IN a bumper round of NAB League Girls and plenty of individual efforts, it was a tough first week to pick our Draft Central Player of the Week. In the end, that honour belonged to Geelong Falcons’ midfielder, Laura Gardiner who suffered leather poisoning during the Falcons’ 33-point victory over Gippsland Power at RMIT Bundoora on Saturday. In perfect football conditions, Gardiner racked up 38 disposals, and laid 14 tackles, as well as producing five inside 50s and booting a crucial last-quarter goal in her side’s win.
Now in her top-age year, Gardiner has already represented Vic Country as a middle-ager last season, averaging a solid 11.7 disposals and 5.3 tackles at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. An inside bull who thrives on the tackling pressure and clean hands, Gardiner also averaged more than five tackles playing for the Falcons last season to go with her 13.1 disposals per game.
It is only the first round of the season, but with her ball-winning numbers and tackling pressure, Gardiner is already looking like a crucial member of the Falcons team alongside fellow top-agers, Darcy Moloney and Poppy Schaap who finished with 28 and 24 disposals respectively in the win on Saturday.
DRAFT CENTRAL NAB LEAGUE GIRLS PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Round 1 – Laura Gardiner (Geelong Falcons)