State Academy notes: 2024 WAFLW – Grand Final

CLAREMONT spoiled the party for the second time in three years and reversed the upset yet again from last season by defeating East Fremantle in a three-point thriller on Sunday. In the final edition of our WAFLW Scouting notes for the year, we took a look at the State Academy members running around on the big stage. As always, all notes are the opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • East Fremantle
  • Claremont

East Fremantle:

#12 Taya Chambers (Defender)
Stats: 13 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles

Easily among the East Fremantle bests, Chambers was particularly strong in the back half of the ground where she took a series of strong marks and positioned herself well in front of a number of opponents. Often combining with Entwistle in the back 50, she played her role well and went to the red-hot Bec Anderson in the second term and kept her quiet. Her defensive pressure at ground level complemented her aerial ability.

#21 Tiani Teakle (Defender)
Stats: 8 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50

Had her moments playing in her half-back role and has really suited into the defensive 50 well. She took a couple of good marks including one in the last few seconds to send the ball inside 50 and give her side a chance to win the game. Though not featuring a heap, she was there when they needed her and has revolutionised her draft chances with the role change.

#29 Natasha Entwistle (Defender)
Stats: 5 disposal, 4 marks, 3 tackles

Entwistle was given the defensive negating role on Claremont skipper Adele Arnup, keeping her opponent to just one goal in a marking contest where she appeared to be pushed in the back. Other than that, the talented top-ager kept her quality opponent quiet, and her marks to disposal ratio told a story of how she was both willing to drop back into the hole, and also provide a switch option for her teammates. In the third term she took a good mark in front of Anderson after early positioning, and saved the day in the dying moments of the quarter by getting back to stop a potential goal.

#31 Alicia Blizard (Forward)
Stats: 6 disposals, 1 mark, 1 tackle, 1 goal, 1 behind

It was not a great day for tall forwards or marking the ball in general, but Blizard showed it might not be your day, but it can be your moment. Getting to the right spot over the back of the pack with seven minutes left, she cleanly took the ball at ground level, got it to her boot and kicked what could well have been the winning goal had Claremont not answered a few minutes later. Will be a high upside talent for next year.

#38 Zippy Fish (Midfielder)
Stats: 16 disposals, 2 marks, 7 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 1 goal

The top five talent enjoyed the times she found freedom, with her first centre clearance in the fourth term being a picture perfect play. In the sweeper role she burst past Kelly to rove the tap and explode away to hit Mylee Leitch on the chest inside 50. She kicked a goal of her own the quarter before off her left foot soccering it home after some hard running, and continued to prove a massive headache for the Claremont coaches. Though her side went down, Fish was not too far away from back-to-back Lou Knitter Medals given her impact for two and a half quarters in particular.


#29 Claudia Wright (Defender)
Stats: 13 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 2 inside 50s

The talented AFLW Academy kept Blizard relatively quiet for the most part playing off half-back, but also gave her side some important run through the contest. She set up the winning goal in the dying minutes by utilising the advantage call and thumping it deep inside 50 for a stoppage that ultimately proved successful for the Tigers. Applied great defensive pressure at ground level, and spoiled a rushed behind early in the second term in what was East Fremantle’s first scoring attempt.

#33 Juliet Kelly (Defender/Midfielder)
Stats: 16 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 2 inside 50s

Until she came off with sore ribs in an unfortunate marking contest, Kelly had been one of the best afield, and still finished among the more impressive Tigers despite being the youngest. She had a role on Fish to start the game, though East Fremantle deployed Nadya Browne to essentially “tag the tagger” and stop her from quelling Fish. She still eventually got there around the ground, but had impact in her own right with elite ball use. Hardly missing a target she made good decisions and laid some strong tackles at ground level. Kelly also fed out the handball to Kate Orme who set up the winning goal to Rachel Ortlepp.

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