Category: Claremont

2021 AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Tall/Medium Defenders

AFTER announcing the inaugural AFLW Draft Power Rankings Victorian Pool, Draft Central is starting a new series – Positional Analysis. It takes a look across the nation and those players within a certain position, and the impact they have. Next up is tall and medium defenders, where the defender position is the more prevalent area for utilities and we have just looked at those above 160cm. Some defenders who are considered utilities will be in other AFLW Draft Positional Analysis. All opinions are of the individual author.

>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Rucks

>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Tall/Medium Forwards

#1 Jaide Anthony (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
20/11/2003 | 166cm
Medium Defender

Key strengths: Kicking, marking, courage, footy IQ

A really smart player who knows the game well and reads the play behind the ball, Anthony was a member of the AFL Women’s Academy as a bottom-age talent last year. She showed why through an outstanding yet interrupted season, copping a couple of concussions – including in Vic Country’s win over South Australia at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships – to still perform at a high level. She won Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, and proved through her actions to be an incredibly courageous player. Whilst standing at 166cm, Anthony is not afraid to go up in the marking contest and bring the ball down, and when she does have ball-in-hand, her kicking is outstanding. A talent who teammates can trust with ball-in-hand, and she has spent time up forward as well at times, kicking a goal in the Stingrays’ loss to the Geelong Falcons in finals.

>> Jaide Anthony VFLW Player Focus

#2 Maggie Harmer (Maroochydore/Queensland)
12/04/2003 | 170cm
Medium Defender

Key strengths: Aerial ability, reading the play, kicking, footy IQ

The clever AFL Women’s Academy member is a Brisbane Lions Academy aligned player who has been a reliable talent in defence. Having also showed her wares in the midfield at times, Harmer predominantly is utilised as a rebounding defender who wins her own ball through intercepting opposition forward thrusts. Against Vic Country, Harmer had 15 disposals, five marks and five tackles, one of the shining lights in a big loss for the Sunshine State. Hoping to improve her ground ball work given her ability in the air, Harmer is a talent who knows how to position herself one-on-one in a contest, pull down the ball, then use it well coming out of defence to hit the long kick to an open target. She has the footy smarts to be able to make good decisions under pressure and knows when to go, or when to hold.

>> Maggie Harmer QAFLW Player Focus

#3 Annie Lee (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
28/08/2003 | 169cm
Medium Defender

Key strengths: Marking, rebounding, consistency, composure

The reliable rebounding defender barely put a foot wrong all season and was a player her teammates could rely upon to use the ball well out of defence. Her strengths were clearly her intercept marking, where she latched onto 5.1 marks per game to go with 16.9 disposals and 4.5 rebound 50s. Already she has managed the two games at VFLW level, and was outstanding for Vic Country in her three games, holding up the fort in defence well and providing some good rebound with almost five rebound 50s per game there. At 169cm she can play against tall or small opponents because she reads the ball well in flight and shows good composure when with it. As a whole, Lee just ticks a lot of boxes in terms of what she is capable of doing.

#4 Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
07/01/2003 | 175cm
Tall Defender/Wing

Key strengths: Speed, power, reading the play, intercepting

The running defender has some seriously eye-catching traits with her combination of acceleration and power making her hard to slow down when she is up and about. A traditional half-back, Dojiok can read the ball in flight with ease and float across contests to intercept, or drop into the hole when a high ball comes into defence. She knows where to stand when the play is headed towards her and her metres gained are massive compared to a lot of her contemporaries. She is often a get-and-go player, always looking to move on the ball, and whilst her kicking at times needs sharpening up, her development over the past few years at the Rebels has certainly improved and makes her one of the better intercept defenders going around.

#5 Brooke Tonon (Glenelg/South Australia)
19/09/2003 | 166cm
Medium Defender/Wing

Key strengths: Athleticism, kicking, aggression, versatility

Having predominantly settled in at half-back, Tonon is a player who can realistically play anywhere on the field, as she did in her debut SANFL Women’s season last year. The Glenelg premiership players has come on in leaps and bounds over the past 12 months, and has a nice balance of offensive and defensive traits. She can win the ball in the back 50, use her speed and evasion to propel it in transition, and then also win it back from the opposition through fierce tackling. Tonon’s versatility is key to being able to slot into any role, but the way she is able to get into the right spots and be able to hit targets down the field is valuable. One of the South Australian talents who did her chances no harm at SANFL Women’s or AFLW Under 19s level, where she averaged 15.5 disposals, 3.5 tackles and 2.0 rebounds from her two games.

>> Brooke Tonon SANFLW Player Focus

#6 Brooke Vickers (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
06/03/2003 | 171cm
Medium Defender/Wing

Key strengths: Skills, composure, versatility, reading the play

A medium defender who runs off half-back, hits up targets and then roams along a wing, Vickers is a player with some great upside, and is another Oakleigh Chargers premiership player. She averaged the 13.5 disposals, 3.3 tackles and a well-balanced two inside 50s and rebound 50s per game, such was her ability to cover the ground. The Chargers did not see as much of it in their defence as other teams, so Vickers had to hold a high line at times and be that kick behind the ball ready to intercept. She is not a renowned marker, but she is one to receive the handball and go, and uses the ball well in transition. Still developing areas of her game, as an overall prospect Vickers has some great talent.

#7 Chloe Leonard (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
01/02/2002 | 168cm
Medium Defender/Midfielder

Key strengths: Consistency, accumulation, work rate, tackling

As safe a player as you could find, Leonard’s 2021 season was consistency bonafide. She hardly put a foot wrong all year for the GWV Rebels, averaging 19.4 disposals, 2.4 marks, 7.1 tackles and 4.0 rebound 50s playing between half-back and through the middle. Possessing courage and a hard edge with a high work rate, Leonard kept cracking in for four quarters every game and was amongst her team’s best players regular. A 2002-born talent who missed out last year, Leonard certainly stepped up this season, and has already made her VFLW debut, and looked good out of defence for Vic Country with 4.7 rebound 50s to go with 14.7 disposals and 5.0 tackles.

#8 Elizabeth Dowling
31/07/2003 | 171cm
Medium Defender

Key strengths: Defensive pressure, rebounding, aggression, reading the play

The Geelong Falcons defender has been a player who has progressed through the Falcons’ V/Line Cup program through to the Vic Country team and been a rock solid member in defence for a number of years now. In her Under 16s season, Dowling played nine games and showed plenty of potential, and has hardly missed a game since outside of Vic Country commitments, averaging around 11 disposals, four tackles and two rebounds per game. Not a huge marker, Dowling prefers to spoil and also win the ball one-on-one at ground level, or lay a strong tackle to wrap up the opponent or get it out to a teammate. She is able to use the ball consistently out of the back half, and is one who always puts her body on the line.

#9 Emily Bennett (Claremont/Western Australia)
26/12/2002 | 170cm
Medium Defender

Key strengths: Overhead marking, defensive pressure, rebounding, kicking

The Claremont rebounding defender might be a 2002-born player, but she only scrapes into the 19th year by five days. A traditional footballer who just does everything right, Bennett is strong overhead, good at ground level and provides both the defensive pressure and offensive run required of a half-back. She puts her body on the line, and when having the chance of disposing of it, will generally use it well, with a lovely long kick down the field. By her own admission, endurance was a key improvement for her this season, but her consistency and weight of numbers across the WAFL Women’s and then AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships – where she averaged an eye-catching 16.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, 5.3 tackles and 4.0 rebound 50s – earned her a well-deserved AFLW Draft Combine invite this year.

>> Emily Bennett feature

#10 Grace Mulvahil
18/04/2003 | 172cm
Medium Defender/Utility

Key strengths: Kicking, acceleration, evasion, work rate

The Northern Territory talent has been a junior star in the NTFL Women’s competition, becoming the second youngest player to win the best on ground in the senior grand final last year. She also won the Rising Star award, and has been touted as a talent to watch for many years. Still developing and constantly getting better, Mulvahil’s standout trait is her kicking, able to pinpoint passes around the ground both under pressure and when in space. Her acceleration off the mark, and evasion makes her hard to stop, with a high work rate to boot. Standing at 172cm, Mulvahil is a good size to play as a half-back or even push up to the wing, but knows where the goals are too if thrown forward. She averaged the 10.5 disposals, 2.0 marks and 3.5 tackles at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, holding her own against stronger opponents and providing great run for the Allies.

OTHERS:

There are so many quality defenders it is hard to limit them down, with a plethora of West Australian talent that could easily squeeze into the top 10 such is the evenness of the group. Swan Districts’ Emma Nanut, Peel Thunder’s Bella Mann and Beth Schilling and Claremont’s Matilda Dyke all provide various traits and defensive options of all sizes. In the key defensive slots, Northern Knights’ Tarrah Delgado and Eastern Ranges’ Cadhla Schmidli are other Victorian talents, with Queensland duo Christine Okesene and Giselle Davies providing the run and height respectively that could interest the Sunshine State clubs.

WAFLW preview – Semi-Finals: Lions and Tigers battle to remain alive as Thunder and Swans face off for grand final spot

IT is finals time in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, with the final four teams remaining in the title race, and only three will be there by Sunday night. We preview the two huge clashes.

CLAREMONT vs. SUBIACO
Sunday, June 20 @1:30pm
Revo Fitness Stadium

It is do or die time for Claremont and Subiaco as the Tigers are back in the finals series after missing out in 2020. This year Claremont replaces East Fremantle in the final four, whilst Subiaco will hope to extinguish its recent finals history by bouncing back and going all the way in season 2021. They will have to do it the hard way however as the lowest placed side coming into finals, whilst the Tigers are fresh off wins against not only Subiaco a fortnight ago, but Peel Thunder last week, giving them confidence they can match it with anyone on their day, and give themselves a huge chance to go deep in the WAFL Women’s finals series.

The Claremont defence is strong with West Coast key defender Sophie McDonald and West Australian State Academy member Matilda Dyke along with the likes of the reliable Rachel Ortlepp and experienced Amy Fortescue. They will look to find a way to restrict former Eagles and Lions AFLW talent McKenzie Dowrick who can create plenty of scoring opportunities in the forward half, as well as Jamie Rust, Madi Wilkins and Amy Hunt. Up the other end, Tessa Doumanis and Amy Franklin have been on fire for the Tigers and will both want to put their best foot forward ahead of the AFLW Draft Combine, whilst Brooke Whyte, Mhicca Carter and Amber Goodwin-Wissink are all capable of kicking multiple goals in a match.

Claire Ortlepp will hope to have the family bragging rights running out for Subiaco, and she has experience in the back 50 with Tayla Thorogood and Jayme Harken among those back there. Through the middle, the ruck battle between Matilda Husband and Jess Ritchie will be fascinating as Hayley Miller, Tarnica Golisano and Maggie MacLachlan going up against Ella Smith, Kate Orme and Jess Low make it some tantalising battles. Throw in the likes of Sarah Garstone and the exciting Mikayla Western off the bench for Claremont, and Lara Filocamo and youngster Kia Buckley for Subiaco, and the teams are well balanced.

It is anticipated to be a close game, and their last outing saw just one point separating them, but Claremont have the runs on the board of late, and are at home, so the Tigers in a tight one

SWAN DISTRICTS vs. PEEL THUNDER
Sunday, June 20 @ 2:30pm
Steel Blue Oval

The top two teams do battle at Steel Blue Oval on Sunday in what is a blockbuster clash between the sides. The reigning premiers Peel Thunder come in as the lower ranked team this year, but they can bring the positivity that they were the only team to knock over Swan Districts in the regular season, and it only happened a fortnight ago. The Thunder stumbled against Claremont last week with a couple of injuries to young talents Courtney Rowley and Jade Briggs, but will be hoping to bounce back and book their spot in a second straight grand final. For Swan Districts, the minor premiers will be keen to reward their terrific home and away season and advance through to the final match of the season by turning the tables on the team that defeated them recently.

Peel’s firepower up front is what makes it so damaging. Lead by leading goalkicker Kate Bartlett who shares the goals around with Western Australia’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, Ella Roberts, and former WAFLW best and fairest winner Kira Phillips, the Thunder have plenty of targets inside 50. Swan Districts’ defence is rock solid with Emily McGuire and Eliza Gelmi providing great lessons to their younger teammates, Under 19s state representatives Nyra Anderson and Mel Hardy, and Under 17s representative Jaime Henry forming a young but talented defence. Up the other end, Bella Edgley and Dana East are some young guns in the black and white to look out for, with Bianca Webb and Aimee Ralph providing more experience to the side. Peel’s defence of Ebony Dowson, Demi Liddle, Cassie Davidson and Tanisha Anderson is unbelievable, and always hard to score against.

Looking to the midfield, Sarah Wielstra will have first crack in the ruck against Lauren Quaife, with Sarah Lakay on the bench ready to rotate through there. Mikayla Hyde, Jess Cox and Imahra Cameron onball, and Steph Cain and Tara Stribley on the wings, and the Swans have plenty of hardened talents and running players as well. They will lock horns with an equally impressive five of Gracie Fenton and Chloe Wrigley who both shone last week for the Thunder, as well as AFLW experienced talents in Sarah Verrier, Sabreena Duffy and Katie Jayne Grieve. Also on the bench are state representatives Brianna Hyde and Kloe Taylor who are sure to provide a spark for the Swans, while the state Under 19s captain Jaide Britton, defender Bella Mann and fellow youngster Emily Gunton shows the ridiculous depth the Thunder have at their disposal

It is near impossible to split the lineups here with AFLW players and future AFLW players galore, but Swan Districts finished on top of the table and will be keen to make that count for something after the loss a fortnight ago, though the depth at Peel is remarkable.

 

Picture credit: WAFL

2021 AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Tall/Medium Forwards

AFTER announcing the inaugural AFLW Draft Power Rankings Victorian Pool, Draft Central is starting a new series – Positional Analysis. It takes a look across the nation and those players within a certain position, and the impact they have. Next up is tall and medium forwards, where the forward position is the more prevalent area for utilities (ie Ella Friend is a forward/wing, whereas Charlie Rowbottom is a midfielder/forward) and we have just looked at those above 160cm. Some forwards who are considered utilities will be in other AFLW Draft Positional Analysis such as Sophie Locke. All opinions are of the individual author.

>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Rucks

#1 Ella Friend (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
30/12/2003 | 175cm
Tall Forward/Wing

Key strengths: Contested marking, mobility, upside, penetrating kick

The top contested marking player in the draft crop, Friend will be a highly sought after talent for her ability to not only clunk the big grabs, but use her penetrating left boot in both the midfield and forward lines. Transitioning from centre half-forward to a wing in the second half of the season, Friend showcased her mobility and her knack for for winning the ball in multiple areas of the field. Only two days away from being a bottom-ager, expect Friend to have plenty of upside left in her and would be a great target for a team needing a key target up forward who can also work hard up the ground. She averaged the 16.0 disposals, 4.3 marks and 2.9 tackles per game in the 2021 season, and slotted two goals on debut for the Western Bulldogs’ VFLW side. A good size at 175cm to play anywhere on the ground.

#2 Amy Franklin (Claremont/Western Australia)
04/02/2003 | 177cm
Tall Forward/Tall Defender

The AFL Women’s Academy member is in contention for West Coast’s top selection given her versatility and ability as the standout tall in her state. Franklin is capable of playing at both ends, but is more dominant as a forward, and has some traits that point to serious upside. With athleticism – in particular speed – that is rare in a player of her size, Franklin is also someone who can clunk contested marks and move well around the ground. She does not need to win a lot of the ball to have an impact in the game, often kicking a couple of goals in a quarter as she did a couple of weeks ago for Claremont against Subiaco in the WAFL Women’s. At the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Franklin predominantly played back for 10.5 disposals, 2.0 marks and 3.0 rebound 50s, though did kick a goal when swung forward.

#3 Mikayla Pauga (Bond University/Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland)
10/04/2003 | 161cm
Medium Forward/Midfielder

Key strengths: Clean hands, footy IQ, forward craft, disposal

It might be considered a stretch at 161cm to call Pauga a medium forward, but her traits – such as her strength in the air and ability to be a focal point in transition – allow her to play taller than she is. Capable of going into the midfield and having an impact, Pauga is most damaging as a high half-forward, used as a link-up player to get the ball inside 50. Now at Bond University having come from Maroochydore, the Brisbane Lions Academy member has enjoyed a great QAFL Women’s season, and is a classy ball user. The work she does off the ball is just as impressive, but her clean hands – and ability to dish off in a split second – are what can create plays and scoring opportunities and why she is a member of the AFLW Academy.

#4 Jess Doyle (Manly/Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)
15/09/2003 | 170cm
Medium Forward/Midfielder

Key strengths: Overhead marking, speed, one-on-ones, X-factor

One of the more exciting talents in the AFLW Draft pool, Doyle captained the Sydney Swans Academy this year and showed why she is a member of the AFLW Academy. Whilst a raw talent, Doyle looked natural up forward with her speed off the mark, leap, overhead mark and goal sense making her a damaging player when inside 50. She also pinch-hit in the midfield and used her one-on-one ability at both ground level and in the air, to match it with more experienced players and win her fair share of the ball. The talented medium-tall is the top prospect out of NSW/ACT and whilst the Swans might not have a team at this stage, Doyle is sure to make an impact at the top level and be exciting for years to come.

#5 Gabbi Featherston (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
12/11/2003 | 169cm
Medium Forward/Ruck

Key strengths: Vertical leap, penetrating kick, aggression, upside

Standing at 169cm you would not expect someone to be listed as a ruck, but such is Featherston’s leaping ability that she has indeed become a secondary ruck at NAB League Girls level. Pinch-hitting in there to average 4.3 hitouts per game, Featherston is at her most dominant around the half-forward line where she can lead out, clunk grabs and show great courage in the air or at ground level. Whilst she could improve her composure around goal – she had plenty of chances that were opportunities which went begging – her ability to have so many chances and create opportunities is impressive. She is a raw talent with plenty of upside, and with a long, penetrating kick and strong hands, she is a valuable addition to any forward line.

#6 Lauren Breguet (Central District/South Australia)
14/02/2003 | 164cm
Medium Forward

Key strengths: Explosiveness, speed, overhead marking, forward craft

An exciting forward with plenty of eye-catching traits, Breguet has showcased her numerous athletic capabilities in the SANFL Women’s competition this year. Able to clunk some strong marks, then burn off opponents to create goal-scoring opportunities, Breguet has plenty of upside for the future. In her seven games at SANFL Women’s level this year, Breguet averaged the 10 disposals, 2.4 marks, 3.0 tackles and slotted four goals. Whilst it might not sound like a lot, her impact with ball-in-hand is what stands out, such as her 14-disposals, four-mark, four-tackle, one-goal game against North Adelaide in Round 6. At the AFLW Under 19 Championships, she averaged a similar 10.7 disposals and 5.0 tackles, slotting a goal and showing glimpses of her talent.

#7 Ashanti Bush (NT Thunder/Allies)
18/08/2002 | 162cm
Medium Forward

Key traits: Forward craft, evasion, footy smarts, goal sense

The sole Northern Territory member of the AFL Women’s Academy, Bush has a lot of potential as a deep forward, causing all sorts of headaches to opponents one-on-one. She is smart with her positioning and recovery, either able to take the mark, or bring the ball to ground, then apply scoreboard pressure. She knows where the goals are, and showed that during the Thunder’s clash with GWV Rebels in the NAB League Girls, kicking two goals in as many minutes to win the game for her side. Not a huge ball-winner, Bush is able to hit the scoreboard consistently, already booting three goals in two games for Hawthorn VFL Women’s side in her two games, whilst kicking a goal in her sole match against Western Australia at the AFLW Under 19s Championships.

#8 Ashleigh Richards (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
22/10/2003 | 167cm
Medium Forward/Midfielder

Key strengths: Goal sense, defensive pressure, footy smarts, competitiveness

A nice versatile talent, Richards is capable of playing deep forward, high forward or even through the midfield which can be a point of difference for many goal-scoring types. Earning a place with Vic Country, Richards slotted a goal and averaged 11.5 disposals from her two games, backing up a really solid NAB League Girls season. In six games, she averaged the 12.2 disposals, 2.3 tackles and booted seven goals – 1.2 per game – which showed her ability to regularly hit the scoreboard. That form carried into the VFL Women’s where, playing forward, Richards has already booted three goals in three games, averaging 83 disposals and 2.0 marks, able to find space inside 50 against bigger bodies.

#9 Chloe Reilly (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
12/10/2003 | 163cm
Medium Forward/Medium Defender

Key strengths: Versatility, overhead marking, powerful kick, one-on-ones

When you watch Reilly for the first time, you do a double-take at the listed 163cm height, because whilst she might be smaller than her opponents, quite often she is able to either leap higher than them, read the ball better than them, or clunk grabs better than them. Her one-on-one ability is quite impressive as is her overhead strength. Couple these traits with her powerful kicking, and Reilly has enough about her to suggest she could play at either end, which she has done this season at WAFL Women’s level for East Fremantle. Primarily a forward though, Reilly has great aggression at the ball and does not take a backwards step, almost having the chance to win the game for Western Australia against Vic Metro after the siren, and whilst that did not work out, Reilly still had a solid carnival, booting two goals and averaging 11.3 disposals, 2.0 marks, 1.7 inside 50s, 2.0 rebound 50s and kicking a couple of majors in an all-round effort.

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

Key strengths: Forward craft, athleticism, clean hands, upside

The talented tall forward has come on in leaps and bounds this season, developing her game to play further up the ground in season 2021, and even pinch-hitting in the ruck. At 174cm she is able to compete well one-on-one with a high work rate and clever leading patterns to find the ball inside 50 thanks to her athleticism. More often than not though, Woods has found herself being the first target in the forward half, then looking for options inside 50, with more than three inside 50s per game to go with her four goals from eight matches. Averaging almost 12 touches per game at NAB League Girls level, Woods burst onto the VFLW scene with three goals on debut for the Western Bulldogs, and whilst the going has been tougher since, still has some great upside for the future.

OTHERS:

The three other tall or medium forward talents identified to fit under the category with AFL Women’s Draft Combine invites are Oakleigh Chargers’ Eliza James, Casey Demons’ Imogen Milford and Claremont’s Tessa Doumanis. James is an exciting type who creates plenty of opportunities inside 50, Milford is the tallest on this list at 179cm and a huge chance to take out the leading goalkicker award in the VFLW, while Doumanis is a clever forward with a potent left foot. A couple of other talents without Draft Combine invites include Collingwood’s Imogen Barnett and Tasmania Devils’ Amy Prokopiec who have both found the big sticks plenty in the VFLW and NAB League Girls respectively this year. From a non-Victorian perspective, South Australia’s Jade Halfpenny and Queensland’s Lily Tarlinton are both capable as tall options.

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 10 – Claremont vs. Peel Thunder

CLAREMONT shot clear in third with a 21-point win over Peel Thunder on Saturday morning, overcoming the impact of multiple changes to come away with its third-straight victory. Peel started the brighter side and opened up an early three-goal buffer through superior conversion, before being pegged back to trail at half time. Claremont took over from there, with four goals to two in term three setting up a more comfortable run home.

We take a look at a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes, and go around the grounds with some of the other outstanding Colts performances out of Round 10.

SCOUTING NOTES

Claremont 9.14 (68) def. Peel Thunder 7.5 (47)

Claremont:

#12 Talon Delacey

Having narrowly missed out on state Under 19s selection, Delacey served a reminder of his talent with a dominant stoppage display. The Claremont ball winner was constantly able to get his hands on the ball at stoppages, while also working hard around the ground to accumulate an equal team-high 22 disposals. He tended to hack kicks away from congestion but gained decent meterage in doing so, helping the Tigers break from the middle. He looked hungry and showed good intent in an overall solid outing.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen

The highly touted key forward is getting back to his best form, and bagged another strong haul of goals with four on Saturday. He started the game in midfield though, spending about a quarter of his total game on-ball as he returns to full-time minutes. While he provided a big body around the ball, van Rooyen was much more impactful inside attacking 50 despite copping a tricky matchup. He converted his side’s opening goal in the first term from a set shot and snapped another in the following period after marking strongly overhead. His third term double helped Claremont break clear, with two classy snap finishes from tight angles on either side of the goal bringing his tally to four goals on the day. He could have had more too, also registering three behinds.

#36 Eric Benning

Benning was able to show glimpses of his athletic best despite copping a heavy knock in the opening term, which slowed his output. The Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect leapt beautifully in the ruck and produced a couple of eye-catching running clearances, pointing towards his potential. He spent a fair bit of time resting deep forward as the game wore on though, even finding the goals on one occasion. Hopefully he shakes off the knock and finds some even better form ahead of his state’s Under 19 campaign.

#37 Henrick Alforque

Another NGA talent, only for West Coast, Alforque continues to dazzle with his speed and repeat efforts forward of centre. The zippy small forward worked up past the attacking arc to find the ball, before wheeling back towards goal with pace and looking to get creative. He is still very raw in terms of his end product, missing some gettable chances once he had done all the hard work beforehand. He did manage to snare a couple of goal though, serving as good reward for his effort.

Peel Thunder:

#2 Scott Tuia

One of Peel’s top ball winners for the day, Tuia defied his size to consistently crack in at ground level and prove a really productive midfielder. He was a constant in the engine room and managed to get his hands on the contested ball, while also using his pace on the outer as the Thunder broke forward. That kind of play provided real drive for his side, making for a solid contribution overall.

#8 Brady Hough

A state Under 19s bolter, Hough showed why he is in line for representative honours with another promising outing for Peel. Stationed on the wing, he competed well for possession and tracked back to accumulate touches, while helping Peel generate some momentum with clean skills on the rebound. He found himself in a more advanced position during term three, marking on a break at half-forward and kicking nicely to Luke Taylor inside 50 to notch a goal assist. Hough should provide solid depth to the Black Ducks’ midfield come National Championships time.

#23 Luke Polson

One who is capable of playing in multiple positions, Polson started in the ruck and while beaten early on by Benning for pure leap, he went on to show his upside. The versatile tall is mobile for his size and not afraid to take on players in front of him, weaving through traffic and disposing with poise. He used his running capacity to win the ball around the ground while rucking, but also did some nice work up forward. A couple of strong marks late in the piece capped off his game, which should again put him in the frame for League selection after being teased with it this week.

#30 Jarrad McIlvinney

McIlvinney is often tasked with tough assignments in defence and it was no different on Saturday, as he took on van Rooyen and Benning at different stages. He proved a terrific matchup for van Rooyen, reading the play well and competing aerially against his fellow state Under 19 squad member. The tall defender positioned well to intercept when away from lockdown duties, and generally used the ball calmly by foot as Peel looked to rebound. In a state squad full of promising talls, McIlvinney should provide some solid key defensive fold.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

There was only one other WAFL Colts fixture in Round 10, with East Perth getting the better of South Fremantle on Sunday. Spearheading the Royals’ comprehensive 61-point victory was Jye Amiss, who brought his season goal tally up to 30 with another bag of five to continue his hot form. Fellow state squad members Ethan Regan and Kaden Harbour each snared two majors, while wingmen Oscar Armstrong (25 disposals) and Jake Littleton (20) were productive on the outer. On the inside, Kade Dittmar also had it 20 times and James Tunstill found the goals once from 18 touches.

In case you missed the West Australian Under 19 squad announcement, you can find everything you need to know here, while the recent Under 17 squad unveiling can be observed below.

Image Credit: Claremont FC

WAFLW wrap – Round 15: Claremont goes back-to-back against finals-bound sides

CLAREMONT has put its hand up as a genuine West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s premiership contender after the Tigers’ second successive win against a finals-bound side on the weekend. Claremont defeated reigning premier Peel Thunder by seven points – just a week after knocking off fourth placed Subiaco – to secure a home final this weekend. The Tigers will lock horns with the Lions in the first week of finals, with a win seeing them take on either the Thunder or top of the table Swan Districts the following week.

The 6.4 (40) to 4.9 (33) result in favour of the Tigers was more down to capitalising on chances than anything else, with three less scoring shots, but a three goals to zero second term giving the home team some separation on the scoreboard. Not even an inspired game by star teenager Ella Roberts could help the Thunder get over the line, though they did draw within a kick late in the game to give the home fans something to worry about.

It looked like a finals game early with neither side able to take much of an advantage as the tackling pressure was sky-high. Peel’s defence was holding up well against a flurry of Claremont forward thrusts, but then the reigning premiers showed how they managed to topple Swan Districts last week, by getting it up the other end and being the first to score through a Kate Bartlett behind. Roberts was already getting involved, but the Claremont defence was steadfast, as Sophie McDonald rushed through a behind off a Jaide Britton flying shot on the line.

Instead the ball went up the other end and Tessa Doumanis – fresh off an invite to the AFL Women’s Draft Combine – narrowly missed a chance on the run as she was taken down, then won a free kick after being tackled high by Ebony Dowson, and converted the goal just before the 10-minute mark of the quarter. Two minutes later, it was Roberts who created some magic with a free kick, drilling ball that bounced off her teammates’ chest, received it back, sidestepped an opponent and slotted it off a standing start as if she was strolling into an easy goal. When Aisha Wright had a quick kick that bounced through for a behind, Peel lead by three points, and Jacinta Valentini saved a potential late major with a mark in the goalsquare.

A very unlike Peel setup cost the Thunder a goal in the opening minute of the term which ended up being a bad omen for the rest of the term with Claremont putting the foot down. In just 50 seconds of action, the Tigers raced the ball down on the overlap and found Mhicca Carter all alone in the pocket and the talented goalsneak literally did stroll into an open goal. Peel’s only score of the term came off a Kira Phillips behind, whom did well one-on-one, then sidestepped her opponent, feigning a handball to put it on the boot but it missed to the left. The ball then went up the other end with Brooke Whyte taking a strong mark off a drilling Amber Goodwin-Wissink ball. Whyte turned around and headed for a vacant goalsquare with Mikayla Western heading back, but the ball bounced perfectly through the middle for another one.

Peel could not buy a goal as the usually-reliable Phillips missed a set shot from straight in front as it fell short, and instead, Claremont produced a seven-point play. Doumanis missed to the side for a shot on goal at the 12-minute mark and then captain Ella Smith intercepted off the kick-in to find the loose Goodwin-Wissink all alone 15m out from goal. Despite making the goal umpire work, she put it through the middle and despite having relatively similar inside 50s, it was Claremont that booted the only three goals of the quarter and headed into half-time with a 15-point advantage.

After a quiet quarter by her standards in the second term, it did not take Roberts long to weave some more magic. Just as the Thunder needed someone to stand up, Roberts produced a fantastic pickup and hit Bartlett inside 50 who turned around and never looked like missing. The Thunder did the majority of the attacking as they had seven shots on goal with Roberts almost setting up another to Tajah Griffiths, and Bartlett missing a shot from a tight angle she would normally gobble up. Claremont made them pay, by kicking a goal with its first deep inside 50, as Goodwin-Wissink got ball to boot off the left and dribbled it home for second. A late 50m penalty to Phillips saw her have a shot that would normally result in the pen going down, but she missed again. Moments later however she was on the receiving end of a pass inside 50, quickly turned her body and slotted it home to cut the final break deficit back to six points.

Again the game was in Peel’s forward half for the early moments, but the delivery going forward was not ideal as the defenders such as Rachel Ortlepp and Kate Orme were picking everything off. Up the other end, Goodwin-Wissink had the chance to put a nail in the coffin after some great Carter magic, but missed her set shot. Not long after, Whyte did just that, capping off a fantastic game with a set shot from 30m out slamming home, rewarding her big contested mark against three opponents, reading the ball better in flight than anyone else. The margin was out to 14 points and the game looked done and dusted.

The Thunder refused to throw in the towel though, as repeat entries kept pressure on the home side. Orme saved a certain goal right on the line at the 11-minute mark, but the Claremont defence – and midfield when it got out of the Peel forward 50 – was able to keep chewing time off the clock. Nel Baxter knew time was of the essence however, and quickly played on from a free kick with two minutes on the clock and slotted one on the run for a single straight kick. Unfortunately a crucial 50m penalty against Gracie Fenton for assuming the Thunder had the free kick handed Valentini a shot on goal, and whilst it fell short, Smith marked and delivered to Orme who kicked a behind just prior to the final siren.

In her 50th game, Chloe Wrigley was outstanding behind the talents of Roberts, with Fenton and defender Cassie Davidson also impressing. For the Tigers, McDonald was outstanding on the last line teaming well with Ortlepp, whilst Jess Low was influential throughout the game, particularly in the first half, and Whyte had some strong plays around the ground.

CLAREMONT 1.1 | 4.2 | 5.2 | 6.4 (40)
PEEL THUNDER 1.4 | 1.5 | 3.8 | 4.9 (33)

GOALS: 

Claremont: A. Goodwin-Wissink 2, B. Whyte 2, T. Doumanis, M. Carter.
Peel: E. Roberts, K. Bartlett, N. Baxter, K. Phillips

BEST: 

Claremont: S. McDonald, J. Low, M. Scanlon, R. Ortlepp, B. Whyte
Peel: E. Roberts, C. Wrigley, G. Fenton, C. Davidson, A. Barnden

In other results, Swan Districts predictably ended South Fremantle’s season with a big win. The minor premiers bounced back from their first loss of the season to the Thunder last week with a 63-point thumping of the league’s wooden spooners, 11.9 (75) to 2.0 (12). Four players kicked two goals in the game for the winners, including bottom-age talent Tara Stribley, as Nyra Anderson and Kloe Taylor were named among the best. Melissa Silcock and Lauren Wakfer kicked majors for the Bulldogs. Meanwhile Subiaco kept East Fremantle at arms-length throughout their contest to get up 12 points and head into the do-or-die final with Claremont following a 7.6 (48) to 5.6 (36) victory. Amy Hunt and Philipa Seth both booted multiple goals for their respective teams, as Abbey Dowrick and Marni Alston were named best-on.

 

Picture credit: Tony Lendrum Photography

WAFLW preview – Round 15: Final round takes place

AFTER an interrupted 2020 season, the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition had a relatively unscathed year, with only a round missed and previously a brief lockdown in preseason stopping them from having a complete run at it. Now the teams are suiting up for the final regular season round, with the four finalists decided, but plenty still on the line in terms of pride as well as a mental advantage heading into finals.

The match of the round is two finalists up against each other with second placed Peel Thunder travelling to third placed Claremont in what could be a preview of a finals head-to-head at some point. The Tigers are coming off a one-point loss to Subiaco, whilst the Thunder became the first team to topple Swan Districts this year last weekend. Despite the different form lines from the penultimate round, expect this clash to go down to the wire.

Both Katherine Bennett and Emily Bennett are among those unavailable from the Claremont lineup, as Sophie McDonald and Kate Orme return to provide some extra experience. For the Thunder, Sabreena Duffy is out of the game with Demi Liddle, whilst an extended bench comes in, which includes the likes of Hannah Church and Tajah Griffiths. With plenty of great head-to-heads across the field, it will be fantastic to see just how the match goes down.

Tessa Doumanis and Amy Franklin starred up forward for the Tigers booting two goals each for Claremont’s entire goals haul, and will have to be tightly watched this week. The Thunder defence which includes the likes of Beth Schilling, Ebony Dowson and Cassie Davidson is remarkably hard to score against, and the forward line of Ella Roberts, Kate Bartlett and Kira Phillips is even more potent. Claremont has an equally reliable defence thanks to McDonald, Sarah Garstone and Rachel Ortlepp back there. Through the middle, the head-to-head of Mikayla Western and Sarah Verrier could be huge, with Orme taking on Western Australia’s Under 19s co-captain Jaide Britton on the other wing.

The sole Saturday game sees fourth placed Subiaco and fifth placed East Fremantle do battle, but because Subiaco toppled Claremont last week, the result is effectively a dead rubber in terms of finals calculations. Roxy Roux and Gabby Radojkovich are crucial inclusions for the Sharks, as the Lions are keeping everyone guessing with an extended bench that features Taylisha Brown and Dahna Lee among others. Roux has been named in the centre against Tarnica Golisano which is a massive battle, whilst the Sharks’ forward line of Rosie Walsh, Alex Wiliams, Chloe Reilly, Madeline Ross and Radojkovich is a dangerous one. The Sharks have an incredibly strong midfield in Lara Filocamo, Tiah Toth, Maggie MacLachlan and Golisano in what should make for a fascinating close battle.

The final match of the round features a top-against-bottom clash, with the minor premiers Swan Districts coming off its first loss of the season to Peel Thunder, whilst South Fremantle is yet to taste victory in two seasons. The Swans will be without the likes of Mikayla Hyde, Steph Cain, Mel Hardy, Bianca Webb and Emma Nanut for the clash, with Naomi Baker, Tara Stribley and Nyra Anderson among the young talents coming into the Swans’ outfit. South Fremantle has named an extended bench with Kiara Templeman, Nikita Hart, Nikita Little and Melissa Silcock on it.

The Swans do not have a weakness across the ground and expect the midfield of Jess Cox, Dana East and Brianna Hyde to take control, with Sarah Lakay rucking. A huge battle between Lakay and next year’s draftable talent Lauren Wakfer could be huge around the stoppages, with Wakfer and fellow ruck Mim Strom named up forward with other young talents, Makaela Tuhakaraina and Ashleigh Little. Jaime Henry is fresh off an impressive Under 17s couple of clashes with the State Academy, and joins Emily McGuire and Aimee Ralph in that reliable back five.

Picture credit: WAFL

2021 West Australian Under 19 squad announced

THE 2021 West Australian Under 19 squad was announced on Wednesday, with 33 players making the cut to represent their state at the upcoming National Championships. Selected to compete in games against South Australia (July 31) and the Allies (August 7), the squad features players ranging from their 19th year, to a gun 16-year-old who is also among the state’s Under 17 set-up.

The Black Ducks promise to be competitive at this year’s carnival, boasting a strong core of versatile key position prospects and dynamic midfield mix. AFL Academy members Rhett Bazzo (Swan Districts), Jacob van Rooyen (Claremont), and Jack Williams (East Fremantle) are among the best talls available in this year’s draft crop, while Subiaco pair Matthew Johnson and Neil Erasmus are set to wax in midfield having also represented the national Under 19 Academy.

Fans of AFL clubs will also have specific players to keep an eye on, with father-son and Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospects littered through the side. Exciting small forward/midfielder Jesse Motlop (son of Daniel) comes under Fremantle’s academy umbrella, while explosive East Perth mover Ethan Regan is one for Eagles. Melbourne also has a father-son in the mix, with Taj Woewodin (son of Shane) a promising midfield option.

East Fremantle produced the most members (eight) this time around, as the WAFL club continues to prove a strong breeding ground for draft eligible talent. East Perth is the next best with six players involved, including Regan and leading Colts goalkicker Jye Amiss (25 goals). There is plenty of competition for spots up forward, with swingman Bazzo likely to revert to a defensive post along with versatile 19-year-old Jaiden Hunter (Perth).

Hunter is one of a few top-agers to have earned League berths in 2021 after being overlooked at last year’s draft, with Perth teammate Jack Avery in that same boat, alongside midfielder-turned-defender Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle) and ruckman Jake South (Subiaco). Meanwhile, 18th-year talents van Rooyen and Johnson also broke through for their senior debuts before returning to the Colts grade.

After hitouts against South Australia and the Allies, WA is scheduled to take on Vic Country and Vic Metro in Victoria on September 24 and 29, to round out the National Championships.

Below is a preview of how the West Australian team may look, in a line-up put together by Draft Central analyst Ed Pascoe. Scroll further to see the full squad.

FB: Jack Avery (P) – Rhett Bazzo (SD) – Finn Gorringe (EF)
HB: Jed Hagan (EF) – Jaiden Hunter (P) – Judd McVee (EF)
C: Corey Warner (EF) – Matthew Johnson (S) – Max Chipper (SD)
HF: Ethan Regan (EP) – Jacob van Rooyen (C) – Neil Erasmus (S)
FF: Jye Amiss (EP) – Jack Williams (EF) – Jesse Motlop (SF)
FOL: Jake South (S) – Josh Browne (EF) – Kade Dittmar (EP)

INT: Zac Fleiner (WP), Kaden Harbour (EP), Brady Hough (PT), Lochlan Paton (WP), Luke Polson (PT), James Tunstill (EP)

EMG: Oscar Armstrong (EP), Eric Benning (C), Ed Curley (EF), Richard Farmer (S), Jarrod McIlvinney (PT), Angus Sheldrick (C), Jahmal Stretch (C), Bryce Watson (SD), Taj Woewodin (EF)

FULL SQUAD:

Image Credit: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

WAFLW wrap – Round 14: Subiaco claims last finals spot with one-point win over Claremont

SUBIACO has secured the last finals spot in the 2021 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s, after coming from behind to down third placed Claremont in a nail-biting one-point contest. The Lions booted the opening goal of the game, but then conceded the next three, trailing by 14 points at half-time. They kicked three of the final four goals however to run over the top of the higher ranked opponents and maintain a two-game and percentage gap on fifth placed East Fremantle with only one game remaining.

In what was billed as a tight contest by two likely finals combatants, it lived up to expectations, with a goal in the opening two minutes going the way of the visitors. Tiah Toth hit-up Kia Buckley straight in front of goal for the youngster to convert and hand her side the early lead. Claremont took control after that though, with plenty of forward entries and capitalising in front of the big sticks.

The dominant duo of Tessa Doumanis and Amy Franklin were having it on a string once inside there, with Doumanis almost kicking one on the run – though it bounced into the post – then handing one off to Franklin who took a bounce and nailed it in style. Doumanis then took her chance by sidestepping an opponent to get back on her trusty left foot and put one home, before Franklin kicked a third, beating two opponents in marking contest, getting it to ground and keeping her feel to slam it home. Up the other end, McKenzie Dowrick had a set shot in the final 90 seconds but missed, to make it a straight two-goal ball game.

Both defences held up well in the second term and neither side could really take control. Emily Bennett and Jess Low were among those standing out in the game, and Claremont captain Ella Smith rued an open goal chance that came off the side of the boot. The Tigers kept attacking in the final few minutes, but the Subiaco defence was outstanding, as Claire Ortlepp held her own.

Subiaco made its move in the third term with a couple of goals to cut the deficit to just one point at the final break, with an end-to-end play 10 minutes into the term through Holly Hyder to McKenzie Dowrick and then Madi Wilkens running into an open goalsquare. Amy Hunt put one through after a great mark off a well-weight Liana Burchell kick inside 50, as Hunt played on to just get the distance with the open square. Both sides had some chances, but the quarter mostly belonged to the Lions, as Smith’s early set shot fell short, and the Tigers were held scoreless for the term.

It set up an exciting fourth quarter which lived up to expectations, as Doumanis steadied the ship for Claremont’s first since the opening term in the opening couple of minutes. With the lead out to seven points, the Tigers were able to kill time off the clock thanks to the reliable Bennett and the defence, while Emily Elkington and Sarah Garstone were also having strong impacts across the ground. Buckley was lively for the Lions, as her attack on the contest was particularly noticeable. In fact, she was the one who got the ball to Hyder who had a shot from an almost-identical spot to Franklin in the first term, but the ball sat up on the line and was rushed through to make it a straight kick.

With the time ticking down and just over five minutes left, Dowrick took a terrific contested pack grab and made no mistake from 40m out to level the scores. Claremont was now under pressure as Subiaco was coming hard, with Low and Mikayla Western both trying their best to get it forward. Up the other end, Jamie Rust laid a massive tackle to keep it up the forward end, then Bennett won a two-on-one to lock it inside defensive 50 without a goal out the back. A quick kick from Dowrick for a behind put the Lions up by a point, and holding the lead for the first time since early in the game.

With four minutes on the clock, both sides were desperate in their attack on the footy, as Claremont had some chances in the final couple of minutes. Garstone pushed up to keep the pressure on, Western tried to dance around an opponent but was dragged down, and eventually the Subiaco defence won out, got it down to open space, and a Dowrick tackle on the attacking side of the centre square held the ball up for a turnover and the final kick to be sent inside the Lions’ forward 50 as the siren sounded for a memorable 4.4 (28) to 4.3 (27) win.

CLAREMONT 3.1 | 3.3 | 3.3 | 4.3 (27)
SUBIACO 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 (28)
 

GOALS:

Claremont: T. Doumanis 2, A. Franklin 2.
Subiaco: K. Buckley, M. Wilkins, A. Hunt, M. Dowrick.

DC BEST: 

Claremont: E. Bennett, J. Low, T. Doumanis, E. Elkington, S. Garstone
Subiaco: K. Buckley,  T. Toth, M. Dowrick, H. Hyder, J. Ritchie

In the other WAFL Women’s results, Peel Thunder handed Swan Districts their first loss with a comprehensive 21-point win at David Grays Arena, whilst East Fremantle easily accounted for the winless South Fremantle by 70 points in a bottom two clash.

In the top-of-the-table clash, Peel kept Swan Districts to one behind in the second half whilst extending their half-time lead of seven points to 21 with 2.3 themselves. Kate Bartlett continued her awesome season with a couple of majors, as Kaitlyn Hayes, Cassie Davidson and Sabreena Duffy were all named in Peel’s best. Sarah Wielstra kicked a goal and was named the Swans’ best, as Kloe Taylor (one goal), and Eliza Gelmi were also among the losing side’s top players.

There was never any chance for the Bulldogs in their clash as the Sharks put the foot down from the opening bounce, piling on six goals straight to nothing in the opening term to effectively win the game by quarter time. They kept the foot down over the next two terms to lead by 72 points at the final break, but a spirited final term from the visitors – kicking 1.3 to 1.1 helped them cut the deficit to 70.

The Sharks had five multiple goalkickers, with Rosie Walsh and Chloe Riley among those players, while Kahra Sprylan and Gabby O’Sullivan also slotted two apiece and were named among the best with Philipa Seth. For the Bulldogs, bottom-age ruck Lauren Wakfer was a standout, as Liusaidh Gilchrist (one goal) and Ebony Clarkson were also impressive.

In the final round of the season, Subiaco hosts East Fremantle on Saturday, before Claremont and Peel Thunder go head-to-head on Sunday, followed by a top-against-bottom clash between Swan Districts and South Fremantle.

 

Picture credit: via WAFL

Bennett enjoying season after “difficult” 2020 season

WHEN your first draft-eligible year rolls around and you are in the State Academy, the AFL Women’s Championships are the pinnacle of state representation. For Claremont’s Emily Bennett, last year – her second in the Academy – was meant to be the year where she tested herself against the best in the country and put her best foot forward.

Instead, like most of the country, travel was restricted, seasons were cut short, and the championships completely abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast forward 12 months, and Bennett has finally got to represent her state, running out in each of the three games for Western Australia at the championships.

“It (2020) was definitely difficult because it was my second year of state was last year and I was so keen to just smash it out and it was like a year I was hoping for because I could have been drafted last year as well,” Bennett said. “It was pretty tough, because fitness had dropped off because I didn’t have many people to train with so I’m glad it’s happening this year, but it was definitely hard.”

Bennett cited fitness as an ongoing improvement she could make to her game, to be able to “last the full game”, whilst her ability to clunk grabs and run off half-back – be it through or around people – as some of her impressive traits.

“I would say my main strength would be my clean hands, so being sure I’m still able to get some clean marks and under foot I’d say it’s definitely one of my strengths, going through people,” Bennett said.

The talented teenager was like many other sports-mad people growing up, testing herself at a variety of sports before focusing on Aussie rules where she progressed from local football to her WAFL Women’s club.

“I started footy when I was in Year 7 so high school,” Bennett said. “It was just a fun carnival and I was playing netball, basketball and I did a little bit of athletics at the time. “I just thought I’d give it a go, loved it, so I started at my community club and then got invited to go to West Perth, one of the WAFL clubs and have been recently playing for Claremont for League.”

Bennett said while the step up to League might have been daunting, the fact she had entered the State Academy prior to playing a game made the transition all the more easier for her to adapt and feel like she belonged at the level before stepping on-field.

“I was quite a fresh player only having four years behind me,” she said. “It was pretty nerve wracking, but getting in the State Academy before League, I felt really ready and it was such a great experience.”

Being able to not only train with the State Academy, but to travel to South Australia and Victoria with them to finally get a taste of the national carnival, Bennett said she enjoyed every minute of it, and was as much about having fun with like-minded people as it was about developing to be the best possible player.

“I would say all the time it’s such a fun place, people to play with, being able to play with people you can trust because they’re just all so elite and they’re all such nice girls,” she said. “It’s definitely what I look forward to and come back each year and do the same.”

As for her inspirations, Bennett said she had to thank her parents for enabling her to achieve what she had so far, and if she can make it to the top level, it would be as pleasing to somewhat repay the faith as it would be exciting for Bennett herself.

“Mum and dad, I would just love to show them what I got,” she said. “I want to prove to them, they’ve always been there for me in any sport I’ve ever done. “They’re definitely people who inspire me.”

As for her goals in football, naturally AFL Women’s is the ultimate goal for the tough defender, but if her career remains at WAFL Women’s level, then Bennett will still have the one goal within her control – becoming the best footballer she can.

WAFLW Player Focus: Amy Franklin (Claremont)

PLAYING a crucial role in her sides win against South Fremantle, WA’s Amy Franklin continued what has been an impressive year where she has announced herself as one of the top WA prospects in the upcoming 2021 AFLW Draft. A representative at Under 19’s level for WA in the recent National Championships, Franklin has shown consistently she can play up either end to great success, an aspect of her game which is sure to see either of Fremantle or West Coast more than happy to bring her onboard. With the WAFLW season coming to a close shortly, and Claremont needing the win as they prepare for some difficult fixtures against fellow top 4 sides Subiaco and Peel Thunder, Franklin was placed up forward and through the ruck for the game.

PLAYER PROFILE:

AMY FRANKLIN | CLAREMONT (WEST PERTH)
4/02/2003 | TALL UTILITY

One of the most highly rated WA Draft Prospects for the 2021 AFLW Draft, Franklin is a tall player capable of playing as a Defender, Ruck or Forward, making her a valuable asset to any team she’s apart of given her versatility. This versatility saw her fill roles as both a Key Position Defender and Forward in the recent NAB AFLW U19 Championships, when WA clashed with the Allies and VIC Metro. Some of Franklins most impressive traits are her athleticism for her height, with her speed, agility and leap all high level and her marking, especially above head, complimenting her preferred position as a Key Position Forward.

 

ROUND 13 WAFLW v South Fremantle

Q1:

Starting the quarter inside 50, Franklin was up the wrong end to have an impact early as South Fremantle controlled the play to keep it in their forward half. She followed her opponent up the ground and laid a smother to stop the ball getting sent back inside defensive 50 about four minutes in. Her first bit pf possession resulted in the first goal of the game, taking advantage of some quick ball movement from Claremont to take an overhead mark just behind her opponent, an impressive grab for the wet conditions, and kicked truly to put it straight through the middle. In the latter stages of the quarter she moved into the ruck, coming up against fellow WA Under 19’s representative Lauren Wakfer, with neither able to get a clear win in the contests they were against each other for.

Ending the quarter with 1 kick, 1 mark, 1 goal and 1 hitout it was not a quarter with big numbers for Franklin, but there is no doubting she had a big impact at times.

 

Q2:

A similar quarter positionally to the last, Franklin started in the forward 50 early and then moved into the ruck, back into the forward 50. Was more involved overall in the second, pushing up the ground early and getting two handballs up on the wing, where she won it on the inside and then got it out to teammates running past. She then reaped the rewards of some hard work by Claremont, where there was a turnover forced through pressure in the forward 50, and she got the handball from a teammate and snapped her second for the game from about 35 out, then running to the bench for her rotation. Came back on as a Ruck and competed well against Wakfer, winning one hitout where she collected it at ground level and kicked it long for the clearance.

Finishing with 3 Kicks, 3 handballs, 1 clearance, 1 goal and 2 hitouts she certainly had higher numbers in the second quarter, but her willingness to go in and compete for the contested footy was particularly impressive and gave Claremont some additional strength at ground level in the forward half.

 

Q3:  

Impacted mostly by the team looking to take advantage of the wind and bomb it long, Franklin was often in a good position for a handball around contests in the forward half but was rarely used. She also looked to push up the ground a bit more in the third, providing as a switch option at one stage, where she got used and quickly sent Claremont forward with a well placed kick. Positioned well just outside the 50-metre mark when it was locked in the Claremont 50, being around the ball as it spilled out and getting the one kick the set up a scoring opportunity

Collected the 2 kicks, 1 handball, 1 mark and 1 tackle in the third where once again she was thrown about from forward to ruck, and spent more time on the bench than she had done in the previous two quarters.

 

Q4:

Looking dangerous early, Franklin was unfortunately forced off for an extended period due to what appeared to be a rolled ankle but powered through to come back on and get a few more touches. What was most impressive was her ability to hold her feet in a groundball contest, which lead to the injury, but was showed good strength and endeavour to remain standing. Once again got into the right spots but unfortunately wasn’t used even when she was the best option.

Franklin collected 3 handballs and 1 mark in the final term despite the reduced time on ground and not getting her usual run through the ruck, with her handballs again looking to find teammates already on the run and placed in front of them.

 

SUMMARY:

13 Disposals, 6 Kicks, 7 Handballs, 3 Marks, 1 Tackle, 1 Clearance, 3 Hitouts, 2 Goals

For a player positioned mostly as a Forward, Franklin had a respectable showing with her stat line, maintaining a consistent impact on the game with her roaming up the ground on the wings, trying to present as a switch option for her teammates. When she was used her ball use was good, whilst not always hitting teammates directly is was always put to their advantage so that they could run onto the ball and collect it easily. Franklin was not used as the main target inside 50 which certainly gave her less opportunity than she could have gotten, but it was obvious the opposition were wary of her, playing Fremantle listed Mim Strom on her at various stages of the game. Franklin’s athleticism for her height is obvious, with her agility one of her more impressive traits for the game.