NEXT up in our NAB League Girls team review series are the Western Jets, a squad with plenty of promising prospects for the future and solid top-agers to boot. We recap the Jets’ season, and take a look at some of the top performers across the various age groups.
A largely competitive side throughout the season, Western was able to translate that form into three wins on the board in 2021. The Jets opened their account with a Round 4 victory over Murray Bushrangers in a performance which yielded their highest total score to that point. Another two losses came before their next win, a thrilling one-point triumph over Sandringham in wet and windy enemy territory. They remained competitive against the finals-bound Calder Cannons, before capping off the campaign with a third victory, against Bendigo Pioneers. In a sign of great growth, Western notched its highest total in that final outing.
DRAFT-ELIGIBLE TOP PERFORMERS:
Stephanie Asciak | Midfielder
18/09/2003 | 163cm
A consistent midfielder who has gone on to gain VFLW experience with the Western Bulldogs, Asciak was a key cog in the Jets’ engine room throughout 2021. She only twice fell below 11 disposals and managed to maintain a solid standard of performance, extracting on the inside and looking to put her side on the front foot. Asciak also worked hard on the defensive end, getting her hands dirty with an average of 3.4 tackles per game.
Caitlin Sargent | Key Forward
22/12/2003 | 172cm
A forward target who can be dominant on her day, Sargent found the goals in five of her eight outings in 2021 and capped off her year with a bag of four against Bendigo. The 172cm talent boasts terrific hands overhead and, needless to add, marks the ball well in contested situations. She seemed to gain confidence as the season wore on and finished four majors clear atop Western’s final goalkicking charts.
Jemima Woods | Tall Forward/Utility
28/05/2003 | 174cm
Woods is a wonderfully dynamic footballer with eye-catching athleticism and clean hands, traits which allowed her to fluently mix time between the forwardline and midfield. She finished second in Western’s goalkicking count with four majors, and averaged a tick over 12 touches per game as an impactful player forward of centre. Along with Sargent and Asciak, Woods is another who benefitted from gaining VFLW experience.
FUTURE ONES TO WATCH:
Charlotte Baskaran | Midfielder
9/12/2004 | 162cm
Already one of her side’s best and most consistent assets, Baskaran thrived with a more permanent move into midfield this year. She led the Jets for disposals, kicks, tackles, and inside 50s in 2021 having been among their best players in just about every game. The classy ball user also won berths in the Vic Metro Under 17 and 19 representative squads, with her talent already at the top-end with another season of NAB League to play.
Montana Ham | Midfielder/Forward
29/03/2004 | 178cm
Potentially the best player for next year’s draft at this early stage, Ham was a dominant force for the Jets with her contested ball winning and aerial prowess. Her mix of strength and athleticism is deadly, allowing her to make a major mark both at the stoppages and around the ground with penetrative play and plenty of upside to be met. She was not far behind Baskaran across a range of stats, and also turned out for Vic Metro at Under 19 level.
Krystal Russell | Ruck
22/09/2004 | 179cm
Another dominant type credit to her size and ability to impose on the contest, Russell lead the league for hitouts by the end of the regular season. Her average of 23.8 per game points towards good knowledge of the ruck craft, and Russell was an important part of the Jets’ side given the guns they have to utilise in midfield. She will inevitably be vital in that role once again, next season.
Down back, over-ager Ciara Singleton was a good influence in the air, with skipper Leah Spargo a cool and competitive charger at ground level. The likes of Kiera Leare and Paige Ryan were also productive members of the side, with Trinity Skenderis a favourite on the inside of midfield. Kiera Whiley is among the 2005-births to watch, as she shone on the wing.