Tag: ALL Australian

Competitive Venning used to putting in the “extra effort”

WINNING your club’s best and fairest award over the league and state Under 19s MVP is no mean feat, but it’s exactly what West Adelaide midfielder Zoe Venning pulled off in 2021. The tenacious ball winner was part of a strong Westies side which surged to this year’s SANFL Women’s grand final, averaging 16.5 disposals, 4.7 tackles, and 2.1 clearances across 12 games.

Having previously played netball at a high level, the 17-year-old says she knew exactly what it would take to be able to put in the “extra effort” required to make such strides at senior level.

“I was quite high up with my netball so I was used to putting the extra effort in off the field,” Venning said. “I always did my running… I know what it takes to put in hard work so that wasn’t something I was inexperienced with, it was more the age gap because I had always played with girls my age.

“Moving to SANFLW and playing with older girls matured my level of training, being a bit more mature was the biggest challenge.”

Venning credited her footballing journey to her dad, who encouraged her to “give it a go” having already excelled in netball and basketball. After starting out with the Mitcham Hawks, she fell in love with the game and soon found team success closer to home.

“I got to where I am now through my dad,” she said. “I first played at Mitcham Hawks when I was 13 and I didn’t want to play at all but dad said ‘come on Zoe, give it a go’ and I really liked it. My first game I got a lot of it, kicking off my shin but I just loved it.

“My dad wanted to make a girl’s program where I live, so he started up the Blackwood Football Club girl’s program and I’ve played there ever since and every year we’ve won the premiership. It’s just been such a good culture, all my best friends play there so that’s really how I started footy.”

Having started out scrubbing the ball off her shin, Venning has since added some polish to her game but remains a tough sort of ball winner who thrives at the contest. When outlining her strengths, the versatile talent was quick to list “contested ball wins” atop the tree.

“I really back myself,” she said. “I don’t really get intimidated by who I’m (against). I control if I’m going to get the ball or not, I’m not an outside receiver.

“I also think my marking’s quite strong. As a midfielder I can take a strong mark and be a link-up player, even on the kick-outs.”

Zoe Venning on the move for West Adelaide | Image Credit: On The Ball Media

Venning’s strengths made her a lock for SANFLW Team of the Year honours, and she brought the same kind of vigour to her state representative duties. With averages of 23 disposals, seven tackles, and four clearances per her three National Championship games, she also earned Under 19 All Australian status.

Speaking amid April’s Victorian leg of the carnival, she had both individual and team goals in mind.

“It’s been a really good achievement and I’m really excited just to show people what I’ve got,” she said. “I’m looking at it as an opportunity for me and the team to really utilise the talent we have in SA because it’s our standalone year.

“I’m just looking forward to showing my teamwork with others and it’s not just me, I want everyone to do well. But I still want to show that I am a strong player and I’m here to get drafted.”

While finding her way onto an AFLW list is the end goal, Venning is also seeking to succeed in her current Year 12 studies and knows missing out may not be the “be all and end all”. She also has a strong source of inspiration to look up to at the next level.

“An inspiration is Rachelle Martin, who was in my Westies team,” she said. “She inspires me because she worked so hard to get where she is now, playing for the Crows. “She’s a really hard worker, really nice, always caring to her teammates and that’s mainly what inspires me to keep going. I see her work ethic and I want to be like that.”

Come July 27 at the 2021 AFLW Draft, Venning has the chance to join Martin at Adelaide.

Squad predictions: 2020 Western Australia Under 18s

THE annual Under 18 National Championships may be the only chance we get to catch a glimpse of the class of 2020 before draft day, with carnival likely to take place in October. In the meantime, Draft Central takes a look at how each regional squad may line up should the championships come around, but with a few stipulations in place. We began with our Vic Metro, Vic Country, and South Australian squad predictions, and today we take a look at Western Australia’s (WA) potential line-up.

GUIDELINES:

  • Top-agers (2002-born) have been prioritised due to the limited season and exposure
  • Of those, AFL Academy Hub members also gain priority for the starting squad
  • The inclusion of bottom-agers (2003-born) in the hub, and top-agers outside it is limited to three spots in the starting 18
  • 19-year-old inclusions are also limited, having already staked their claims in previous years

A lot may change between now and when the squad will be announced, and it should be noted that players with known long-term injuries will not be picked here. Of course, the sides may vary greatly as players look to shift and develop in different positions, but each member has been selected based on the roles they have previously played. Given only previous form, preseason testing and scratch matches are what we have to go off, bolters are also difficult to gauge at this point.

Players named as depth outside of the initial squad below are inevitably options who will rotate through the side, and it is impossible to fit all the options within a list of 22. But without further ado, let’s get stuck into the fourth squad prediction, with WA’s talent broken down line-by-line.

* – denotes bottom-aged
** – denotes 19-yo

DEFENCE

FB – Blake Morris (Subiaco), Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts), Rhett Bazzo* (Swan Districts)
HB – Brandon Walker (East Fremantle), Heath Chapman (West Perth), Ty Sears (Swan Districts)

The West Australian spine is one of the few to boast genuine talls in most key position posts, starting with Denver Grainger-Barras and Heath Chapman in defence. Both are terrific in the air and provide good versatility as talls, able to shut down opponents, impact the play aerially, and use the ball soundly out of defensive 50.

Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Brandon Walker‘s name will quickly be placed on the team sheet, with Ty Sears an agile outside mover who takes up the opposite half-back flank in our side. Making it three Swan Districts products in the back six is Rhett Bazzo, joined by WA’s 2019 Under 16 MVP, Blake Morris on the last line.

Both are good competitors in the air; with Bazzo a potential key position prospect at 194cm as a bottom-ager, while Morris is a late bloomer who can intercept with his high marking and shrewd reading of the play. The defence has a bit of everything, and should compete well on all levels with Grainger-Barras the centrepiece and leading draft prospect.


MIDFIELD

C – Jack Carroll (East Fremantle), Zane Trew (Swan Districts), Judd McVee* (East Fremantle)
FOL – Kalin Lane** (Claremont), Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth), Finn Gorringe (East Fremantle)

A trio of tough, big-bodied ball winners look likely to attend the centre bounces for WA, with Nathan O’Driscoll (187cm), Zane Trew (186cm), and Finn Gorringe (183cm) all inside types who can crack in and win the hard ball. O’Driscoll is a thumping left-foot kick and capable marker who may also feature across half-back, while Trew is perhaps an even better disposer by foot who also earned Under 16 All Australian honours in 2018.

Palming down to them could well be a true bolter in Kalin Lane, who featured in the 2020 AFL Academy intake despite only playing one WAFL Colts game for Claremont. The 202cm big-man is also the sole 19-year-old to feature in the side, and should be aided well by a couple of other talls in terms of ruck duties.

On the outside, Jack Carroll adds to the high-level kicking abilities to make it three East Fremantle prospects among the midfield group. He displayed his class in last year’s Under 17 All Stars showcase, and is joined on the opposite wing by Judd McVee, a bottom-aged small who has that classic burst out of the stoppages and may feature on the inside.


FORWARD

HF – Joel Western (Claremont), Shannon Neale (South Fremantle), Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder)
FF – Owen Dann (East Fremantle), Logan McDonald (Perth), Ira Jetta (South Fremantle)

There is plenty of versatility among the proposed West Australian forward group, with two genuine talls again slotting into key position spots, while each of the smaller options can also rotate through different roles. Among them, Joel Western is an exciting prospect who is part of Fremantle’s NGA and can rotate through the midfield, credit to his freakish skills and evasiveness.

Ira Jetta is another small who can also double as a midfielder at the Under 18 level, but has terrific goal sense and fills a spot up forward here. Owen Dann takes up the other pocket but can be thrown into defence, while Peel Thunder’s Isiah Winder slots in at half-forward – a player who catches the eye, and yet another sub-180cm mover who can shuffle further afield.

Logan McDonald is one of the leading key position prospects in the national talent pool and is simply a lock at full forward, having already represented the Black Ducks at Under 18 level in 2019. His athleticism, clean hands, and contested marking will put WA in good stead and he has grown to true key position height at 195cm. Shannon Neale, another late bloomer will rotate between the ruck and forwardline, able to compete in the air while also possessing good athletic traits at 200cm.

The flexibility of the side as a whole is stamped with that of the forward six here, with each player both versatile in their respective positions while being able to double in separate roles. With a couple of solid talls to help the smalls crumb, this group could also produce a handy highlight reel.


INTERCHANGE

INT – Luke Polson* (Peel Thunder), Kade Dittmar* (East Perth), Kellen Johnson (West Perth), Tyler Nesbitt (Peel Thunder)

A pair of bottom-agers head our interchange, which was a typically difficult one to whittle down. Luke Polson is a 195cm ruck/forward who can provide depth on either line, while Kade Dittmar is a hard-working and physical midfielder with a booming kick and the ability to play elsewhere if required. Polson’s Peel Thunder teammate Tyler Nesbitt rounds out the 22 alongside fellow top-age academy member Kellen Johnson, both medium-sized prospects who may feature at either end of the ground.


SQUAD DEPTH

There is a good amount of bottom-age depth in the West Australian ranks, and some top-agers outside of the AFL Academy bubble who could push their case for selection. Jack Hindle is the only top-age academy member to miss out on our 22, but will likely rotate through the side. Chris Walker, the twin brother of Brandon is another who may be thereabouts, while Jamison Ugle is a speedy type who could garner attention along with Subiaco’s Tyler Brockman as forward options. Talented 199cm ruck/forward Michael Mallard had a decent Under 16 campaign for WA, and is already a known quantity if selectors are looking for even more key position depth.

In terms of those eligible for the 2021 draft who feature in the academy hub, Max Chipper is a classy midfielder from the stacked Swan Districts squad. Matthew Johnson is a tall but raw prospect who can also play forward, and Mitchell Brown is another midfield option who may put his hand up. Rounding out the crop is Claremont’s Jacob van Rooyen and Richard Bartlett, both of whom featured for the Black Ducks in last year’s Under 16 national carnival.

Picture: Michael Farnell – Sports Imagery Australia

>> READ UP ON THE 2020 WA U18s:
>> 2019 WAFL Colts Content

AFL Draft Watch:

Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll

Marquee Matchups:

Denver Grainger-Barras vs. Kaine Baldwin

Positional Analysis:

Key Forwards

Bulldogs dominate AFLW Awards

SOME of the league’s most aggressive football players rolled up to the AFLW Awards almost unrecognisable. Hair done, tanned and frocked up, the players were recognised following the conclusion of a memorable AFLW season. The Western Bulldogs were the big winners on the night, taking home plenty of awards after their inaugural AFLW premiership.

AFLW Premiers

Western Bulldogs 4.3 (27) def. Brisbane 3.3 (21)

The Bulldogs premiership side was recognised on stage for their efforts against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday. Ellie Blackburn captained the side on the day and was the leading disposal-getter for the Dogs with 17. Captain, Katie Brennan missed the game due to suspension, but it did not seem to faze the Dogs, who got home by a goal. Coached by Paul Groves, the Bulldogs toughed it out in wet conditions and took home the premiership cup.

AFLW Grand Final Best on Ground award

Former Calder Cannon, Monique Conti was the star of the Bulldogs’ premiership win. Conti kicked an important goal in the third quarter to extend the Dogs’ lead and also racked up 13 disposals. After being a part of the Melbourne Boomers, who were runners-up of the WNBL grand final, Conti got straight into business in the red, white and blue. The 18 year-old was also a Rising Star nominee after a consistent year for the Dogs.

AFL Women’s Rising Star Award

No surprises here, with Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy taking home the Rising Star award. Molloy revolutionised her game this year, after being the TAC Cup Girls leading goalkicker last year. The 19 year-old took her forward prowess into the backline and looked right at home, marking everything that came her way and clearing the ball out of congestion with ease. The former Calder Cannon polled 50 votes after averaging 14 disposals this season.

AFL Women’s Best and Fairest Trophy

Western Bulldogs star midfielder Emma Kearney took home the AFL Women’s Best and Fairest trophy after a wonderful year for the red, white and blue. She led Molloy and GWS’ Courtney Gum by two votes, but polled three votes in the final round to take home the coveted medal. She finished on 14 votes while Molloy, Gum and Fremantle’s Dana Hooker all finished equal second on nine votes. After playing cricket in the summer, Kearney pulled on the footy and averaged a remarkable 19 disposals this year.

AFL Women’s Leading Goalkicker award

Western Bulldogs gun forward Brooke Lochland earned the women’s leading goalkicker award. Upon getting up on stage, she walked right past her medal but had it wrapped around her neck soon after. Lochland’s seven-goal performance against Carlton put her well in front of the pack, and in the process, she set a record, scoring the most goals in one game by an AFLW player. The former ice-skater kicked a goal in five of the seven home and away matches this year.

AFLW Mark of the Year

Carlton’s Tayla Harris only took one game to make her presence known in navy blue. The former Brisbane forward took a courageous goal-line mark against Collingwood in round one to take home the AFLW Mark of the Year. She soared over Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy and landed flat on her back after having all eyes on the ball. Teammate Darcy Vescio won the award last year, making it two from two for the Blues.

AFLW Goal of the Year

Aliesha Newman’s running goal in round two earned her the AFLW Goal of the Year. The Melbourne forward accelerated past Adelaide’s Talia Radan at Casey Fields to kick a memorable major. The former soccer player used her incredible foot skills to slot the goal through on the outside of her boot. Crows co-captain, Erin Phillips won the award last year.

AFL Women’s All-Australian team

Four Western Bulldogs received All-Australian honours after their premiership win on Saturday. Defender, Hannah Scott and Lochland were named for the first time while midfielders, Blackburn and Kearney became dual All-Australians. Molloy rounded off a great night with All-Australian honours and was joined by teammate, Christina Bernardi. Adelaide’s Chelsea Randall was named as the centre half-back and also received the captaincy honours while Melbourne midfielder, Daisy Pearce was named vice-captain. GWS fared well in the midfield with Gum and Alicia Eva receiving spots. Brisbane had two players in the forward line with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner each being selected as goalkickers.

FB: C.Molloy (Coll), K. Lutkins (Bris)

HB: H. Scott (WB), C. Randall (Adel), E. Antonio (Frem)

C: D. Hooker (Frem), E. Kearney (WB), A. Eva (GWS)

HF: E. O’Dea (Melb), S. Frederick-Traub (BL), B. Lochland (WB)

FF: J. Wuetschner (Bris), C. Bernardi (Coll)

FOLL: E. McKinnon (GWS), C. Gum (GWS), D. Pearce (Melb)

I/C: E. Bates (Bris), T. Harris (Carl), K. Paxman (Melb), E. Blackburn (WB), M. Downie (Melb)

Captain: Chelsea Randall
Vice-captain: Daisy Pearce

2017 Under 18 All-Australia team announced

THE Under 18 Championships have come and gone, with Vic Metro claiming back-to-back titles after winning three of their four games.

In no surprise, Metro dominate the 23-man squad, headlined by possible no.1 pick Cameron Rayner who is one of nine Metro players included.

West Australia key forward Oscar Allen, the winner of the Larke Medal for the best player in Division 1, was named up forward.

Sydney Swans academy member Nick Blakey won the Hunter Harrison Medal for the best player in the Under 18 Academy Series (Formerly Division 2), but didn’t feature in the 23-man squad.

Vic Metro coach Martin Allison was named as the All-Australia coach, with Western Australia coach Peter Sumich named as his assistant.

DEFENDERS:

Ben Paton
Back pocket (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
19/10/1998 | 185cm | 78kg

Averaged 18 disposals, four marks and four rebound 50s per game playing as a small defender. Uses the ball well by foot and was often tasked with the kick out duties.

Oscar Clavarino
Full back (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
22/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

Has a solid carnival in defence for Vic Country averaging 11 disposals and six marks. Clavarino took the opposition best forward in most games and has had two good seasons in the Under 18 Championships.

Sam Taylor
Back pocket (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
05/05/1999 | 196cm | 85kg

The AFL Academy member played as a lock-down defender who was an unsung hero for WA. Averaged just 11 disposals, but had three rebounds per game pushing his name into draft contention.

Charlie Constable
Half back flank (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

Constable was one of Vic Metro’s best in the carnival and despite missing out on selection in their first game, managed to average 26 disposals, five marks and three tackles. He announced himself as a genuine top 10 with 31 disposals, six marks and six inside 50s in the ‘Vic derby’ playing in the midfield and across half forward.

Aaron Naughton
Centre half back (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
30/11/1999 | 194cm | 84kg

Rebounding tall defender who was a good user on his left foot. Naughton took 21 marks for the carnival and was the rock in defence alongside Sam Taylor. Was WAs co-captain alongside Oscar Allen.

Nicholas Coffield
Half back flank (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

A player who has pushed into top 10 calculations after a strong carnival. Coffield averaged 22 disposals and four marks, rarely looking rushed with ball in hand in the defensive half. One of the better users in the draft by hand and foot.

MIDFIELDERS:

Brayden Crossley
Ruckman (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
16/08/1999 | 198cm | 105kg

The big Gold Coast Suns Academy ruckman was the MVP for the Allies, averaging 16 disposals and 27 hitouts from his three games. Crossley’s strength in the ruck is obvious and he hasn’t looked out of place in the NEAFL team for the Suns.

Cameron Rayner
Ruck rover (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 187cm | 88kg

One of the players who were stiff not to win the Larke Medal. Rayner averaged 18 disposals (11 contested), four clearances and booted 12 goals in an impressive carnival. Rayner wasn’t afraid to throw out a ‘don’t argue’ to his opponents and had some impressive moments during the carnival.

Paddy Dow
Rover (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 184cm | 78kg

Showed off his elite speed bursting from the stoppages on multiple occasions, averaging 19 disposals (12 contested) and five clearances in an impressive showing in the midfield. Did his top 10 chances no harm.

Patrick Naish
Wing (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 180cm | 69kg

The Richmond father-son averaged 21 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s for the carnival and provided run & dash out of defence on multiple occasions for Metro. One of the better players in the ‘Vic derby’ with 24 disposals, nine marks and two goals at Punt Road.

Brayden Ainsworth
Centre (Subiaco/Western Australia)
27/11/1998 | 183cm | 75kg

The inside midfielder won 49% of his possessions in contested situations, averaging 24 disposals and six clearances throughout the carnival. Started the carnival off with a bang, collecting 26 disposals and eight clearances against South Australia in their golden-point victory.

Izak Rankine
Wing (West Adelaide/South Australia)
23/04/2000 | 178cm | 74kg

The small forward caught the eye of the recruiters using his speed and elite side-step to good use. Rankine averaged 19 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s – kicking six goals for the carnival. The bottom-ager is one to watch for the 2018 draft.

FORWARDS:

Zac Bailey
Half forward flank (Southern Districts/Allies)
23/09/1999 | 180cm | 68kg

Bailey has a great burst of speed and the Northern Territory midfielder averaged 17 disposals, four tackles and three clearances per game. Bailey’s burst from the centre bounce to win the final clearance in the last few minutes against Vic Metro was a key reason for their unexpected victory.

Jarrod Brander
Centre half forward (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 195cm | 90kg

Spent time at either end throughout the carnival but finished with a breakout 16 disposal, nine marks and three goals game up forward against title winning Vic Metro.

Jack Higgins
Half forward flank (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 178cm | 76kg

Higgins was the only player to break the 100 disposal barrier, finishing with 109 disposals (53 contested) in the carnival. Higgins was a deserving MVP for Vic Metro, going close to the Larke Medal. Higgins also averaged six tackles, five clearances and booted six goals for the tournament showing his skill as a player likely to be taken in the backend of the first round.

Callum Coleman-Jones
Forward pocket (Sturt/South Australia)
13/06/1999 | 201cm | 98kg

Coleman-Jones averaged 19 hitouts per game, with a breakout 28 disposal, 15 hitouts and five marks game against the Allies in Round 2. Coleman-Jones is one of the stronger marks in the draft pool.

Oscar Allen
Full forward (West Perth/Western Australia)
19/03/1999 | 191cm | 83kg

The key forward looms as the likely first West Australian prospect drafted. Allen won the Larke Medal as the best player in Division One, booting 11 goals for the carnival. Allen also averaged 15 disposals and six marks, as an overall deserving Larke Medalist.

Dylan Moore
Forward pocket (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/08/1999 | 175cm | 66kg

The small midfielder cracked in hard, winning plenty of contested ball, rolling through the Vic Metro centre bounces. Moore had 92 disposals (45 contested) for the carnival and booted three goals.

INTERCHANGE:

Sam Hayes
Interchange (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
09/06/1999 | 203cm | 93kg

The Vic Metro ruckman becomes a dual U18 All-Australian. Hayes averaged 17 hitouts per game and booted four goals up forward. Also took 14 marks for the carnival and showed his versatility up forward.

Lachlan Fogarty
Interchange (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
01/04/1999 | 179cm | 75kg

The half forward/midfielder missed the opening game of the carnival recovering from a groin injury. Fogarty averaged 19 disposals and a goal throughout the championships, using his smarts around the ground.

Harrison Petty
Interchange (Norwood/South Australia)
12/11/1999 | 194cm | 81kg

One of the more impressive players in the carnival, winning the South Australian MVP. Petty averaged 12 disposals and four marks, with his best performance coming against Vic Metro lining up on Will Sutherland with Petty having 18 disposals, seven marks and six inside 50s.

James Worpel
Interchange (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
24/01/1999 | 185cm | 84kg

Was the Vic Country MVP averaging 20 disposals (10 contested), four clearances and four inside 50s for the carnival. Was the leading tackler for the carnival with 33 tackles in his four games.

Joel Garner
Interchange (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 183cm | 81kg

The Vic Metro captain had a superb carnival despite battling an ankle injury in their third game. Garner averaged 16 disposals with 48 per cent of these in contested situations. Garner controlled the play in the defensive half, with a standout performance in the ‘Vic derby’ with 24 disposals, nine marks and six rebound 50s.