
Geelong Falcons – 27
Western Jets – 21
Giants Academy – 21
Calder Cannons – 19
Lions Academy – 19
Swans Academy – 18
Murray Bushrangers – 6

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