Category: NAB League Girls

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft.

Next under the microscope is Geelong Falcons’ midfielder Darcy Moloney who is a talented ball winner and progressed strongly through her middle-age and start of top-age footballing pathway.

Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

Height: 165cm
Position: Midfielder
Strengths: Accumulation, footy smarts, vision, skills

2020 NAB League stats: 2 games | 26.5 disposals | 1.0 marks | 3.5 tackles | 2.0 inside 50s | 1.0 rebounds

2019 NAB League stats: 10 games | 16.1 disposals | 1.8 marks | 3.6 tackles | 1.9 inside 50s | 4 goals

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 3 games | 13.7 disposals | 0.7 marks | 3.3 tackles | 3.3 inside 50s | 1 goal

A player who really came into her own as a middle-ager last season in the absence of the recently drafted Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell. Moloney stepped up into the midfield, helping out captain Lucy McEvoy and teaming up with fellow bottom-ager Laura Gardiner, whilst providing a bit of dash and touch of class on a wing and half-forward. She booted the four goals, but it was her link-up work between midfield and forward – where she could hit up targets across her body and finding gaps inside 50 that really stood out.

Stepping up to represent Vic Country, Moloney was able to play all three games across the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, averaging almost 14 touches, as well as three tackles and three inside 50s per game. Her ability to get into space and run, and have an impact going inside 50 are among some of her top attributes. She only played the two games earlier this year, but brought her own football to the game, racking up a whopping 26.5 touches and still laying 3.5 tackles per game. She has an innate ability to provide an option and then look to get-and-go or switch up on the transition play to open up scoring opportunities for her teammates.

Whilst there is still plenty of unknowns about the remainder of the year, Moloney will undoubtedly be a key player in the Falcons last handful of games over the next couple of months, and be an important cog in the Country midfield should the championships go ahead as expected. She might be smaller than some other midfielders, but runs hard, finds the ball and uses it well, which sets her aside from a lot of her peers. She also has the capability of playing both inside and outside midfield, whilst resting at half-forward. She does not need a lot of touches to influence the contest, but she has no problems finding the ball.

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Jessica Fitzgerald (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft. Next under the microscope is Northern Knights’ Jessica Fitzgerald, a balanced midfield prospect whose NAB League head coach described as their side’s most important player.

Jessica Fitzgerald (Northern Knights)

Height: 166cm
Position: Balanced midfielder
Strengths: Inside/outside balance, run-and-carry, leadership, defensive pressure, accumulation

2020 NAB League stats: 3 games | 18.7 disposals | 1.3 marks | 3.7 tackles | 2.6 inside 50s | 2.0 rebound 50s | 0.7 goals (2)

2019 NAB League stats: 11 games | 14.1 disposals | 1.6 marks | 5.6 tackles | 3.5 inside 50s | 1.3 rebound 50s | 0.3 goals (3)

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 2 games | 14.0 disposals | 1.5 marks | 1.0 clearances | 4.0 inside 50s | 0.5 goals (1)

Fitzgerald and her Northern Knights teammates have known only one way over the last 18 months – winning. In an inspired 2019 campaign, the metropolitan region went undefeated en route to its maiden NAB League Girls premiership, and Fitzgerald was a key cog in the stacked squad as a middle-ager. Her form was enough to warrant selection in the Vic Metro Under 18 side, another team which Fitzgerald helped to go undefeated last year.

The elite talent pathways are not purely results-based, but it is nice to be able to boast such a record. Arguably the more pleasing factor over the course of Fitzgerald’s junior career has been her ability to impact each side she lines up for, and her rate of development – even from a high level to begin with.

There is no questioning the drive and penetration Fitzgerald brings to the table, able to carve up opposition sides with her line-breaking speed and long boot. While she spent a touch more time on the outside and up forward in 2019, the 18-year-old has thrived in a more permanent inside midfield role thus far as a top-ager. In obtaining the primary ball winning role, Fitzgerald has adapted her pressure around the ball and creative mindset to become one of the more balanced midfielders of her cohort.

It is that exact balance that yielded the ‘most important player’ comment from Marcus Abney-Hastings after Northern’s 2019 grand final triumph, where Fitzgerald was also named best afield. The 166cm goer was her side’s leading ball winner with 15 disposals on that day alongside eventual number one draft pick, Gabby Newton, with her ability to stand up at the important moments an invaluable trait.

Talent aside, it is that kind of form which saw Fitzgerald named the Knights’ co-captain with good mate and midfield partner, Ellie McKenzie for 2020. The pair proved their leadership qualities in Round 3 of this year’s NAB League Girls season against a red-hot Dandenong side; dragging the Knights over the line after trailing at half time with 28 disposals each, while Fitzgerald also bagged two goals.

That game-breaking ability not only makes Northern a fearsome side, but puts Fitzgerald right up there in the top five discussion for her cohort. Her speed-endurance combination, sharpened finish product, and ball winning attributes make for a rare package of talent, with those immeasurable leadership qualities the cherry on top.

Footy’s back – but when and how? State by state information

THERE is plenty of information coming out left, right and centre about the return of the Aussie rules state leagues and when they kick off. Draft Central has compiled the details from each state and listed the starting dates, season details and finals dates where applicable for each of the major states that have made announcements.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The first state to return of the main state leagues across the country, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) and SANFL Women’s leagues – including Reserves and Under 18s – all commence from Saturday, June 27. The season will of course be without either of the AFL-aligned clubs in Adelaide or Port Adelaide in the League competition. The first two rounds of the League season were released by the SANFL website, with the remainder of the fixture, and other competition fixtures to be announced soon. The SANFL Women’s season will kick off from where it left off with the remaining six rounds to be completed and the grand final scheduled for the weekend of August 22/23. The SANFL will hold a 14-round regular season with the finals to begin in the first weekend of October and the grand final to take place on the weekend of October 17/18.

QUEENSLAND

Following South Australia, the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) and QAFL Women’s competitions are preparing to kick off again from July 11. The QAFL had not commenced its season prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, so Round 1 will begin on July 11, the first of a nine-round season for the nine sides. Finals begin on the weekend of September 12/13 with a grand final announced for Saturday, September 26. With the first three rounds of the QAFL Women’s in the books, the competition will kick off from where it left off, with Round 4 the first round of matches in that second weekend of July. Like the QAFL, the competition will run simultaneously with another nine rounds (12 all up) with finals to take place on the same dates as the men’s competition.

TASMANIA

Last week, AFL Tasmania announced that the Tasmanian State League (TSL) and TSL Women’s would commence their seasons next month on July 18 pending government approval. All seven clubs in both leagues will take place in a relatively normalised season with neither having started prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. The fixture is yet to be determined, but the aim is for the teams to play each other twice before a two-week finals series with October 18 anticipated to be the latest possible date for a grand final.

VICTORIA

In the most recent update yesterday, AFL Victoria announced a modified Victorian Football League (VFL) season would go ahead. Eight VFL clubs will take part in the seven-round season to commence on August 1: Box Hill, Casey Demons, Coburg, Frankston, Port Melbourne, Sandringham, Werribee and Williamstown. The VFL Women’s competition was however cancelled, with the regular competition to be replaced by a Super Series. The concept involves four teams of 30 players taking part in a round-robin competition with three matches for each team, followed by an All-Stars match of the best talents. The idea behind it is to allow Victorian draft prospects to play competitive matches ahead of the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft later in the year.

The NAB League Girls and NAB League Boys competitions will go ahead with both completing a total six-week season with five regular season rounds and one round of finals. These start on August 22 (boys) and September 5 (girls) with the NAB League Girls results from March counting towards the first three weeks of the six-week season.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The West Australian Football League (WAFL) and WAFL Women’s will both commence on August 1, with a nine-round season announced for the WAFL. It means each of the teams will face off once, and the Colts competition will also start on the same weekend, pending an announcement regarding dates for an AFL Under 18s Championships, which earlier in the year had been earmarked for September (usually held in July). Keeping in line with a regular season, the WAFL Grand Final will take place a week before the AFL Grand Final, some time in mid-October such as the SANFL’s weekend of October 17/18.

The other major winter state league – the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) announced it would not go ahead in season 2020 with only five teams remaining after the Northern Academy sides were forced out due to COVID-19 restrictions.

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Isabelle Pritchard (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft.

Next under the microscope is Western Jets’ defender-turned-midfielder Isabelle Pritchard who looms as one of the best defensive prospects in the AFL Women’s Draft, and if the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships go ahead, will be a key fixture for the Vic Metro side along with Sarah Hartwig.

Isabelle Pritchard (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

Height: 177cm
Position: Defender/Midfielder
Strengths: Rebounding, footy IQ, accumulation, decision making, defensive pressure

2020 NAB League stats: 3 games | 22.7 disposals | 3.3 marks | 1.7 hitouts | 7.3 tackles | 2.3 inside 50s | 3.3 rebounds

2019 NAB League stats: 7 games | 15.3 disposals | 2.0 marks | 2.7 hitouts | 3.9 tackles | 1.4 inside 50s | 2.0 rebounds

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 2 games | 7.5 disposals | 1.0 marks | 2.0 tackles | 2.5 rebounds

A player who has undoubtedly been on the minds of AFL Women’s clubs for some time as she emerged through the pathways, Western Jets’ Isabelle Pritchard is among the top players available this year. She is a good size at 177cm, capable of playing in a key position role, but has the athleticism to also play as a midfielder if need be. She is strong overhead, a fierce tackler and is not afraid to get her hands dirty with a high work ethic to match her ability.

She represented Vic Metro as a middle-ager in 2019, averaging 7.5 disposals, but having the 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 tackles to go with it, showing she was more than capable of standing up under pressure. In the NAB League Girls competition, Pritchard amassed more than 15 touches a game, and around four tackles and two rebounds in an improving Jets side last year. Fast forward to 2020 and her numbers across the board have shot up, with seven more disposals, an extra mark, inside 50 and rebound, but the most noticeable boost was in her tackling pressure.

After averaging 3.9 tackles in 2019, Pritchard averaged 7.3 already in 2020, playing an inside midfield role rather than her traditional half-back. This allowed her to find more of the football – which she had no trouble doing to begin with – and be a real menace for opposition midfielders on the inside. She is just as capable playing an outside role, so could fill out onto a wing at the elite level, but could well begin as that half-back with good intercept skills.

The aspects that make Pritchard so strong are her natural footballing ability, which is clear based on her positioning at marking contests and ability to intercept. She has sound decision making, terrific defensive pressure, and can hurt opposition teams going both ways. Throw versatility into the mix, and Pritchard presents as a real top-level prospect for the AFL Women’s future.

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Maggie Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft.

Next under the microscope is Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ ruck Maggie Caris who is hoping to join Rene in the AFL Women’s, whilst also having an elite junior level netball background.

Maggie Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)

Height: 189cm
Position: Ruck
Strengths: Ruckwork, athleticism, second efforts, upside

2020 NAB League stats: 2 games | 11.5 disposals | 0.5 marks | 29.0 hitouts | 1.0 tackles | 3.0 inside 50s

2019 NAB League stats: 6 games | 8.7 disposals | 0.5 marks | 23.3 hitouts | 1.7 tackles | 1.0 rebounds

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 2 games | 6.5 disposals | 1.0 marks | 17.0 hitouts | 4.5 tackles

With rucks considered a premium at junior level, GWV Rebels’ Maggie Caris looks to be the top prospect for the 2020 AFL Women’s draft crop. Caris has represented Victoria in both Australian rules and netball, making her a dual-sport threat and someone who could capably pursue either career. In terms of her football, Caris has always had height on her side, usually towering over all of her opponents through the pathways, and having the ruck nous and athleticism to stand out.

Along with her work in the air, Caris is strong at ground level with her second efforts a feature of her game. Whilst not a massive tackler at NAB League level – she really ramped up the pressure at last year’s Under 18 National Championships, laying 4.5 tackles per game from her two matches. In just two games this year, Caris lifted her disposal count and hitout numbers, as well as played more of an offensive role compared to a defensive one where she dropped into the hole last year.

With three inside 50s per game, and having a dominant performance against the Western Jets in Round 2, Caris showed just what she was capable of winning the ball around the ground. But while her current ability is quite impressive, there are still areas to build upon – such as her overhead marking and scoreboard impact – which would take her game to another level again.

If the 2020 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships do go ahead, Caris is a player who not only would lead Vic Country’s attack through the ruck, but would be a contender for the All-Australian ruck position with a couple of talented South Australians also well stocked in that area. If she can pursue football and end up being drafted, she would follow in her sister Rene – Geelong AFL Women’s – in doing so.

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft.

Next under the microscope is Sandringham Dragons’ rebounding defender, Sarah Hartwig who is as good in the air as she is on the ground.

Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Height: 173cm
Position: Centre half-back / can play midfield or forward
Strengths: Intercept marking, footy IQ, spoiling, clean hands, one-on-ones, positioning

2020 NAB League stats: 3 games | 15.0 disposals | 4.3 marks | 3.0 tackles | 1.3 inside 50s | 2.6 rebounds

2019 NAB League stats: 9 games | 13.1 disposals | 2.8 marks | 4.1 tackles | 3.4 rebounds

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 2 games | 5.0 disposals | 1.5 marks | 1.0 tackles

For AFL Women’s clubs, finding a tall defender with clean hands and high footy IQ that can also play through the midfield and up forward is tough. But luckily for Victorian teams, there are two genuine quality taller defenders in Isabelle Pritchard and Sarah Hartwig both in their top-age years this year. In Hartwig’s case, she has spent more time up the ground in 2020, which is why when you look at her stats compared to last year, her disposals and marks are up, whilst her rebounds and tackles are down. She has gone out hunting the ball and provided much more of an offensive run out of defence.

In 2019, Hartwig played nine games in the NAB League Girls competition and was one of the premier rebounders. She reads the ball well in flight, but reacts quickly at ground level, which makes her all the more damaging even when you think she is out of the contest. She attacks the ball carrier just as hard as the ball itself, and will often be the one knowing when to drop back into the hole to take an intercept mark. She can just as easily come over as a third player in a marking contest too.

In 2020, we saw Hartwig’s game develop further – albeit in just the three games – where she was able to win the ball a bit more up the ground, but still have the impact on the contest. In one play against the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in Round 1, Hartwig came off half-back and ran between a number of opposition players to pick the ball up one-take on the burst, then took the opposition on by sidestepping or fending them off, and kicked neatly inside 50. It is this dare that can separate her from her peers, because she backs herself to get the job done and make the right choice.

While she only got limited time in the 2019 AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, if it goes ahead this year expect her to have a much greater role. She has the versatility to play in multiple positions, but she just reads the ball so well off half-back and positions herself accordingly, it is where you expect to see her line-up. With the improvement already shown and the natural development over time, Hartwig has the potential to become a quality defender at the top level.

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Tyanna Smith (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft.

Next under the microscope is Dandenong Stingrays’ Tyanna Smith, a smooth-moving midfielder with terrific athletic traits and footy IQ.

Tyanna Smith (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

Height: 166cm
Position: Midfielder
Strengths: Acceleration, kicking penetration, agility, clearance ability, footy IQ

2020 NAB League stats:  25.3 disposals | 4.0 marks | 6.0 tackles | 5.3 inside 50s | 3.3 rebounds | 1 goal

2019 NAB League stats: 7 games | 16.6 disposals | 1.0 marks | 3.6 tackles | 4.1 inside 50s | 1.6 rebounds | 7 goals

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 3 games | 16.0 disposals | 1.7 marks | 6.3 tackles | 2.7 clearances | 4.3 inside 50s | 1 goal

When it comes to the next crop of AFL Women’s talent, many of the up-and-coming stars have strengths that immediately stand out on the field. In rare cases, the players seem to have such an all-round game it is hard to find too many faults, and that is exactly the case with Dandenong Stingrays’ Tyanna Smith. If you rated players across a multitude of footballing categories, you would expect to see Smith in the top 10, if not top five for most, which is what makes her such a damaging prospect.

So what are her biggest strengths? Well for one her acceleration and agility is hard to match, with the Stingrays talent often being watched or held at stoppages to try and stop her from gaining space. One noticeable aspect is the work of her teammates to try and provide blocks to enable Smith to find the space, win the ball and kick it forward. Basically, the old adage of ‘if you give her an inch, she’ll find a mile’ applies perfectly to Smith. Once she is out of reach, good luck trying to catch her.

Dandenong Stingrays’ coach Dave Carden described her as “a coach’s dream” because of her ability to take on feedback and apply it to her game. In the opening round against Eastern Ranges, Smith sensed the game in the balance in the first half and took it upon herself to grab it by the horns and drive the ball forward. The speedy midfielder had multiple inside 50s, and while her team was not able to capitalise at first, she ended up kicking one of the goals of the year from the boundary. It would be her only goal of the season as she dominated through the midfield.

Often players that are so strong offensively do not always have the defensive side, but as we mentioned with Smith in regards to balanced gameplay, she not only has a defensive side, but she thrives on it. It is well worth watching her game against Calder Cannons where she brought down the equally talented Ellie McKenzie in a tackle as the duo had a terrific battle at times up at RAMS Arena. Averaging six tackles per game to go with her 25.3 disposals and 4.0 marks, Smith is one of the most efficient tacklers in the draft crop, making her just as damaging without the ball as she is with it.

There is still growth left in her game, but with a great balance across the board and the fact she is regarded as such a great listener, there are plenty of boxes that Smith ticks when it comes to assessing her game.

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Ellie McKenzie (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft.

Next under the microscope is Northern Knights’ Ellie McKenzie, a dynamic midfielder/forward with an incredibly high ceiling.

Ellie McKenzie (Northern Knights)

Height: 173cm
Position: Midfielder/Forward
Strengths: Clean hands, high marking, scoreboard impact, decision making, run-and-carry

2020 NAB League Stats: 3 games | 19 disposals | 5 marks | 2.3 tackles | 4.6 inside 50s | 0.3 goals (1)

2019 NAB League Stats: 10 games | 15 disposals | 3 marks | 2.4 tackles | 3.4 inside 50s | 0.7 goals (7)

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 2 games | 16 disposals | 2.5 marks | 3.5 tackles | 4 clearances | 1.5 inside 50s | 1 rebound 50

Northern Knights co-captain Ellie McKenzie has long been billed as one of her region’s top prospects after breaking into the side as a bottom-ager in 2018. Since her three-goal debut, McKenzie has developed into more than just a mainstay for the Knights, proving her worth as a game-changing figure over the past three seasons.

The 173cm midfielder/forward stood out last year even among a raft of top-age stars in Northern’s undefeated premiership side, catching the eye with high-flying marks inside forward 50, and tearing up the outside once employed further afield. That same form was transferred into the Under 18 National Championships, where McKenzie would feature thrice for the again, undefeated Vic Metro team.

Like many players in the elite category, McKenzie has a vast array of strengths which are adaptable to multiple positions. When stationed up forward, her clean hands and sizeable leap give her an edge aerially, with smarts around goal boding well for her damaging scoreboard impact.

But like many chasers have learned, McKenzie can also hurt the opposition with her run-and-carry on the outside. She showed as much in a couple of memorable moments throughout 2019, tearing up a wing with multiple bounces against Queensland while on representative duties, and capturing the crowd’s attention on NAB League grand final day with a similar feat.

For all the frills in her game, McKenzie also excels in the fundamentals. While she tends to favour her stronger left side when disposing by foot, McKenzie is a sound decision maker and can gain some serious meterage with her penetrating boot. Her clean hands have also served her well in congestion having picked up more midfield minutes, allowing her to be there and gone in a split second.

The sister of former North Melbourne rookie, Tom, McKenzie is developing a similar ball winning capacity, and has become one of her side’s premier extractors as a top-ager. Alongside co-captain Jess Fitzgerald, McKenzie turned the game against Dandenong around in quick time this season, as both players collected 28 disposals apiece.

It was that kind of form which saw the 17-year-old lead our DC Medal count after the first and only three NAB League Girls rounds in 2020, tied with Dandenong star Tyanna Smith. Along with the two aforementioned prospects, McKenzie is one of the leading candidates to be taken first off the board come draft time.

2020 NAB League Girls team update: Western Jets

WHILE the NAB League Girls competition is on break, we take a quick recap of each team, how the first three rounds have panned out for them and who has already stood up in the short time. In this edition we look at the final side in our series, the Western Jets who filled each of the won-lost-drawn columns with a mixed bag start to the season.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 22 points
R2: drew with Murray Bushrangers
R3: lost to GWV Rebels by 25 points

The Jets got to experience the highs, lows and everything in between across the opening three rounds of the season. Western started off with an impressive win over Bendigo Pioneers, could not be split when they faced Murray Bushrangers, and then after a strong start, were just overrun in the second half against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels.

FIVE STRONG STARTERS:

Isabelle Pritchard (22.7 disposals, 3.3 marks, 1.7 hitouts, 7.3 tackles, 3.5 inside 50s, 3.3 rebounds)

The top age AFL Women’s National Academy member was her side’s leading ball winner over the first three rounds and seemed to be everywhere on the ground. After becoming a really consistent half-back in 2019, Pritchard showed she can play through the midfield and used her taller and stronger frame to win the ball at stoppages and get it forward for her teammates to score. A prominent tackler as well.

Montana Ham (20.3 disposals, 5.0 marks, 2.7 tackles, 4.0 inside 50s, 3.7 rebounds, 1 goal)

One of a number of bottom agers, Ham looked more than capable of matching it against her older peers, having a number of highlight reel moments in the opening few rounds. She finished the three games with plenty of stats across the board, including more than 20 touches and five marks per game, having some of the strongest hands going around. Her goal from 50m against the Rebels in Round 3 was one of the best of the competition.

Amelia Velardo (18.0 disposals, 5.0 hitouts, 4.7 tackles, 2.7 inside 50s, 2.0 rebounds)

Playing the tough gig of undersized ruck, the new top ager seemed to take everything in her stride and was one of the Jets’ top four performers across the first two rounds. She did her best in the ruck, but then would dominate her opponent once the ball hit the ground, showing off great athleticism and the ability to cover ground and offer herself as a target around the field.

Charlotte Baskaran (20.3 disposals, 2.0 marks, 6.0 tackles, 3.7 inside 50s, 2.7 rebounds)

One of the best ball users and decision makers in the competition, the bottom age talent still has a couple of years to run in the system and will be one to watch in the future. She often comes off half-back and takes the game on, and more often than not is able to hit targets in situations very few can. A player expected to rotate around the ground in coming years, but once she has time and space, can do some real damage to the opposition.

Caitlin Sargent (9.7 disposals, 3.0 marks, 4.0 tackles, 1.7 inside 50s, 4 goals)

The forward getting on the end of the most opportunities from her teammates, Sargent booted four goals in her three games, and then would also work hard up the field to create opportunities for others. She would go on searching leads and then apply pressure to the opposition, and as a middle ager still has a year to run in the program. She played eight games last season, but has already made noticeable improvement from her few games in 2020, so another to keep an eye on in 2021.

Others who have stood out: Nikita Wright, Ciara Singleton, Jemima Woods, Sarah Golding

A top ager in Wright and an overager in Singleton come into the list after strong starts to the season, with Wright working hard through the midfield and Singleton being a reliable option in defence, whilst pushing up the ground to pump the ball inside 50 on a number of occasions too. Woods and Golding are both middle agers who have another year to run in the system, and both showed good signs to start 2020.