2024 CTLG team review: Suns Academy

THE two Queensland Academies have wrapped up their stints in the 2024 Coates Talent League Girls competition, and next up in our review series we analyse the Gold Coast Academy. We take a look at the results and some of the standouts throughout the stint with a number of them set for Queensland representation at the national championships later in the year.

>> 2024 CTLG team review: Lions Academy
>> 2024 CTLG team review: Giants Academy


Gold Coast Suns Academy 8.10 (58) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 7.5 (47)
Gold Coast Suns Academy 6.11 (47) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 4.1 (25)
Gold Coast Suns Academy 12.13 (85) defeated Geelong Falcons 2.4 (16)
Gold Coast Suns Academy 11.5 (81) defeated Calder Cannons 0.0 (0)


Disposals: Havana Harris (28.0)
Marks: Dekota Baron (4.8)
Tackles: Tara Harrington (8.0)
Hitouts: Havana Harris (15.3)
Inside 50s: Havana Harris (8.0)
Rebound 50s: Sunny Hewett (2.5)
Goals: Dekota Baron (3.3)


Havana Harris
Utility | 181cm | 01/07/2006

The star prospect not just in the team but across the country and a pick one contender, Harris just about does it all. Standing at 181cm, the tall is explosive, can win the ball anywhere on the ground, and play as a ruck, midfielder or key forward. She averaged the most disposals, hitouts and inside 50s showing her overall impact, and is near impossible to matchup on given her size and athleticism.

Tara Harrington
Midfielder | 170cm | 24/03/2006

As composed as they come, Harrington has that quick release by hand through the midfield that allows her to make her teammates better. Having played on the outside a couple of years ago, Harrington is versatile enough to do a lot of damage in space, but also makes the right decisions on the inside and feeds her teammates, while laying enormous amounts of defensive pressure.

Heidi Talbot
Defender | 161cm | 18/12/2006

The speedy forward-turned-defender has been a revelation, particularly in her past three games. She has had 24 or 25 disposals in each, averaging more than seven tackles per game and played a high half-back role. She moves well and is aggressive in her attack on the ball and opponent, also having an elite endurance base to match her speed.

Mia Salisbury
Midfielder | 168cm | 27/06/2006

Salisbury is the player who slows down time in instances, able to win the ball and always seemingly take her time to use the ball correctly without getting caught. She stands up in tackles and has developed from a defender into a midfielder, getting better with each game she played in the Coates Talent League. An exciting prospect for this year.


Over-ager Josie McCabe did not play in the competition but was not far off for AFLW clubs last year, with the former Queensland skipper having draftable qualities. Speedster Nyalli Milne only managed the first match of the stint, and has shown great talent in the past.

2025 AFLW Draft:

Gold Coast will look to a bumper crop next season, with likely top pick Ava Usher unfortunately not out there due to her knee injury, but another top-end talent in Dekota Baron stepping up and producing big with 13 goals in four games. Georja Davies is a third potential top 10 pick, and throw in father-daughter eligible Sunny Lappin and dangerous utility Alannah Welsh, and next year looms as the best Northern Academy crop the women’s competition has seen.


Gold Coast Suns Academy is an incredible side with stars across every line. Even without arguably their best player in Usher, the Suns had no problems through the four-game competition. They fought back against the best in the business in Oakleigh, then always looked in control for the rest. No doubt the Suns will feature heavily in the Queensland squad for the upcoming AFLW Under 18 Championships.

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