Scouting notes: AFLW Academy vs Under 21 All-Stars

IN wet and blustery conditions, the AFLW Academy got past a determined Under 21 All-Stars in a match that was a tale of two halves. The former raced out to a 37-0 lead in the first 35 minutes, before the All-Stars outscored them 18-16 in the last 45 minutes, albeit in an inaccurate display. We took a look at some of the players who caught the eye from the match.


#1 Zippy Fish
East Fremantle/Western Australia | 160cm | 04/06/2006

Stats: 18 disposals, 7 marks, 9 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal

Fish’s work between midfield and then eventually rolling into defence was first class and she was arguably the most efficient player afield. In fact, she ran at 79 per cent by foot, and her explosiveness out of the contest was fantastic. While often known for her ball-winning abilities, Fish does have the hunger to hunt and she showed it laying a game-high equal nine tackles. Has hardly played a bad game all year.

#4 Sierra Grieves
Western Jets/Vic Metro | 164cm | 18/05/2006

Stats: 25 disposals, 7 tackles, 2 clearances, 4 inside 50s

Grieves earned MVP honours and brought her own ball in trying conditions. A natural inside midfielder, the Western Jets onballer actually found more of it outside the contest and had a different sort of impact going forward. Her efficiency was down – and the conditions were a factor – but few could doubt her willingness to go hard for four quarters. Grieves had 15 disposals by half-time and was a key reason the AFLW Academy had raced away to a big lead.

#6 Sara Howley
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country | 173cm | 29/01/2006

Stats: 19 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 3 clearances, 5 inside 50s

Howley held her own against the best in Australia and showed her trademark burst down the ground. A couple of times she blazed away and blasted the ball forward when she could have lowered the eyes, but the conditions lended themselves to that as well. She won the ball between inside and outside, and was often the one running past for a handball receive to use her speed to full advantage in transition.

#7 Sophie McKay
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | 168cm | 27/04/2006

Stats: 16 disposals, 3 tackles, 2 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal, a behind

McKay kicked a nice goal in the last term when six-pointers were hard to come by, and played her role throughout the day. Splitting her time between midfield and attack, the way she turns her body to open up space and bounce off opponents at stoppages is very impressive. Her first few steps are also very quick, and showed she can impact in both areas of the ground.

#9 Lou Painter
Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country | 174cm | 23/02/2006

Stats: 14 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 behinds

A powerful player with enormous upside, Painter looked right up to the challenge spending time in a similar role to McKay, but is also a more natural forward than a lot of other midfielders. That is largely due to her strength overhead, leading patterns and penetrating kick, though as she showed during the Under 16s Championships a couple of years ago, she is more than capable of playing down back too. Missed a couple of chances including a set shot from straight in front 40m out, but otherwise caught the eye. Very clever at finding space.

#11 Claudia Wright
Claremont/Western Australia | 173cm | 30/10/2006

Stats: 17 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles

Given she missed the majority of last year with injury, the West Australian has got better and better throughout the year. She has spent most of her season with Claremont through the midfield and of late, in attack. However on the weekend she was mostly stationed as a high half-back and did well mopping up and dishing off, also pushing up the ground. She won her fair share of the ball and is an ultimate utility in the way she plays. Her last quarter of eight disposals showed her stepping up late in the game and embodied her running capacity.

#18 Emma McDonald
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | 180cm | 18/04/2006

Stats: 15 disposals, 8 marks, 2 tackles, 1 hitout, 5 inside 50s, 1 behind

A real presence in attack, McDonald has a case as the best pure tall forward in the draft. There are others who roll through midfield or the ruck, but McDonald’s forward craft is superb, and her hands are incredibly strong. An underrated element of her game is her vision as well as her field kicking, which was a delight in conditions that neither suited for accuracy nor for talls.

#19 Georgia McKee
Central District/South Australia | 160cm | 24/04/2006

Stats: 9 disposals, 3 marks, 1 tackle, 1 clearance, 2 goals, 1 behind

It was great to see the Bulldogs youngster getting to work in a stacked team and hitting the scoreboard. Her skill inside 50 is outstanding, she had elite vision and assesses the situations incredibly quickly. Though players returning from long-term injuries can often be out of sight, out of mind, it is impossible to deny McKee is one of the most naturally gifted players in the draft crop. Kicked the first goal of the game and should have had one or two more than her pair, passing it off or just missing under pressure.

#26 Havana Harris
Gold Coast Suns Academy/Queensland | 181cm | 01/07/2006

Stats: 19 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 7 hitouts, 2 clearances, 8 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

The potential pick one contender might not have had the numbers she is accustomed to, but still played well and her role. She spent time through the midfield and in the ruck, with Lilly Baker back helping her not have to shoulder as much ruck duties. She still went up and showed off her superior vertical leap, and the way she gets involved around the ground and moving with explosive pace is what stands out in her game. Even in a game that she might not have dominated, she was still very, very good.

#27 India Rasheed
Sturt/South Australia | 174cm | 29/11/2006

Stats: 12 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 1 goal

Rasheed had her moments throughout the game like a lot of others, and her goal – a classy shot under pressure of her deadly left boot – was symbolic of what she is capable of. She was very good defensively, attacked it hard contest-to-contest, and nine of her 12 disposals came in the first half with the ball locked in her zone. Just competed well and held a good line when further up the field.


#1 Grace Martin
WWT Eagles/South Australia | 162cm | 01/09/2006

Stats: 17 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 3 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 1 behind

Martin has enjoyed a really strong season for the Eagles, and while a stint out with concussion might have derailed some players’ seasons, the utility picked up where she left off when she returned. A deserving inclusion for the All-Stars outfit, Martin has worked on her speed over the off-season, and her midfield craft is as good as anyone’s, and she wins clearances and applies tackles when necessary. Martin was the only player in the game who won multiple centre bounce clearances (two).

#6 Jasmine Sowden
Gippsland Power/Vic Country | 164cm | 17/12/2006

Stats: 16 disposals, 4 marks, 9 tackles, 4 clearances, 1 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s

Impressed in a dual midfield-defensive role, using her quick first few steps and ability to use both sides of her body coming in handy. Always an outstanding defensive player, that was on display once again, and though her risky kicks at times got chopped off, her clearance work was strong, and she mopped up in defence time and time again.

#8 Grace Belloni
Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro | 174cm | 09/09/2006

Stats: 21 disposals, 3 marks, 3 clearances, 1 inside 50, 4 rebound 50s

Held her own against quality opposition in the midfield and worked hard defensively to show off her two-way running. Belloni is another player who has come into her own through the Ranges midfield this season in the absence of Laura Stone, taking the reigns as one of the senior midfielders. Once again, her stronger frame was able to do well at the stoppages, winning three clearances and also spreading to the outside too.

#10 Daisy Flockart
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | 179cm | 23/02/2006

Stats: 15 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 1 hitout, 2 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal

Stepped up and competed well at the higher level in what has been a tough past month for the Dragons. She kicked the breakthrough goal for the All-Stars after a free kick late in the second term to spark her side. At her size and mobility, Flockart is a unique prospect who has been capable to running through the midfield on the inside or outside, as well as going forward and clunking a good grab.

#13 Maggie Mahony
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | 161cm | 19/10/2006

Stats: 17 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 5 clearances, 2 inside 50s

Led the game in clearances with five, and was ever-fierce at the stoppages. Having experienced senior football with Collingwood’s VFLW side – and being best on ground no less – competing back against players her own age is no problem. Mahony has enjoyed a really good season for the Chargers, and her stoppage craft, dual-sidedness and competitive nature all rise up when faced with challengers. Her efficiency at times was hit and miss in this game, but the conditions were tough at times.

#15 Scout Howden
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro | 173cm | 01/02/2006

Stats: 20 disposals, 8 marks, 2 tackles, 6 rebound 50s

Arguably the surprise packet out of the game, with the Dragons’ winger suiting up in defence and providing a point of difference. She has always been strong overhead, but her positioning and ability to play defensively and offensively in her role was effective in helping her team rebound when under pressure. Often the option to kick to out of the stoppage or a player running by for the handball receive to break down the opposition defensive zone, Howden showed she is more than capable of being a rebound defender as well as her usual wing role.

#16 Sarah Poustie
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro | 170cm | 05/01/2006

Stats: 24 disposals, 2 marks, 6 tackles, 1 hitout, 3 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

A deserving winner of the All-Stars’ MVP, Poustie used her game smarts to win the ball both inside and outside. She crashed and bashed laying some brilliant tackles with her technique outstanding. Poustie’s endurance is well known to be elite – breaking the preseason testing record in the yo-yo – so she grinds down opponents with her work rate. The Chargers midfielder was clean by hand and found the ball in a multitude of ways, not afraid to throw her body on the line.

#17 Taya Chambers
East Fremantle/Western Australia | 174cm | 16/07/2006

Stats: 14 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 4 rebound 50s

Not always a massive disposal winner, Chambers has been upping the ante in recent weeks for East Fremantle, and that form continued against the AFLW Academy. Her competitiveness is a standout trait, and while her overhead marking usually is to, in this instance it was more about competing, bringing the ball to ground and laying strong tackles. She saved the day on a few occasions, and looked to play it safe coming out of defence.

#27 Lucy Boyd
West Adelaide/South Australia | 172cm | 12/10/2006

Stats: 14 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 3 rebound 50s

Finding herself opposed to fellow South Australian Rasheed at times, Boyd rotated through a few different opponents and showed she could compete with a variety of players. She did not have as much aerial dominance as she can tend to have, but worked hard and found the ball in the defensive 50, driving it down the field. She always applies enormous pressure not just through tackling, but in aerial contests, and it helped limit the easy marks inside 50 for the Academy.

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