Ones to Watch: Non-AFLWU19s VFLW Performers

WHILST the conclusion of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season is yet to be sorted with two rounds and finals remaining, Draft Central has taken a look at a few of the draft-eligible (2003-born) NAB League Girls players who might have missed out of the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, but have looked comfortable at VFL Women’s level. We named five players who have stepped up at the grade, as well as named a few others who have begun getting some consistent minutes for their respective clubs.

Lilli Condon (GWV Rebels)
25/11/2003 | 155cm
Inside Midfielder | Western Bulldogs VFLW

One of the top talents not to represent Vic Country at the AFLW U19s Championships, the pocket rocket inside midfielder and hard-running talent has enjoyed a really promising NAB League Girls season, which translated into some good form in two games for the Western Bulldogs at VFL Women’s level. Condon is a renowned ball-winner and her progression from an Under 16s player – where she was a regular across seven games averaging 83 disposals – to her draft-eligible year – averaging 21.5 disposals across 10 games – is evident. While she only stands at 155cm, Condon ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to accumulation, work rate and defensive pressure, and she stands up in big moments such as the final term against Tasmania Devils in the elimination final win.

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Jemma Radford (Dandenong Stingrays)
31/07/2003 | 167cm
Medium Utility | Southern Saints VFLW

Another player who has been a regular in the Dandenong Stingrays’ outfit since V/Line Cup, Radford was unlucky not to be selected for Vic Country due to the ridiculous depth in defence, but the Stingrays medium utility showed this season she can play up forward just as well. Slotting five goals in eight games – keeping in mind she spent the majority of her time in defence – Radford is flexible enough to switch between ends and provide a target. On face value, Radford did not take as many marks in the NAB League Girls as she is capable of, but as she showed at VFLW level with the more experienced players around her, Radford clunked eight grabs and looked comfortable against the Western Bulldogs and Port Melbourne. She is a player with some good upside and can slot into multiple lines.

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Jemima Woods (Western Jets)
28/05/2003 | 174cm
Tall Forward | Western Bulldogs VFLW

A raw forward talent who showed in glimpses what she is capable of this year, Woods plays her best football as that high half-forward leading out, then kicking back inside 50. She averaged more than three inside 50s a game, pinch-hit in the ruck and was able to provide a leading target for the Western Jets in 2021. She kicked the four goals in eight games, but it was mostly her work up and down the ground that caught the eye, knowing when to move and provide a target. At VFL Women’s level, Woods played closer to the big sticks, slotting three majors on debut against Darebin Falcons, and has featured in two matches since. Whilst her numbers are lower, her role has also been changed, and she is capable of playing high or low inside forward 50.

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Isabelle Khoury (Eastern Ranges)
10/03/2003 | 164cm
Balanced Midfielder | Hawthorn VFLW

A rock of consistency through the midfield, Khoury is an inside-leaning midfielder who can spread to the outside and have an impact. She actually averaged more touches at VFL Women’s level than NAB League Girls level, with 14 disposals per game in three matches for the Hawks. Her tackling pressure – she has averaged six per game at the level – is one of her strengths, but her ability to move through traffic and create something from speed is certainly eye-catching. She might be on the smaller side of some midfielders, but she is one who combines power and speed to set up teammates going forward, averaging a couple of inside 50s per game for the Ranges and just having that capability of creating separation on her opponents from congestion is a handy skill to have.

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Caitlin Sargent (Western Jets)
22/12/2003 | 172cm
Tall Forward | Western Bulldogs VFLW

Another Western Jets forward who has managed the three games with the Western Bulldogs in the VFL Women’s, Sargent kicked the most important goal of her season against the Southern Saints late to seal the win for the Dogs and ensure their finals hopes remained alive. She is a good mark, knows when to lead and a reliable set shot, kicking a goal a game for the Jets this year, and clunking three grabs per match over her 11 games the past two seasons. She is a little smaller than some other key forwards at 172cm, but her hands are safer than most, and she knows where the goals are, usually consistent for a goal or so a game.

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OTHERS:

Ruby O’Dwyer has proven to be a really consistent midfielder for Eastern Ranges, averaging 13.2 disposals at NAB League Girls level, then playing a more outside role by comparison at the Hawks to lift her marks from 2.4 to 5.5 against bigger bodies in two matches. Teammate, Matilda Hardy can be a dangerous forward who pushes up to impact further up the ground, and has already had that experience at VFL Women’s level. Western Jets duo Stephanie Asciak and Trinity Skenderis have been able to step up to senior level with the Western Bulldogs, and Calder Cannons’ Peppa Poultney has provided a target for Darebin Falcons.

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