THE second game for the Western Australia AFL Women’s U17s was not quite the contest the previous game was, as WA Gold came in looking to rectify the result, delivering with a resounding victory over WA Black who were held scoreless in the second term as WA Gold ran rampant on the scoreboard, taking home the victory with the final scoreboard reading 8.6 (54) to 3.3 (21).
WA GOLD 4.3 | 6.5 | 8.5 | 8.6 (54)
WA BLACK 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.3 (21)
It would not take long for the scoring to start, with WA U19 Representative Emily Boothman getting seven points on the board for WA Black in the first three minutes, the only score for Black for the half. Tyla Fitzgerald would respond not long after with a goal of her own. The game became a real contest for the next five or so minutes, with both midfields battling hard to try and inch it closer to their respective forward 50’s. The hard work of Olivia Cripps would see Meg Mcaullay deliver a darting kick inside 50 for Tamashya Blurton to take an easy mark and narrowly missing to the right. It would not take long for her to get her first however, taking advantage of a smothered ball in the forward 50 and kicking it through for her first. Gold would kick two more majors for the quarter through Izabella Mirchevska and Riley Hall seeing the quarter end 4.3 (27) to 1.1 (7).
With some fatigue in the legs, it took a little longer for the second quarter’s first goal, as both teams again battled hard in the midfield, seeing the ball ping back and forth between both ends of the ground. The first goal would come from Blurton, who was able to take advantage of a miskick from the WA Black defender, and snap the goal from about 35 meters out. It would not take long for them to get their second on the board either, with Mirchevska getting on to the end of a very good Charlotte Tompkin inside 50 kick, able to convert from the set shot, finishing the quarter 6.5 (41) to 1.1 (7).
After the main break, like the previous fixture, the magnets were thrown about and majority of the girls were in new positions, seeing the game go back to a genuine arm wrestle in the midfield, with both defences in overdrive to repel any opposition inside 50’s. The first goal would not come until almost seven minutes into the quarter, where Abbygail Bushby got onto the end of a small handball chain from WA Gold, took a few steps and snapped through on her left boot for a goal. Not looking to go without a goal for a second quarter, WA Black had most of the play for the rest of the quarter, with Holly Britton being around and involved in a lot of inside 50 contests and finally breaking through for a goal. WA Gold would have their opportunities later on, with the WA Black defence holding up well despite the pressure, forcing it over the boundary line. Anjelique Raison took advantage of her strength to force front position for the throw in, follow up her own tap and kick the goal with just a minute and a half left, seeing the score at the final break 8.5 (53) to 2.2 (14).
As the game came to a close with the final quarter fatigue set in, seeing an increase in congestion and long bombs around the ground, meaning we saw less scoring for the quarter. The only goal came from Boothman for her second, as the WA Black forward line took advantage of a long bomb and handballed it around, until they reached Boothman who was running past without an opponent, able to kick truly through goal, with the final score reading 8.6 (54) to 3.3 (21).
Gold: T. Blurton 2, I. Michevska 2, R. Hall, T. Fitzgerald, A. Raison, A. Bushby
Black: E. Boothman 2, H. Britton
Gold: K. Van Den Heever, T. Fitzgerald, J. Henry, R. Hall, A. Bushby, A. Raison
Black: G. Fenton, Z. Fish, J. Haines, E. Boothman, A. Reich, N. Browne
#17 Kayla Van den Heever (WA Gold): Spending a lot of her game time in the defensive half, where she was one of the main drivers out of the backline for WA Gold, looking particularly dangerous in the second half when WA Black started to get a bit of delivery from the midfield. Van Den Heever was not scared about taking risks, taking on opponents with her run, getting around them and then kicking forward to try and get the ball clear of scoring areas. Not just kicking though, she was good with balancing her disposal, often drawing in opponents to commit to tackling her and then handballing to a loose teammate.
#15 Tyla Fitzgerald (WA Gold): Playing majority of the game in the forward half, Fitzgerald had some flashy moments, where her confidence to take on opponents was on show. Utilising her agility, she had no issues finding ways to get out of tight spots and move the ball on to teammates deeper inside 50, even giving an opponent a ‘don’t argue’ in the second term when running inside 50. With her combination of agility and good use by foot, she was naturally apart of a lot of WA Gold play in the forward half, as Gold actively looked to use her where they could. Had some stints through the midfield where those same strengths were obvious and just made her difficult to match up on.
#28 Jaime Henry (WA Gold): Unsurprisingly Henry played a similar role to the one she played in the previous game, being thrown about into a few different positions but still managing to maintain a consistent impact on the contest. When in defence or up forward she still pushed up the ground to applying pressure in tighter situations, with no one able to break her tackles once she latched on. She won plenty of it on the inside, with no opponent able to pin her arms or bring her down, she was racking up contested possessions, then firing out handballs with ease, but also taking the time to assess options and kick if there was someone leading for it.
#33 Anjelique Raison (WA Gold): Playing almost exclusively in the ruck, Raison arguably was the most impactful of the rucks on field. Despite giving up a bit of height in most ruck contests, Raison was unmatched when following up at ground level, leading to her winning an equal game high 5 clearances. These clearances were not the typical blind bombs either, she was measured in her disposal, often handballing off to an outside opponent and at one stage kicking a goal from one inside 50. In the ruck duels, she would battle for front position and often make it near impossible for her opponents to win.
#30 Riley Hall (WA Gold): Using her agility and speed whenever she had the ball to get significant meters behind her ball use, Hall was one of the more exciting players to watch on field. Spending her time 50/50 between forward and midfield, her game sense and ability to win the footy lead to her topping the disposal charts for Gold, utilising her kick and that previously mentioned game sense to spot up kicks in the corridor, setting up a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half.
#2 Abbygail Bushby (WA Gold): Playing mostly off the wing, Bushby’s speed was arguably her biggest weapon in the game, often receiving a handball from the inside of the contest, bursting away and then kicking forward to a contest in the forward half, with a game high six inside 50’s she was arguably the biggest driver of play offensively. Had the opportunity to kick a goal after the siren in the second quarter, but unfortunately missed, making up for it in the third at the end of an impressive team handball chain.
#16 Emily Boothman (WA Black): Once again looked comfortable as a link up forward, pushing higher up the ground to take marks and then deliver to other leading forwards or kicking inside 50 for teammates to run onto. Opened up the game with the first behind and goal, she ended up as WA Black’s only multiple goal scorer, trying to create whenever she was deep forward. Not selfish with her approach though, she handballed when there was a clear option there. One particular highlight was in the second quarter, where she led up the ground, with the ball dropping short she picked it up and fended off an opponent.
#4 Zippy Fish (WA Black): The winner of the WA U17 AFLW Championship MVP, Zippy was once again an excitement machine with her speed particularly eye catching. A little quiet in the first half, when she was given a bit more of a free rein in the midfield in the second half she started looking more and more dangerous. Although not as clean as the previous game, she still looked good moving the ball forward and weaving through traffic. Her pressure work and tackling was noticeably higher quality to match the more congested game, showing that she is not only willing to contribute in offensive play.
#13 Gracie Fenton (WA Black): Accumulating a game high 22 disposals, Fenton enjoyed a high quality outing splitting her time between the midfield and defence. It was impressive to see that, despite winning a lot of footy on the inside she was still composed and clean with her ball use, placing the ball in front of her teammates to run onto without breaking stride, or kicking to the advantage of her forwards. Positioned well when in defence, taking a couple of uncontested intercept marks in the third quarter.
#1 Jorja Haines (WA Black): The Fremantle father-daughter prospect, with her father Daniel playing 16 games, looked most impressive when she was thrown into the midfield, positioning well around stoppages to win clearances, where her composure with the footy held her in good stead to use the footy well and find teammates in the corridor or leading at her. When she was not winning the clearances she did well to force poor disposal from the opposition with her pressure and tackling work.