State Academy notes: 2024 WAFLW – Round 16

ROUND 16 meant the end of the road for a host of State Academy members in the WAFL Women’s as four teams were officially eliminated from the finals race. For many it was a chance to stake their claim once more ahead of the National Championships.

Though the announcement of the West Australian team did come out yesterday, the notes provided here will be of players from the initial Summer squad. Notes are the opinion of the individual author.

>> WAFLW Round 16: Weekly Wrap | Player Focus (Juliet Kelly) | Team of the Week

  • Team
  • Peel Thunder
  • Swan Districts

Peel Thunder:

#2 Evie Cowcher (Defender/Midfielder)
Stats: 33 disposals, 7 marks, 6 tackles, 2 inside 50s

The bottom-age defender had a huge day out behind the ball, rebounding most forward forays that came her way. She mopped up time and time again usually deep in defence, peeling off an opponent and taking a strong grab. Cowcher spent some time further up the ground, though due to the state of the game, was often deep in defence, and she no doubt saved the margin from being an even larger deficit. One who used the ball well on the day.

#4 Holly Britton (Wing)
Stats: 27 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles

Completing her top-age WAFLW season, Britton finished on a high and built up some terrific form in the second half of the season. The wing was able to find the ball all over the ground and took some strong grabs. Generally a good decision maker with ball-in-hand, her footy smarts were on display again, and she is still able to do well in contested situations having plied her trade in that role at Rogers Cup level in the past, and then in stints at senior level. Has got better throughout the year.

#6 Jorja Haines (Forward)
Stats: 10 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles

In her second game back from a knee injury that wrecked most of her 2024 campaign, Haines took another step forward in her development with 10 touches and five marks playing at half-forward. She was not at full match fitness just yet making the odd mistake, but it was evident she had lost none of her trademark explosive speed, taking on opponents and often delivering precisely with high-risk, high-reward kicks into the corridor.

#8 Dakota Sexton (Midfielder/Defender)
Stats: 15 disposals, 8 tackles, 1 inside 50

A fierce competitor, Sexton had another industrious performance where she kept cracking in for four quarters. She got caught and dispossessed on a number of occasions, but was always happy to be that first possession winner when required and did the team things. Was also able to quickly dish off by hand to teammates too.

Swan Districts:

#11 Sienna Gerardi (Forward)
Stats: 16 disposals, 2 marks, 4 inside 50s, 3 goals

A real X-factor up forward, Gerardi produced her best performance of the season booting three goals from 16 disposals. She kicked all three of her majors in the first half, with the first coming late in the opening term after running inside 50 with a bounce to finish on the move. Her second and third were both snaps in general play close to goal, though the last was tucked up on the boundary showing some serious goalkicking craft. Looked dangerous every time she went near it and no one will catch her once she gets goalside.

  • Team
  • East Fremantle
  • South Fremantle

East Fremantle:

#12 Taya Chambers (Defender)
Stats: 7 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles

Competitive in the air as always, Chambers botth took marks and applied spoils when required and was able to nullify her direct opponents. She looked to clear the area with her booming kick, and played it safe by foot and quite often looked to link up with Fish through midfield.

#21 Tiani Teakle (Defender)
Stats: 4 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 2 hitouts

It was a quiet day for Teakle who played essentially at full-back so it was a good thing she did not see too much of it. She took a strong intercept mark at one stage and delivered a lovely long kick to Fish down the field.

#29 Natasha Entwistle (Defender)
Stats: 11 disposals, 6 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s

Another defender who paired well with Fish from the back 50 to midfield, Entwistle was one of the better players on her side considering she did not see a stack of the action, and got aggressive downfield at times. Her tackling technique was another noticeable trait, knowing not to go too high up on the slippery McNaughton and locking the ball up. She did well against her fellow State Academy member, winning a free in a one-on-one and switching it well across half-back.

#31 Alicia Blizard (Forward)
14 disposals, 3 marks, 5 inside 50s, 2 goals

It was a busy game for Blizard who played her role and converted two goals for her troubles. She seemed to venture further afield in this match compared to others, but still managed to hit the scoreboard including when ducking back inside 50 and taking an uncontested mark followed by a set shot. Blizard set up some scoring opportunities as well, and the bottom-ager looks to be over her injuries, confirmed in the Sandgropers’ squad for the national championships.

#38 Zippy Fish (Midfielder)
Stats: 32 disposals, 9 marks, 6 inside 50s, 1 goal

There is not much more you can say about Fish in a performance that was business as usual. The top five talent did as she pleased, roamed all over the ground, took almost double digit marks and had another 30-plus disposal game. Having hardly had a bad match all season, she set up a couple of chances, and while perhaps her only blemish was a set shot from 30m she would normally gobble up, she did kick the last goal of the game when stationed at full-forward.

South Fremantle:

#4 Noa McNaughton (Forward/Midfielder)
Stats: 16 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 behinds

Tried hard all game and was one of South Fremantle’s best in what would be the Bulldogs’ final match of the season. She could not quite hit the scoreboard through the big sticks, but had a couple of chances and looked dangerous. She used the ball well, stood up in a couple of tackles and pushed up to the wing at times, while getting some midfield minutes as well.

#9 Kate Newson (Ruck)
Stats: 6 disposals, 2 tackles, 18 hitouts

Returning to the senior side to finish out the year, the towering top-ager had a strong advantage in the ruck and used it when collecting 18 hitouts. She had a few moments around the ground where she got involved, and though largely quiet outside the ruck contests, still played her role.

#11 Marie Polimeno (Defender)
16 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles

Another player who capped off her season with her best performance of the season. She picked up 16 disposals and at times was tasked with the kickouts. She did turn a few balls over going outside the defensive 50, but tried hard and battled on through the four quarters.

#14 Jasmine Bazeley (Wing)
7 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles

The speedy left-footer showed off her trademark dash in the first term with a burst down the wing and kick to half-forward, and while she did not nearly get enough time and space to do it often, still presented around the ground. Bazeley won a few handballs around the ground as well.

#15 Renee Morgan (Midfielder/Forward)
Stats: 14 disposals, 1 mark, 6 tackles

It was great to see Morgan return from injury and have a solid first-up game. Though she has had far more influential outings, getting through the match was the main thing for the talented bottom-ager who had a highlight taking a sliding mark in the fourth term. Her kicking is normally a treat, though still looked a little rusty at times, and should be good to go come the national championships.

#19 Zoe Keley (Defence)
Stats: 6 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles

Played a different role to her usual ruck-forward one, stationed deep in defence, even at full-back at times. She did not win too much of the ball, but was proactive when required. The most important element was showing she can be flexible and play in all three main key position lines.

#42 Alira Fotu (Forward)
Stats: 5 disposals, 1 mark, 1 tackle, 2 goals

Fotu made the most of her chances forward, kicking a couple of goals from limited opportunities. Her first was a classy gather and snap across her shoulder, while her second was similar in the forward pocket to put her side 11 points up late in the third term.

  • Team
  • Claremont
  • East Perth


#24 Bec Anderson (Forward)
Stats: 11 disposals, 8 marks, 4 hitouts, 1 goal, 2 behinds

Though the over-ager missed out on the final state squad selection, she showed she can be more than a readymade handy back up if needed. In one of her most influential games to-date, the full-forward clunked eight marks and provided a great target inside 50 and pushing to half-forward. She only kicked the one goal and left a couple of chances – as well as some marks – out there, but overall she was terrific in being that main key target for the Tigers in the win.

#29 Claudia Wright (Defender)
Stats: 13 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles

Unfortunately had to play in defence which in a triple-digit belting is never going to be too much fun. Wright still got aggressive though and won her fair share of the ball, pushing up to the wing and even half-forward at times, providing a good source of interception behind the ball. Her defensive pressure was good, and though there were a few times where she could have laid stronger tackles, showed off her nimbleness with a slick sidestep here and there.

#33 Juliet Kelly (Defender/Midfielder)
Stats: 25 disposals, 7 marks, 8 tackles, 8 inside 50s, 2 goals

Kelly produced her best performance of the year and showed she has a key role to play in finals, running all day to finish with two goals despite playing off half-back and rolling through the midfield. She was strong overhead, laid plenty of tackles and pumped the ball inside 50, playing great aggressive and fast football. She was the subject of our WAFLW Player Focus, so click on the link at the top of the page to read about her performance in greater detail.

East Perth:

#3 Lucy Greenwood (Forward/Midfielder)
Stats: 19 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 2 inside 50

No one can ever doubt Greenwood’s effort and she once again did her best to work against a mounting scoreline. She spent more time in the midfield given the ball was there to be won at the coalface and always looked dangerous when the pill was in her vicinity. She had a few rushed shots at goal that she would like back, but the pressure and lack of forward options once she broke through the opposition defence made life tough. Still a standout Royal in the loss.

#38 Bianca Rogers (Forward/Defender)
Stats: 4 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles

Saw very little action for the match down forward and then was rotated into defence where she actually won a kick from the defensive 50, though it was turned over. Only had the couple of games this season, but showed she has promise for the future and will build on it for a bigger year next season.

  • Team
  • Subiaco
  • West Perth


#22 Olivia Wolmarans (Forward/Ruck)
Stats: 21 disposals, 4 marks, 7 hitouts, 2 goals, 2 behinds

Wolmarans had her moments in the match, predominantly playing forward then rotating into the ruck when required. Her first goal came in the opening minute of the fourth term where she clunked a contested mark back with thee flight and made a 40m set shot look easy. Her second came from point blank range after teammate Aimee Schmidt had to come from the ground hurt and she was awarded the free in her place, kicking her second goal. She set up a goal to Eva Popovsky as well, and worked hard to get up the ground and defend early when the Falcons were dominating forward half possession.

West Perth:

#1 Megan Norbury (Wing/Defender)
Stats: 21 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s

The sole West Perth State Academy member after Mia Russo was a late withdrawal, Norbury had another good game playing off a wing and dropping into defence. She has searched for some consistency this season, and in the second half of the year has had more good games than bad ones which is a promising step. Against the Lions, Norbury held her width well on the wing, always dropped back to help out the defence, and provided a switch option for her teammates. She is also not afraid to tuck the ball under the arm and try and move it in transition, working hard between the arcs.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments