Tag: aflw under 19 national championships

Draft hopeful Harmer looks to find “the best of both worlds”

IN the air and on the ground. Intercept marking combined with run-and-carry. That’s the kind of impact Maroochydore prospect Maggie Harmer aims to make across half-back. The versatile talent is in line to become one of the first Brisbane Lions Academy products called out on draft night, and has a pair of senior defenders to look up to.

Come July 27, Kate Lutkins and Nat Grider could go from idols to teammates for Harmer, who is hoping to harness their respective strengths in order to get “the best of both worlds” as a player.

“Kate has such a good intercept mark and Nat has also got that run-and-carry which is really good, so it’s the best of both worlds between them,” Harmer said.

With the long-term goal of simply improving as a player in mind, the 18-year-old recognises her strengths, but also her areas for improvement.

“Across half-back, (my strengths are) reading the play and taking intercept marks when the opposition is looking for those forward 50 entries and trying to cut off those long kicks,” Harmer said.

“I’m more of an (aerial) player, so my ground balls are always something I’ve wanted to work on, just clean pick-ups. Also my one-on-one contests, holding my own up against those bigger girls.”

Harmer has earned a raft of opportunities since being introduced to Australian football in her final years of primary school, culminating in AFLW Academy honours, Under 19 All Australian selection, and the opportunity to represent her state throughout 2021.

Harmer kicks Queensland forward during this year’s National Championships

Above all else, Harmer says the opportunity to test her skills and be challenged by the nation’s best talent provided some valuable tests and lessons.

“I didn’t think it was going to be that much of a flogging (against Vic Country),” she said. “But the score didn’t really represent the contest.

“(AFLW Academy training) is big challenge because it’s another step to what we’re used to at club training and even academy. But I think it really pushes you to be the best player you can be and try to keep up with those older girls that are playing at such a high level.”

In their only National Championships dig for 2021, Queensland’s Under 19s went down to Vic Country by 54 points down in Melbourne, but Harmer was able to showcase some of her best traits with 15 disposals, five marks and five tackles.

Her ability to turn attack into defence with that aforementioned intercept game, as well as positive forward running makes Harmer a productive type. Queensland talent manager Mark Browning also gave a glowing review, boding well not just for draft night, but for her impact on the game in years to come.

“She’s probably the one that excites me the most when she trains,” Browning said. “It hasn’t quite transpired to games yet, but I think she’s got the most natural running out of all of them.”

Maurer thrives on Tasmanian “team bond”

RETURNING for her second season of Tasmania Devils representation in 2021, there was a rise in “enjoyment” levels for tough midfielder-forward, Ella Maurer. The 19-year-old thrived across nine NAB League outings in her top-age campaign, averaging a tick under 17 disposals and five tackles as an integral part of the starting squad. She put much of her own, and the team’s success down to a rising “team bond”.

“We’ve really come together,” Maurer said. “We’ve been really united and it’s just been really enjoyable. Sometimes in previous years I found that it was a big sluggish getting to training but this year every training was enjoyable. All the coaches, staff and girls were great to be around.

“I love team sports, just the whole vibe and being out there with the girls.”

Through a consistent and much-improved NAB League campaign, Maurer was able to bring her own strengths to the fore and lean on her senior experience to provide a hard edge. She’s a player who loves the “aggression” of the game, which shows in the traits she says are her strengths, and areas for improvement.

“[My strength] is probably my attack on the ball,” she said. “Just being able to get in and get the ball out from contests and get the hands off to a teammate… [I’m working on] being cleaner and my skills, especially when I go down forward.

“I love to play in the midfield and rotate forward, I love to play down there as well. Even in the backline, I like to play some defensive footy so a bit of everything really.”

Maurer’s 2021 form saw her selected in the Allies squad, where she remained a constant ball winner and tough competitor, averaging 18 disposals, six tackles, and three clearances per her three games. The representative honours matched Maurer’s goals constantly “improving [her] game” and playing “at the highest level” possible.

She has plenty of examples to follow too, with former North Launceston captain Jodie Clifford a particular source of inspiration for the rising teenage prospect, having been there almost every step of the way.

“[Clifford] is just a really inspiring person and player as well,” Maurer said. “She’s one of the coaches for the Devils, the midfield coach, and I got to play footy with her at North Launceston. She was our captain and best and fairest both years that we played together.”

“I started playing footy when I was 14 in the junior youth girl’s team at North Launceston Football Club. I played there for two years, then went on to play in the TSLW team for North Launceston for the two years we had that. Unfortunately that folded so now I’m at Old Scotch in the NTFA.”

A raft of Tasmanians also joined Maurer in North Melbourne’s VFLW side this year, with as many as 11 of them getting out on the park at one time in blue and white. There are certainly big things happening out of the Apple Isle and if Maurer’s development is anything to go by, the rate of improvement will be steep.

Image Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

Fierce Dolan chooses footballing “family”

A FIERCE competitor who tackles hard, brings her pressure game to each line, and doesn’t mind a scrap. On face value, you’d think Charlotte Dolan hails from a much different sporting background than her soccer and surf lifesaving past. The helmet-donning Woodville-West Torrens prospect is unmistakable on-field, though.

Dolan completed just her second SANFL Women’s campaign in 2021 after a promising debut season last year, with her choice to pursue Australian football paying off in the form of repeat state representative honours. It has proven quite a journey for the 18-year-old.

“I started playing football five to six years ago and it’s been non-stop since then,” Dolan said. “From SMOSH West Lakes, [to] Henley Football Club, to the Eagles, and now I’m here.

“I stopped playing soccer about four years ago… the honest truth is I had a soccer coach who said I had to choose. “I was doing surf lifesaving, soccer and football and it was all too much so my soccer coach told me to choose, and I chose football.

“I felt more of a family was around the football community and I was enjoying it a lot more, enjoyment comes before anything else.”

Dolan ponders her next move during this year’s AFLW U19 championships

In a season which Dolan modestly rated as “not too bad”, she averaged over seven disposals and four tackles across her nine SANFLW outings. The top-ager boosted those numbers come National Championships time, making it eight disposals to go with 2.3 marks and 2.7 inside 50s.

Having been utilised on both sides of midfield, up forward and down back, it is fair to say that Dolan’s punishing pressure game easily translates to all of the above. She says that kind of “versatility” is one of her strengths.

“I’d say I’m quite a fierce and aggressive player,” she said. “I like to lay the game-changing tackles and I believe I’m an alright kick, a long kick as well so I think they’re mostly my strengths.

“My marking has always let me down a fair bit but I have improved a lot from where I was – from playing soccer and being scared of having a ball in the face to where I am now, I think I’m doing alright.”

Outside of football, Dolan says there isn’t “a whole lot” going on. Shortly after her South Australian representative stint, she looked forward to the Australian surf lifesaving titles, but also fills her time working at AFL Max which is “a bit of fun”.

McLeay thrives on championship “learning experience”

HAVING started out looking to take up a sport “different to everybody else” at eight years old, Isadora McLeay is now well versed in Australian football nearly a decade later.

The Sydney Swans Academy member had hit 100 games for local club Mosman Swans by the age of 12, but is still adding strings to her bow after the “learning experience” that was this year’s AFLW Under 19 National Championships.

“I found them really, really fun,” McLeay said. “The Allies are lucky because we get a whole bunch of different girls from different places, all walks of life, and coming together you’re learning lots of things.

“It’s a good learning experience, especially from all the coaches like Jared Crouch who has played lots of games in the AFL system. It’s really interesting to learn his perspective on things.”

In her two outings for the Allies, McLeay was able to showcase her versatility and impressive one-on-one game, thriving most down back to average 16.5 disposals, three marks, and three rebound 50s. The 17-year-old says the defensive role is one which has grown on her through representative experience.

“I find it easier to punch the ball rather than mark it,” she said. “I used to hate playing back, I used to always be put back for representative (duties) but I’ve actually started to really enjoy full back.

“I think I’m pretty good at winning one-on-ones, just beating my opponents.”

There are two sides to the game though and while McLeay has already shown her promising defensive capabilities, she says she is working on some of her offensive attributes to fully enhance that desirable trait of versatility.

“I focus a lot on defence because I play back,” she said. “So I probably need to work on how I attack the ball and try to move it forward rather than just trying to prevent goals.”

When football is your “whole life” and what you “look forward to most weeks”, making those improvements becomes less of a chore. McLeay has a few inspirations to feed off too, especially close to home.

“Obviously my mum has been a great inspiration for everything she’s done for me to get to where I am,” she said.

Erin McKinnon has also come from my local club so it’s pretty interesting to see where she’s come from. “And one of my favourite players is Maddy Prespakis, just because she’s really good.”

With Sydney setting its sights on an AFLW licence in 2022, McLeay has the chance to become a lifelong Swan – from juniors, to the academy, to the top level.

Ballard buoyed by “enjoyable” position switch

STURT utility Alex Ballard is a player capable of shining at either end of the field, with her versatility tested throughout state Under 19s and SANFL Women’s duties. The top-ager already has over 30 senior games to her name after debuting in 2018, utilised as an equally capable intercept marking defender and full forward in that time, as well as during her representative stints.

“Last season I played down forward and obviously that was sometimes hard to get the ball,” Ballard said. “This season I played down back, at half-back, and that’s been really enjoyable. Just being able to use my kick to penetrate the defence and get through the lines.

“I enjoy being able to play in different positions, different positions have different challenges.”

As an marking and rebounding defender, Ballard shares similar traits to one of the top level footballers she looks up to, her own brother, Charlie. The Mitcham Hawks junior says he is not the only inspiration for her football career, though.

“My brother Charlie is probably the most obvious [mentor], but also my dad,” she said. “He’s always been very supportive and never puts pressure on me. “If we’re looking at footy skills, looking at Charlie and how he plays, he’s a good intercepting defender and has a good kick so I look up to him.

Chelsea Randall [too], because she plays in defence and that’s my most preferred position. She’s courageous, always hard at the ball and is not afraid to drop off her player to impact the contest.

“In the defence I’m a bit tall so I play on the bigger bodies and float off my player when I can to take those intercept marks.”

Ballard’s aerial quality came to the fore during another strong SANFLW campaign, in which she averaged nine disposals and four marks per her nine outings. The 170cm prospect also averaged virtually identical numbers across three state games, with that form enough to land her a spot in the recent SANFLW All Stars showcase. There, she was among the best afield for Team Red.

Having started out in a nine-a-side carnival with the Mitcham Hawks, Ballard’s honours have stacked up over the years. While she was overlooked in the 2020 AFL Women’s draft, the 18-year-old continues to press on and is also kept busy by her life outside of football.

“I’m at Adelaide Uni, I’m studying health and medical science,” she said. “I’m interested in going into the cancer research field so that keeps me busy outside of footy, balancing [them] at the moment.”

Mann part of the Peel “family”

PEEL Thunder prospect Bella Mann is a talented multi-sport athlete. A former basketballer and netballer, the 17-year-old has taken to the Australian football code quickly after getting her introduction as a “fill in”.

“I started playing basketball and netball since I was little,” Mann said. “When I moved to Baldivis, my friends had a local footy team and they needed me to fill in, they were just one player short. So I went and filled in and I loved it.

“Especially coming from basketball and netball, I loved getting more aggression into it and stuff like that. “I played at Baldivis for a bit and then got picked up by Peel at the end of it.”

Now part of the Peel Thunder “family, Mann has taken quickly to senior football with aplomb. She has been a mainstay for the finals-bound Thunder, with her form enough to earn selection in Western Australia’s Under 19 squad. Within the two squads, she has been able to thrive in multiple roles and showcase a development of key traits.

“I’ve been thrown around a bit this year,” she said. “I played back, mid, forward. I was a mid at Baldivis but I think I’m starting to go down back a bit more now.

“One of my strengths would be my contested marking and tackling. I’m working on my fitness, that’s probably the major [improvement] for me.”

As the type who can play both tall and small in terms of roles, Mann proved a reliable interceptor across WA’s Under 19 defence. She looks towards an elite midfielder for inspiration though.

“Monique Conti from [Richmond],” she said. “She [played] basketball, she does it all as well. And she’s not just such a good player, she does so much for her club as well… she’s just a good person.”

With a terrific trail to follow, Mann is looking to simply be “the best footballer” she can, with landing at an AFLW club the ultimate goal.

Midfield transition makes for fitter and faster Halfpenny

A MIDFIELD transition has made Norwood’s Jade Halfpenny get “fitter” and work “faster” in 2021. The versatile prospect had previously cut her teeth as a forward, but at 175cm, staked her claim as a tall on-baller in the Redlegs’ most recent SANFL Women’s campaign.

“It’s definitely a lot faster,” Halfpenny said. “I’ve had to get a lot fitter, that’s what preseason was for obviously. “But it’s been really good because I feel like I’ve been able to show a different side of myself and work a bit harder in games.

“I do like forward because I like kicking goals – who doesn’t like kicking goals? “But I like midfield as well because you do get to be involved a bit more.”

As a top-ager who was overlooked at last year’s draft, the move has allowed Halfpenny to showcase improvement and added strings to her bow. While her strengths have come to the fore in the new role, Halfpenny also outlined some fundamental areas for improvement.

“Being a bigger player, definitely my speed [is a strength],” she said. “A lot of taller players aren’t able to move as quickly. My strength as well, being a bigger body has definitely helped out a lot.

“[I’m working on] the basics like kicking, one-percenters, handballing. Just fine-tuning.”

Halfpenny was a mainstay in Norwood’s minor premiership-winning SANFLW season this year, averaging 10.6 disposals, 2.5 marks and 3.1 tackles across 11 games. The Redlegs fell short of the flag, but Halfpenny said it was “really good to be winning” and “seeing some results for all the hard work” the team had put in.

Her outstanding individual form was also enough to see her represent her state at the AFLW Under 19 National Championships. Having played in the senior grade for multiple seasons now, the 19-year-old was pleased to play and train alongside a new bunch of teammates.

“It’s been really good because obviously it’s been a couple of years since I’ve solely been with a group of people who are similar in age,” she said. “It’s good to be exposed to that and also train alongside people that I generally play against, and get to know them personally.”

Halfpenny lauded the influence of of coaches along the journey, from those who “saw a lot of potential” in her as a junior, to the Norwood and state program staff who have helped accelerate her development. She has come a long way since starting out at local club, Golden Grove.

“I started playing local footy when I was 15 at Golden Grove,” she said. “From there I did the Under 17 development squads with Norwood for three years, and at the end of my last year they invited me to come out and train with the senior side and it just went (on) from there.

“My coaches from junior level saw a lot of potential in me from younger ages and helped me get to where I am now. The coaches at Norwood and even here in the state program have all been really helpful.”

Top Performers: AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships – Vic Metro vs. Vic Country

THE 2021 AFL Women’s Under 19 National Championships rolled on into its second fixture on Friday afternoon, as Vic Country and Vic Metro locked horns in perfect conditions at Trevor Barker Oval. It was the Country side, coached by Mel Hickey which got up against its fierce rival in what was a high quality game of football played with plenty of spirit. We take you through some of the top performers from the day, highlighted on the basis of opinion by our individual scouts.

>> Scouting Notes: Vic Country vs. Vic Metro Under 17s

VIC METRO:

By: Michael Alvaro

#4 Emelia Yassir (Calder Cannons)

Yassir is one of the most crafty ground level midfielders in Victoria and proved as much with another solid performance in representative colours. The Calder Cannons product spent a lot of time competing at half-forward, but made the most of her midfield minutes and was able to combine with some familiar faces in the engine room. Yassir was often the anchor at centre bounce situations and did well to chain handballs as Metro looked to stream forward, with her speed a key feature in those situations. Her tackling pressure was also noticeable, and matched the intensity of the game.

#9 Maeve Chaplin (Northern Knights)

The top-ager got back to her roots in a way as she was stationed almost permanently down back for Metro, and she was one who stood up well against the efficient Country attack. Her strong physical presence and ability to read the game proved key traits as Chaplin cut off a number of Country forays – whether it was cutting across to intercept mark or rebounding with authority and efficiency. Amid a high stakes pressure cooker, Chaplin was one of the more composed players in important areas and played her role to a t, even doing well to quell the influence of Poppy Schaap after her hot start to proceedings.

#11 Bridget Deed (Eastern Ranges)

Deed was one of the solid contributors for Metro who played a touch out of position compared to her usual posting in the NAB League. The Eastern Ranges midfielder was predominantly employed at half-forward and was able to use her ball winning ability to impact contests whenever her name was called. She did a lot of the hard stuff well, as we have come to expect, with some important tackles going unrewarded and nice bursts through traffic to break the game open for Metro within their attacking half.

#12 Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)

Donning the long-sleeve ‘Big V’ jumper, there was a sense of familiarity in Prespakis’ game as she again proved to be the best player afield, as she has been throughout nearly every game in her fledgling career. Her cleanliness around the stoppages was on full show, with clean gathers and handballs out under pressure helping her look that class above the rest. Prespakis’ strength on the ball was also noticeable during her permanent midfield role, as was her terrific overhead marking ability around the ground. The Calder product worked hard both ways and impacted in all parts of the ground with her well-rounded style, bringing her teammates into the game with handball chains and instinctive work on the inside. We are running out of superlatives at this point, she is simply a marvel to watch and is likely the top draft prospect in the country right now.

#15 Stella Reid (Oakleigh Chargers)

Reid played a little bit of everywhere in this game, rotating forward form her usual wing post and finding plenty of the ball. She is almost unassuming in the way she racks up possessions, and carried that trend from her NAB League form this year to again be one of the top ball winners in her latest outing. Having spent a good amount of time up forward of late, Reid used her knack of finding space in attacking areas to good effect, booting two goals with clean touches within Metro’s 50-metre arc. Her run-and-carry game was not as noticeable this time around, but Reid always gains good meterage and that was no different here.

#16 Brooke Vickers (Oakleigh Chargers)

Another who has been in stellar form for Oakleigh this season, Vickers picked up a familiar role across half-back for Metro and showed her class in moments scattered throughout the game. Her ability to read the play from behind the ball is outstanding, and Vickers often thinks ball-first when looking to intercept, with that attacking kind of mindset paying off as she cut off some threatening Country passages. While she was a little smothered in her usual work going forward, Vickers showed some solid defensive capabilities with spoils, tackles, and some handy mop-up work at ground level.

#18 Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)

A leader at Oakleigh and a leader in this star-studded representative side, Rowbottom battled well to make an impression on the contest. She was initially stationed deep forward and rotated back there throughout, but arguably looked most damaging in the engine room. At her first centre bounce attendance, Rowbottom was able to bustle free and boot a clearance forward, highlighting her key strength as a midfielder. She has rare power amid heavy congestion which often sees her break out of situations in Houdini-esque fashion, which is more often than not followed by a penetrating kick forward. She skewed a few kicks on the run and under pressure, with lowering her eyes and executing those skills more efficiently a potential next step for her midfield development.

#26 Neve Crowley (Calder Cannons)

Crowley has raised eyebrows in recent weeks as a promising forward target, having mostly plied her trade as a defender for the Calder Cannons. She was again employed at centre half-forward and drifted in gracefully to take some nice aerial marks, credit to her outstanding judgement of the ball in flight. Crowley looked most ominous in the second term, though had her couple of set shot attempts fall short and slide across the face of goal respectively. Overall, it was a solid outing and one which built on the promise she had already shown in advanced positions. Another big tick for her versatility.

#27 Montana Ham (Western Jets)

The sole bottom-ager afield for Metro, Ham was thrown right into the deep end with a good number of centre bounce attendances. She has the ideal size to compete against more mature bodies and proved that with some tough work on the inside, though her explosive qualities were more difficult to exploit in the high-pressure contest. She also moved forward at times and was an entertaining asset for Metro, with her ability to snatch considerable distance in quick time proving advantageous for her side’s forwards. With such a penetrating kick and all the tools to be a very high selection, Ham continues to prove her worth heading into next year’s draft.

#28 Georgia Campbell (Eastern Ranges)

Campbell shared the ruck duties with AFLW Academy tall, Tahlia Gillard, but was most impactful during her time as a key forward. Her mobility and attack on the ball stood out as really high-end traits which will continue to raise her draft stocks in 2021, especially if she can also continue to hit the scoreboard. Whether it was competing in the air or crashing ground balls, Campbell was a much-needed physical presence up forward for Metro, and looked natural on a line which saw plenty of players contribute slightly unfamiliar roles. She capped off her game with a richly deserved goal.

 

VIC COUNTRY:

By: Declan Reeve

#4 Poppy Schaap (Geelong Falcons)

Stationed inside the Country attacking half for the game, Schaap took the opportunity with both hands to produce some really good passages of play, and highlight reel worthy goals. Her first goal in particular, a snap from the boundary under pressure, was super impressive, showing composure and poise going forward. She was clean throughout the game at ground level, never fumbling and then using her agility to work through opponents to get a handball to the outside, or snap it over her shoulder forward. She was a consistent link up player, that could reliably keep Country in possession.

#9 Paige Scott (GWV Rebels)

The bottom-aged forward stepped up in a big way after a quieter first quarter, with Country teammate Tara Slender earning herself more attention after the first quarter, Scott took it upon herself to become the new target up forward, leading hard for marks and being relentless in her pursuit of the footy, running through opponents and even teammates at times to win a contested ball, or tackling opponents hard, her presence was very much felt and noticed by all. Using her strength well, she had no issues pushing opponents off when she wanted to go for a run either.

#10 Abbey Jordan (Dandenong Stingrays)

Got involved in quite a bit astound the ground, with her pressure work in contested situations a real highlight of her game, regularly being ready to pounce on any Metro player coming out of a contest with the ball. When she won the ball, she used it well, often looking to move it quickly to give the Country forwards the best chance to mark and get shots on goal, but she was versatile with that, also able to match the slower tempo Country were looking to deploy at times. 

#11 Tess Craven (Geelong Falcons)

Was really consistent across four quarters, being a strong competitor in the midfield early on, and gradually standing out more and more as others around the ground got tired, she just kept working to get to the right spots and win the ball. Her ability to control the play even without the ball was great later on, where her leading would often change the tempo and style of how Country were using the ball. Showed some good Footy IQ int he second half where she would be able to get around opponents to deliver a kick on the inside, opening up the options down field for Country.

#12 Gabbi Featherston (Geelong Falcons)

Despite measuring in at just under 170cm, the athleticism of Featherston saw her become the Country relieving ruck, where her superb leap, and aggression towards the ball and the opposing ruck, saw her win or neutralise quite a few ruck contests, that would lead to her following up at ground level. She was stationed mostly up forward when not rucking, and allowed her work rate and leap to shine, taking on every contests she was near and getting up when she could.

#14 Jaide Anthony (Dandenong Stingrays)

Donning the helmet in the country defence, her ability to impact every contest in the defensive 50, battling to get the ball to ground and then using her game sense to run past or around opponents, and deliver the ball to contests down the line, was outstanding across the four quarters. Her understanding of her teammates was impressive, dropping back at times to allow other teammates to push up the ground, and directing teammates around when she was behind and could see the play unfolding in front of her. Not only nullifying contests or being a vocal teammate though, she started taking some really good marks out the front of packs or in front of a single opponent, particularly in the second half, completely cutting off some promising Metro attacks, and sending the ball out with great efficiency to get Country moving on the counter.

#17 Annie Lee (Geelong Falcons)

Part of Country’s superb defense, Lee did all the things well that she’s been doing for the Falcons, with her positioning down the line, and aerial strength, keeping the Metro midfielders busy by sending the ball back out when they rushed a kick forward. She was particularly dangerous in the first half with her run from behind style getting rewarded with some handball receives, which allowed her to kick long forward and help get Country on the board early.

#19 Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV Rebels)

Played a really solid role down back as expected, and whilst not racking up huge numbers in terms of disposals, her hard work and 1 percenters in the defensive 50 helped others win the ball and get it out, with her high leap meaning she was able to compete with the taller Metro forwards and rucks in marking contests

#25 Mackenzie Eardley (Dandenong Stingrays)

Had one of the hardest jobs for Country of the day, playing on whichever of the Metro rucks was resting in the forward line, both being athletic and strong in marking contests. The bottom-ager proved to be up for the challenge, not conceding a mark all day in an impressive defensive display. She was put under pressure a coupled of times in a row in the last quarter, but was able to beat her opponents every time.

#26 Grace McRae (Gippsland Power)

One of Country’s top ball winners around the ground for the day, McRae made the inside her own at stages of the game, forming a good connection with Gippsland teammate Grace Matser to get onto the end of some very well placed taps, using her strength to take contact and then get the ball out via kick or handball. Got involved in some ‘slow’ play passages as well where she’d make a short lead, mark, and then pass the ball to a teammate in a more dangerous position. Was defensively accountable around stoppages as well, rarely letting her opponent get away with a clearance

#28 Tara Slender (Bendigo Pioneers)

Started the game really well, with her workrate to get up and down the ground, despite being stationed a CHF, being a real highlight of the Country Captains game. She was regularly involved in contests on the wing or even on the defensive 50 mark where she’d just get the hard stuff done. As usual her marking was a highlight, taking them easily in the first half, and then receiving a few free kicks in the second half from opponents coming in too late from behind, one of which resulted in a goal for Slender, to top off a really quality game.

#29 Grace Matser (Gippsland Power)

Coming up against two rucks with different strengths and play styles, Matser adjusted to her direct opponent well, using her physicality and leap against the taller Tahlia Gillard in contests, to great effect as the game went on, and her height advantage over Georgia Campbell to win a few there.