A POPULAR trend in recent years with the AFL has been the traditional 22Under22 team. With so much young talent coming through the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition, Draft Central decided to have a crack at a similar team for the league. The challenge would be based on the 2020 season and the players would be under 22 during the SANFL Women’s season.
From there, we would formulate a squad of 30, from which we decided to include 24 – as we have with our Team of the Week each round – and then have six emergencies not far behind. As one can imagine, this was not an easy task and from the squad of 30, Sturt and South Adelaide had the most with an 11 combined players, though three of those were eventually unlucky emergencies.
All four of West Adelaide’s nominees made the final squad as well as four from the Sturt. South Adelaide, Norwood, Glenelg and North Adelaide had three representatives in the team, while Central District (two) Woodville-West Torrens (one) also had players in the team. Among those that were considered but ineligible were Lucy Armitage, Melanie Elsegood and Demi Sonneman who would all have made the squad, but we kept it to those 21 years and under.
The other additional requirement was for the players not to be tied to an AFL Women’s club (Adelaide), otherwise that would be filled with the predominant players drafted in the last couple of years. So players like Montana McKinnon, Jaimi Tabb and Madison Newman are not included in this side, but rather looking at those yet to be recruited to the elite level.
Hannah Prenzler (Sturt)
Having already racked up 23 games in the SANFL Women’s, the 17-yea-old makes our side after an impressive start to the season. She averaged 10.8 disposals at 79 per cent efficiency, as well as 4.3 marks, 2.0 tackles and 2.3 rebounds per game. In particular her first two games against West Adelaide and South Adelaide caught the eye – understandably because the defence was under more pressure – and she earned a place in the starting side.
Kimberley Fry (Central District)
One of the few you did not even need to look through to consider because Fry is one of the most reliable defenders there is at 18-years-old. Averaging the 10.5 touches, 1.5 marks, 2.5 tackles and 3.3 rebounds, she was one of the first picked in the side given her reliability. In defence that is often tested, you can guarantee the Central Allies’ Under-18 representative will stand up and do her bit each and every week.
Samantha Pratt (South Adelaide)
A fierce tackling machine who’s best game came in South Adelaide’s five-goal win over Norwood in Round 3. She racked up 17 disposals, two marks, eight tackles, two clearances and six rebounds, getting it done across the board on her way to a 10.5-disposal, 2.0-mark, 5.5-tackle and 2.8-rebound average. As one of those reliable young defenders, the 20-year-old earned her place in the side, and her numbers this season are superior to that of her 2019 debut year.
Jaslynne Smith (South Adelaide)
The competition’s leading rebounder with 20 to her name at an average of five per game, she forced her way into the side with her offensive work out of the back 50. While a number of others in the back six provide that real defensive focus, Smith provides a spark of offensive run, and her ball use from her 11.5 disposals, 2.3 marks and five rebounds per game makes her a must-have in this side, with the 19-year-old slotting in at half-back.
Amber Ward (North Adelaide)
Along with Fry, Ward was the other key defender that there was not too much thought needed to slot in. The 18-year-old has 28 career SANFL Women’s matches under her belt in three seasons thanks to the success of the North Adelaide side, and is one of the veterans of the side in terms of experience rather than age. In season 2020, Ward averaged 12.3 disposals, 2.3 marks, 2.3 tackles and 1.3 rebounds per game and can use the ball well or lock down on an opponent.
Keeley Kustermann (West Adelaide)
The 15-year-old is the youngest player in the side, but one to watch for the future as a deserving starter in the team. Playing for the Bloods in her first senior season, Kustermann went on to rack up 13.3 disposals, 1.8 marks, 1.8 tackles and 3.5 rebounds across her first four games. She was consistent and among the Bloods’ best in each game, with her effort in a win or loss not dipping. With a high disposal efficiency, Kustermann is our sixth starting defender.
Matilda Zander (Norwood)
At 21-years-old, Zander slots into the side as one of the more experienced players and what a season she had. In 2020 she racked up 18.8 disposals, 4.5 marks, 3.8 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s, whilst being able to win the ball around the stoppages or drift back into defence. Zander is a natural ball magnet and predominantly able to play off a wing or run the ball into attack, she finished with 20 or more disposals twice, and was a shining light in Norwood’s season this year.
Tessa Kohn (Glenelg)
Won a Breakthrough Player Award in Round 4 of the SANFL Women’s season and it is easy to see why playing her best game in a season of impressive performances. While Glenelg’s losses early were disappointing, it was Kohn who in her debut season stepped up to the plate and was among the best trying throughout the four quarters to get the games back on track. She picked up 18 disposals, seven clearances and five tackles in a big game against the Eagles.
Maya Rigter (Sturt)
A no brainer in the midfield with the 19-year-old already a co-captain, and named as captain of this 22 Under 22 side. Despite still only being a teenager, she has a big influence on the midfield, and averaged 13.3 disposals, 2.8 clearances and a league-leading 7.3 tackles per game. Against South Adelaide, Rigter laid a massive 12 tackles, though her consistency of five or more each match shows she brings and equal intensity every week and is a deserving leader by example.
Teah Charlton (South Adelaide)
The top South Australian prospect for 2020 was always another easy fit to slot into the side, and her ability to play midfield or half-forward gives her the flexibility to play off a flank. Charlton is an excitement machine who can fly high for marks or take the game on with her athleticism, and caught the eye as a bottom-ager in the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships last year, Still 17, Charlton averaged 19 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s per game.
Mattea Breed (Norwood)
Another teenager playing her first season in the SANFL Women’s, Breed deserved a spot in the starting line-up and while the midfield is hard to crack, she is tall enough to play a key position role which she has done at Under 18s level before. She averaged 16.3 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 3.8 clearances and 3.5 inside 50s this season, with an eye-catching 21 touches, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s against Eagles, and three contested marks from 17 disposals and five clearances against West Adelaide in the final game.
Ashleigh Woodland (North Adelaide)
One player it was surprising to see is still able to qualify for this list, the 21-year-old has already tasted AFL Women’s action, but managed 24 career games in the red and white of North Adelaide. While she has an impact each week, Woodland’s two-game purple patch in Rounds 2 and 3 saw her average 20.5 disposals, 6.0 marks, 2.5 inside 50s and boot 7.4 in a couple of big best on ground per performances. A player who could step up to the elite level again sooner rather than later.
Kiana Lee (Woodville-West Torrens)
The sole starting Woodville-West Torrens member is a goal kicking machine and it was no surprise to see with the rise of the Eagles this season, she was able to impact the scoreboard more frequently than in the past. Still just 18-years-old and as strong as anybody above her head, Lee was one of the premier contested markers this season, taking two per game from her four marks, 10.3 disposals and booting seven goals. Twice in three games she booted three majors leading the way in front of goal.
Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District)
Like her Central District teammate up the other end, Rosenzweig was another easy player to slot into the side as the dominant teenage goalkicker. Averaging two goals a round, Rosenzweig has converted eight of her team’s nine goals to shoulder the load and be the main target up forward. She is a reliable shot for goal and in Round 1 was unstoppable against Norwood, slotting four majors to be the difference in the narrow win. A player who already has experience training at the elite level.
Zoe Prowse (Sturt)
Capable of playing in a multitude of positions, the 16-year-old had arguably the performance of the season in Round 4 against Central District. She racked up the equivalent of a football triple-double with 23 disposals, 20 hitouts and 10 clearances, while taking four marks, laying three tackles, having two inside 50s and booting a goal out of the ruck. In this team she will rotate through the ruck but provide a target up forward with her athleticism and excitement no doubt something to watch.
Indy Tahau (South Adelaide)
Another player more than capable of taking a contested mark, the 17-year-old is the fourth South Adelaide player to make the starting squad after an impressive season through the ruck and midfield. She has the attributes to take the ruck contests – averaging 14.5 hitouts in the last two games – but also stay at ground level and rack up the clearances – had seven clearances in the Round 1 win over Eagles. She was a consistent ball winner and impressed with her second efforts.
Rachelle Martin (West Adelaide)
While Martin technically did play an AFL Women’s game this season as an injury replacement player, she is not formally attached to the Crows so therefore eligible to make this side. At 21-years-old, Martin continues to not let her 152cm size stop her as she buries herself under packs and wins a lot of the ball and lays some fierce tackles. One of the competition’s top ball winners, Martin averages 18 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances per game to be in the top few of each of those stats.
Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide)
A top-age player who burst into the season with a league-high 27 disposals and nine clearances to start the year, Ballard has remained ever-dangerous in the midfield. She teamed up well with Martin in the opening four games of the season and while both are smaller players, Ballard can zip around the stoppages and suffer leather poisoning from her ability to win the ball. Like Martin, Ballard’s 18.3 disposals, 4.0 tackles and 4.0 clearances places her in the top few across the board.
Zoe Venning (West Adelaide)
Another one with plenty of time left in her SANFL Women’s career, the 16-year-old earned her place after an impressive four games in just her second season at the level. Establishing herself in the team last year, she stepped it up a notch this year to be one of the top performers for the Bloods, racking up as much as 25 disposals and six marks (two contested) in the loss against North Adelaide, showing she was able to still perform and deliver when under pressure.
Madisyn Freeman (Glenelg)
An 18-year-old who has experience with the Central Allies at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, Freeman averaged 11.5 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 3.0 clearances this season, pushing further up the ground than her usual half-back role. Capable of switching between midfield and defence, Freeman would provide the perfect utility to come off the bench in this side and provide some good relief to her teammates.
Bella Smith (Norwood)
Another versatile utility, the 18-year-old can play through the ruck, but predominantly plays as a key position player at either end. In her second season, the 182cm tall was able to take a contested mark each game, but it was her work at ground level – where she averaged three tackles per match that sets her aside from other talls. She clunked 3.3 marks and had 3.3 inside 50s from eight disposals, using the ball well to put it to the advantage of her teammates inside 50.
Hannah Ewings (North Adelaide)
The Roosters young gun picked up a Breakthrough Player Award on debut against Glenelg, then went to another level against Central District a week later. Averaging 14.5 disposals, 4.5 marks and 5.5 inside 50s in her first two games, Ewings’ upside is evident. Having only turned 16 last month, she still has a couple of years left in the system and is the second youngest in the side. One to watch next season, and is not afraid to tackle as shown by her eight-tackle game against the Bloods in Round 3.
Sam Franson (Glenelg)
At 20-years-old, the tenacious forward earns a spot on this list. Franson becomes the only player in the side to not play every game (three), but her tackling pressure across the three games regardless of how she performed offensively, was what makes her a natural inclusion. She laid at least six tackles in each match, and while she hit the scoreboard more often last season, pushed up the ground and provided relief for her teammates going forward.
Isobel Kuiper (Sturt)
Rounding out our 24-player squad is Kuiper who is more than capable of playing a number of roles. At 171cm, she is able to wrap up opponents, averaging more than seven tackles a game across her last three matches, while finding double-figure disposals in each game. Her best game came in Round 3 against the Eagles where she racked up 18 disposals, five marks, six tackles, four clearances and two inside 50s to keep the ball moving in transition as well as she did stopping opposition players in their tracks.
DRAFT CENTRAL’S 2020 SANFLW UNDER 22 SIDE:
B: Hannah Prenzler (ST) – Kimberley Fry (CD) – Samantha Pratt (SA)
HB: Jaslynne Smith (SA) – Amber Ward (NA) – Keeley Kustermann (WA)
C: Matilda Zander (NW) – Tessa Kohn (GL) – Maya Rigter (ST) (c)
HF: Teah Charlton (SA) – Mattea Breed (NW) – Ashleigh Woodland (NA)
F: Kiana Lee (WWT) – Katelyn Rosenzweig (CD) – Zoe Prowse (ST)
R: Indy Tahau (SA) – Rachelle Martin (WA) – Abbie Ballard (WA)
INT: Zoe Venning (WA) – Madisyn Freeman (GL) – Bella Smith (NW) – Hannah Ewings (NA) – Sam Franson (GL) – Isobel Kuiper (ST)
The remaining six players who made the 30-player squad were Sturt duo, Alex Ballard and Georgia Swan, Woodville-West Torrens duo Teagan Usher and Jovanka Zecevic, South Adelaide’s Madison Bennett and Norwood’s Jade Halfpenny.