Top Performers – AFLW U17 Championships: Gold Coast Suns vs. Brisbane Lions – Game 2
GOLD Coast made it two from two in the Queensland AFL Women’s Under 17 Championships, but both sides had some impressive individual standouts in a game that saw even contributions across the board and difficult to select the top performers. All notes are opinion-based of the individual author.
#3 Ava Seton
Backed up her first game effort with another outstanding performance for the Lions through the midfield. She was forced to do a lot of the inside work when Charlotte Mullins went down with injury early in the second term, and her fierce attack on the ball and determination to keep cracking in was superb. She was often under pressure with her disposal and could sharpen it up at times, but showed off her class with a clever one-handed intercept mark at half-back. Her clearance work and effort in close was among the highlights in her game.
#4 Daisy Carter
One of the best for the Lions in the loss, and was productive throughout the four quarters. She was particularly helpful at moving the ball in transition, winning it in the forward half and putting it inside 50, lively with ball-in-hand. She was trying to create some run on the outside, and was finding plenty of it, quick to get boot to ball and put it down the ground. Carter then helped out in defence as well in the final term, winning it back there and producing a lovely inboard kick late in the match.
#6 Ella Smith
Made her return with an underrated performance racking up more touches than anyone else on her side (27). She won nearly everything exclusively at the coal face, and was a prevalent clearance player alongside Seton. Her work rate between the arcs was also strong, and she was able to find the ball all over the ground with a kick-first mentality.
#7 Neve Underwood
Had a few nice moments with quick hands able to dish off to teammates, and a couple of nice runs. She was run down in the final 90 seconds of the third term as she took a bounce and ran to just outside 50, but still got her kick away. Underwood had another great run in the final term but her kick was intercepted.
#9 Ebony Milne
Not a massive accumulator but an outstanding user of the ball and a really slick decision maker. Milne is able to hit those pinpoint passes inside 50 and make her forwards lead into space with her disposal. She has a lovely kicking technique and after taking a good mark in midfield, ran hard to receive the ball again off a pinpoint pass and have a chain of touches in the one play in that opening term. In the fourth quarter, Milne had another impressive play with a clean pick-up at half-back and kick down the ground.
#10 Jacinta Baldwick
Kicked the team’s only goal for the day two minutes into the first term. She found the space and lead well, making the ball cleanly and then nailing the set shot without any fuss. Being a forward for the Lions was tough at times with the Suns defence up to the task, but Baldwick showed good strength at half-forward to kick whilst being tackled early in the match, and then had a clean pickup and kick inside 50 in the fourth term.
#18 Christine Watson
A raw athlete type who rotates between defence and the ruck, Watson has a great vertical leap and a fierce attitude to win the ball. She also follows up on her work from the stoppage, and laid a fantastic tackle deep inside 50, to then win the ball and kick it clear from the danger zone.
#20 Demi Norton
Produced a pretty impressive all-round game with her movement in transition particularly important. She pumped the ball inside 50 on a number of occasions, and won it in close and ran hard to put it forward. Norton also laid a number of fierce tackles along the way in impressive fashion.
#22 Brooke Sheridan
Not as prolific as her first game, but she just has the traits that catch the eye. She took a good mark off a nice lead in the third term and put it deep inside 50, the first the Lions had that term. With the ball not spending a lot of time inside 50, Sheridan had to work hard across the ground, having a few touches under pressure, though presenting at the ball.
#23 Kadie Fletcher
An eye-catching forward who had a few chances, and showed off her clever side-step to kick and put out the front of Baldwick for her goal. She took a good mark on the win in the second term and produced a penetrating kick to the forward half of the ground, but perhaps her best play was in the fourth term. She showed good strength whilst being tackled to still get boot to ball and put it in front of Georgia Carmody to run onto and mark. Fletcher also tried some acrobatics mid-air with a soccer kick but the power behind it saw it go astray for one behind.
#26 Courtney Browne
Another player who had a play in the last quarter was worth highlighting. With the game over, Browne’s intensity never dropped, and it was remarkable to see her produce not one, but two smothers, and then be rewarded by backing up with a third effort via a fierce tackle to lock the ball up and win the free kick. All of this with four minutes remaining in the game, and certainly a play worth replaying when speaking about intensity and focus.
#28 Kiara Hillier
One of the Lions most consistent on the day, Hillier was a rock in defence, reliably rebounding time and time again out of the back 50. Often under pressure, at times she would just clear it to try and buy some extra time, but she also had a few nice meterage plays that saw it either go out of bounds and force a stoppage down the ground, or to the advantage of teammates to move it in transition. She was tasked with one of the hardest jobs on the ground and did it well.
#1 Jasmine Single
An outstanding performance from the 2023 AFLW Draft-eligible Single who was busy throughout the contest. She showed quick hands and footy smarts often on the outside of the contest, and was a quick receiver and get-and-go when given the opportunity. Possessing evasion and an ability to find the ball, Single was also able to have a few chances in the forward half with a quick snap on goal, and then produced a great kick to set up Alana Gee in the last quarter. Overall, she produced the goods across four quarters.
#3 Monet Ferris
Has a number of eye-catching traits with great overall athleticism from evasion, speed and agility all making her a dangerous player to try and contain. At times she would just occasionally mis-kick or rush the kick going forward, and if that area tightened up, then she has some great upside. She had a flying shot in the final term which just missed to the right, then set up Ella Calleja with a good delivery inside 50.
#5 Tara Harrington
Another terrific performance from the 15-year-old who showed that game one was not a fluke with another remarkable effort. Playing off half-back and pushing up the ground at times, it is hard to fault too much of her overall game. Between her skill, decision making, intercepting ability and vision, Harrington has the footy IQ to go far, and then couple that with her athleticism, and wow it is going to be an exciting journey for the Broadbeach prospect who is still not draft-eligible until 2024.
#6 Isabella Iverach
It felt like she was more lively in game two even though she still kicked the two majors. What stands out about Iverach is that she can punish defenders in multiple ways and is not just a one-trick pony. She can pull down the strong mark, but she can also recover well and snap a goal from general play. Realistically she should have had four goals on the day – all in the second half, but had to settle for the two. Her first was a set shot 35m out in the third term, with a couple of snaps later in the quarter marked or just missing. A goal of the day contender from the outside of the boot 50 seconds into the fourth term sealed the deal for her side, then she uncharacteristically missed a set shot 30m out. A later play running down the wing showed she can progress further up the ground as well.
#10 Jasmyn Smith
Really played well alongside Single in the midfield, showing clean hands in close and an ability to burst through the middle. She has the smarts to get her hands above her head whilst being tackled to dish the ball off to a teammate on the outside, and shows enough pressuring ability to have a defensive side as well. The next step that would be great for her is to kick the ball more when able to, because she can really nail a pinpoint pass, and at one situation where she had a chance to put it deep, gave the handball off unselfishly. As a talent she has great potential for next year.
#11 Keeley Parker
Had a few nice moments in the game, able to produce a good touch close to the line in the opening term to gain distance along the boundary. She showed great strength and composure in the second term to shake a would-be tackler and handball clear, and then great hands and strength at the top of 50 later in the term. A lovely kick to hit-up Single in the fourth term was another noticeable moment.
#19 Alana Gee
Not quite the impact of game one, but still caused plenty of headaches for he opposition. Has a unique ability to really produce well on either side of the body be it by hand or foot, and play in multiple roles. She finished the game with ice on the hamstring and had been resting forward in the final term, but her kicking ability – such as a pinpoint pass to Iverach for a goal in the third term – was sensational.
#23 Maggie O’Connell
Another consistent forward game by O’Connell who did not see a lot of it playing deep and the game often between the arcs or at half-forward, but she hit the scoreboard in the opening term with a great contested mark 35m out and converted the set shot. She had another good chance in the second term which was just touched on the line, then pushed back to help the defence late with a free kick in the back 50 in the final quarter.
#29 Fleur Davies
Just got better and better as the game went on and started to show the consistency she is capable of. She was okay in the first half, but then came to play in the second, most notably in the final term where she seemed to run out the game better than anyone else on the field. The talented ruck started clunking more marks and getting involved in transition, even dishing off nice kicks more so than automatically looking to handball. A great tackle on Seton in the final moments of the game saw Davies have the last kick of the match well inside 50 to a target as the siren sounded.
#30 Ella Calleja
A really eye-catching performance and another Gold Coast Suns player who stepped up in the forward half. Might have only kicked a goal this game after two in the first match, but produced some great highlights with her vertical leap and athleticism. She was able to hit kicks well or put them to a dangerous position, and while she did not clunk every mark, was good around the ground presenting as an option. Keep an eye out on Draft Central for a full Player Focus on Calleja.
Picture credit: RF Photography / AFL Photos