AFLW U17 Queensland Player Focus: Alana Gee (Gold Coast)
OUR next Player Focus heads up to the Sunshine State following Gold Coast Suns’ victory over the Brisbane Lions Academy in game one of the AFLW Under 17 Championships on Sunday. The Suns ran out 55-point victors in Surfers Paradise, with Gold Coast captain Alana Gee running riot. The 2022 AFLW Draft prospect is one to remember for next year, and was a clear best on ground in the win.
ALANA GEE PROFILE:
Position: Balanced Midfielder
Club/s: North Mackay Saints/Gold Coast Suns Academy
Strengths: Skill, vision, decision making, athleticism, metres gained
Key Improvement: Contested work
Alana Gee is a player who is hard to fault on many fronts with her ball-winning abilities, and mix of athleticism and disposal. Possessing all those traits, Gee is able to play inside or outside (wing) as well as off half-back or even half-forward if desired, giving herself great versatility going forward. She takes the game on and is not afraid to sidestep or fend off opponents, and often can hit difficult kicks off her trusty left foot going inside 50. If there is an aspect she can continue building it would be her contested work. This is not to say she does not win it at the stoppage, because she absolutely does, but the majority of her touches are loose balls or handball receives rather than hardball gets, which lends itself to the game she plays.
For the role she will play going to the future, her strengths work as that first receiver, and it is far better she is winning it and being able to burst away, than shovelling it out at ground level and not being able to do so. As a kick-first player and one who can really do a lot of damage with her disposals, Gee is the player you want the ball in the hands of. Every player has aspects to build upon, and of course Gee is no different. Having only played the one game at the AFLW U19 Championships due to the lockdowns, it will be fascinating to see how she performs next year at the carnival.
2021 AFLW Under 19 Championships stats (1 game vs. Vic Country):
Inside 50s: 4
Rebound 50s: 1
Match in focus: Gold Coast Suns Academy 12.6 (78) defeated Brisbane Lions Academy 3.5 (23)
Alana Gee Quarter by Quarter analysis:
Q1: 4 kicks, 5 handballs, 9 disposals, 1 mark, 2 clearances, 1 rebound 50
Starting in the centre square as the defensive sweeper, Gee’s trademark move with her pushing her opponent into the stoppage as the ball was thrown up, for the rucks to punch it in her direction and she could run off the mark and deliver forward. Most of her touches were from either handball receives or loose ball gets, with her first kick coming on the wing after bursting away. She set up the first goal of the game after handballing close to the line whilst being tackled, recovering quickly to receive it back and then kick it deep inside 50.
She continued to spread well from the contest in the defensive 50, taking and uncontested mark, but the kick from that was uncharacteristically poor and intercepted. She won the ball at the next stoppage, was immediately tackled and it spilled out, with her next touch a few minutes later with a clearance by hand out of the stoppage though the opposition were onto that to intercept. After a rest, Gee had a busy finish to the term, quickly clearing a kick out of a forward stoppage, then at the next centre stoppage won the the ball by pushing her opponent in again, and released the quick handball. The final stoppage saw her opponent try and get the back position but Gee was onto it and still managed to nudge her forward.
Q2: 5 kicks, 0 handballs, 5 disposals, 0 marks, 3 clearances, 2 inside 50s, 1 free against
To start the second quarter, Gee was standing on the forward side of her ruck rather than the sweeper position, with the Lions putting a body on her for a tighter role around the stoppages. She still had a defensive one-percenter with a smother, then the repeat stoppage saw her win a clearance via a handball receive and kick inside 50. She won another ball out of a clearance to run forward with a bounce and dish off as she was finding space around the ground again at the stoppages. Another burst out of a stoppage, bounce and kick forward at the six and a half minute mark caught the eye, before being immediately tackled at the ensuing stoppage just after.
After another few minutes of rest, Gee produced her an elite pinpoint perfect pass to Ebony Milne inside 50 after coming off the bench and finding herself loose on the mark. She dropped the mark, but recovered well to nail the kick on that 45 pass with fantastic vision. Trying to win the ball just after, Gee did not have another touch for the quarter, though had a few almost-moments with a clever play to keep tapping the ball in front of her on the wing against multiple opponents until reinforcements arrived, and then went to win the ball against an opponent at a stoppage by punch it away but got her opponent high. She finished with her quietest statistical quarter of just five disposals, but still having the three clearances and two inside 50s.
Q3: 8 kicks, 3 handballs, 11 disposals, 2 marks (2 contested), 1 clearance, 4 inside 50s
The magnets were thrown around with the Suns in control of the game, and Gee started on a wing closest to the interchange bench. Within 60 seconds she would have three touches and a fourth on its way. She won a quick handball receive running in to the stoppage, cleared it from congestion and went inside 50, then pushed to half-forward, won the ball again and had another inside 50, before Brisbane bravely defending put it out to the wing. There, Gee was tackled but managed to get a handball away and moments later was closest to the line as a Lions player kicked out on the full.
Four minutes into the contest and Gee took a strong contest mark one-on-one in the middle then hit the pass perfectly, ran on, received the handball and after getting some oncoming pressure, gave the ball off by hand again. She had already racked up six touches in five minutes, and did the defensive thing at the next available stoppage with a good smother to stop a clearance. Taking a break, Gee came back on and was just as prolific, winning the ball again at the 10-minute mark where she won via handball receive, took a bounce and had to handball, went back to win it again via hand but was immediately tackled at the top of 50.
The next chance she got she received it and spun out of trouble to some how hit a leading target off the left with perfection. Taking another contested mark a couple of minutes later, she produced a pinpoint pass to Maggie O’Connell inside 50 to be not only winning the ball, but setting up goals. In the 17th minute, Gee went to the opposite wing and was tracking the ball well but knocked off it trying to take it. Her last passage of play came in the final minute, where she received the handball on the wing, hit the target by foot, ran past to receive the second handball receive and kicked inside 50 to hit another target and finish with double-digit disposals in the quarter.
Q4: 4 kicks, 4 handballs, 8 disposals, 0 marks, 0 clearances, 0 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 1 free against
With the game in the books, Gee rotated with Tara Harrington who had been equally impressive off half-back, and even playing out of the centre square did not stop the talented ball-winner finding the pill. Just 35 seconds into the game, Gee won the ball off the back and handballed off, then read the loose ball well about 40m from her defensive goal, fended off an opponent, sidestepped then kicked out of the 50. A couple of minutes later, she cleverly spoiled her opponent to punch it to herself to run onto, grabbed it cleanly at ground level, kicked to rebound out of 50, ran up to receive the handball as she so often had during the day, and kicked to the wing, though that disposal was intercepted.
A rebound 50 under pressure with a scrubber kick at the 4:45 minute mark brought up her 30th disposal for the day, and she had another touch off a loose ball a minute later, taking a few strides, handballing off, won it back but was run down by Charlotte Mullins in a fantastic tackle. After a long break, Gee next found the ball at the 14 and a half minute mark, where she came off her line to pressure a player on the wing kicking forward. Shortly after, she received the handball at the defensive side of the centre square, took a couple of bounces, got around one player but not the second, having to handball whilst being tackled at half-forward and the higher Lions numbers intercepted and sent it down the field.
Her game finished with a couple of touch acts, showing good pressure one-on-one on the defensive side of the square to force a spilled mark for a teammate to run away with the ball, and then being dragged down by Sarah Browne on the wing trying to run away after competing in a one-against-two marking contest. Her final touch came late with a handball receive outside a defensive stoppage to handball to a teammate who kicked forward, ending her day with the 33 disposals, eight of which came in the final term, and 19 in the second half.
TOTAL STATS: 21 kicks, 12 handballs, 33 disposals, 3 marks (2 contested), 6 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s, 2 frees against
Alana Gee showed off her natural footballing ability playing a range of positions from the inside to the outside, and off half-back throughout the game to be a clear best on ground. Whilst not necessarily being that defensively-minded player – no tackles but still a number of one percenters – Gee’s offensive game lends itself to being that first receiver and using her athletic gifts to clear the ball from the stoppage. After a few uncharacteristic skill errors in the first half, Gee’s disposal in the second half was outstanding, and she nailed kicks under pressure and with great vision, as well as gained plenty of meterage along the way. As the top Queensland prospect for next year, Gee will be one to watch given her clear eye-catching ability with ball-in-hand.
Picture credit: RF Photography via AFL Photos