Tag: Peel Thunder

2022 AFLW Draft – Teams to Watch: Peel Thunder

IN a new series looking towards the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft, we take a look at some teams that have outstanding prospects who showed plenty of promise in their bottom-age years to suggest the team might have plenty of potential for the next season. We continue with Peel Thunder, who have been a hotbed of talent the last few years, and remain one of the most exciting West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s sides.

KEY PLAYERS:

Ella Roberts
Tall Forward
17/12/2004 | 175cm

Set to be the most talked about prospect coming into 2022, with the talented forward already picking up her state and overall carnival Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. Already a dual premiership player – winning the first grand final off her own boot with crucial goals and then becoming such a crucial player in the Thunder side she was tagged most weeks – Roberts is a readymade talent who can impressive in many different ways. Strong overhead, athletic and just as fierce on the ground, Roberts has a terrific balance of offensive and defensive traits. Having no issues finding the ball – picking up 31 disposals in one game at the championships playing as a high half-forward – Roberts will remain an exciting talent to watch, week-in, week-out.

Aisha Wright
Small Forward/Midfielder
06/08/2004 | 157cm

Playing all three games for Western Australia at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Wright is a raw, but exciting prospect. Able to play predominantly as a high half-forward who can roll into the midfield and provide some hardness, she is a player who likes to take on the opposition and put the ball inside 50 to dangerous places. She averaged 11.3 disposals and 4.0 inside 50s at her bottom-age championships, booting a goal and catching the eye with some impressive plays. Whilst still building areas of her game to become a more complete player, Wright is one who has some exciting athletic traits and could be even more damaging when she is able to lift her accumulation. Her work rate up and down the ground is great, and she is always looking to present as an option.

Gracie Fenton
Balanced Midfielder
03/06/2004 | 165cm

Might not have made the Under 19s squad, but the consistent midfielder has been plying her trade in the WAFLW and gaining great state league experience. A readymade body who is not afraid to cop contact, Fenton was a class above with her ball-winning skills and impact on the game at the Under 17s Championships. Often winning it in close, Fenton had 24 and 22 disposals in the two State Academy games, and more importantly showed she could roll back into defence – picking up three rebound 50s in one game – and push forward with five inside 50s in the other. Capable of playing inside or out, Fenton is no stranger to winning the pill and had 18 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s as the receiver going forward.

TOP-AGE PROSPECT:

Bella Mann
Medium Utility
16/08/2003 | 171cm

One of a number of West Australians in contention, Mann was unlucky to miss out and with another big preseason behind her, could be one to watch in 2022. Capable of playing anywhere on the field, Mann seemed to settle into defence, strong one-on-one and able to be accountable, whilst providing some offensive drive. She is a good size at 171cm and can match most players for strength, able to play on talls or smalls which makes her a versatile defender.

OTHERS:

Two other players made the Under 19s West Australian squad, with Emily Gunton being another highly-talented prospect and good size at 171cm. Averaging the 4.7 disposals and 3.7 tackles at the championships, the bottom-ager showed some good promising signs, mostly playing Rogers Cup this season (12 games). Naomi Wilson was named in the squad, but the ruck unfortunately did not end up playing a game, only playing three Rogers Cup games early in the season. From the Under 17s Championships cohort, there are four more players still two drafts away from being picked up, and a further two remarkably 2006-born talents. Jordain Thompson averaged the most at the carnival with 12 disposals in both games, while Cierra O’Donnell, Jade Mead and Tessa Liddington also played as 2023 AFLW Draft prospects. Jorja Haines is a 2006-born talent but had a couple of impressive outing, averaging 16.5 disposals and 3.5 clearances across the two matches, while Holly Britton is another name to keep an eye out for in the future.

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 13 – East Fremantle vs. Peel Thunder

PEEL Thunder pulled off a memorable upset over East Fremantle on Saturday morning, coming from behind at each break to snatch victory within the last 90 seconds, 9.8 (62) to 7.16 (58).

The inaccurate Sharks were made to pay for their inability to shut the door on Peel, with their early control of the territory, midfield and scoring shot domination counting for little as they fell behind at the last hurdle.

16-year-old Koen Sanchez had the chance to win back the points for East Freo with a flying shot in the last 30 seconds, but pulled it wide to seal the result in soggy conditions at New Choice Homes Park.

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 13.

SCOUTING NOTES

East Fremantle 7.16 (58) def. by Peel Thunder 9.8 (62)

East Fremantle:

#2 Koen Sanchez

The 2005-born talent is an exciting prospect for the future, and started brightly in his latest WAFL Colts outing. Sanchez was stationed out on the wing and provided really good drive between the arcs, running hard and proving a quick thinker in possession. He unfortunately put wide a game-winning opportunity in the last 30 seconds, but it was a decent effort on the fly from the 16-year-old.

#4 Jed Hagan

Hagan was another who started well, contributing the first two scores of the game – albeit both behinds. As a permanent fixture in midfield, the bottom-ager was wonderfully clean below his knees and clever at the contest, able to win the ball at will and draw free kicks under pressure. He again found plenty of the ball with 26 disposals, working to all areas of the ground with smooth movement and slick ball use. Looks a dead ringer for recent North Melbourne draftee, Will Phillips.

#6 Josh Browne

As he so often does, Browne finished Saturday’s game as the clear leading ball winner, racking up 33 disposals and looking particularly ominous in the first half. He was the go-to midfielder at stoppages, often able to get first hands on the ball and move it on cleanly by hand. His quick clearing kicks were less effective and not quite penetrative, but Browne consistently got his hands on the ball and corrected some of those deficiencies. After spurning a set shot opportunity in term two, he straightened up to slot one home in the following quarter.

#7 Judd McVee

One of the more polished players afield, McVee was able to display his smooth movement on the rebound off half-back. He positioned well to intercept across the backline, before distributing nicely by foot. His composure on the ball pointed towards great class, and there were a couple of instances where McVee spun out of tight spots or sold candy to keep the play moving fluently.

#8 Taj Woewodin

The Melbourne father-son hopeful was another of East Fremantle’s prolific ball winners, providing good drive out of the engine room. He often received the ball facing forward, or had momentum going that way, which he continued with his carry and capped off with clean kicks. He began to find more of the ball away from the contest after half time and snuck forward to drill through a terrific goal in the final term.

#19 Richard Bartlett

In his first WAFL Colts outing for the season, Bartlett showed some promise and class in the front half. The Fremantle NGA prospect has slick hands and a punchy kind of kick, which he used to get creative at half-forward. He presented well and took a couple of clean overhead marks, but mostly caught the eye with his goal at the start of the fourth term. He had also kicked one in the second quarter but missed another late set shot chance and even gave a couple off.

#22 Jack Cleaver

14 disposals and six marks do not quite do justice to the mark Cleaver made at half-back, with his no-frills kind of approach proving important in the defensive half. The solidly built bottom-ager was exactly that – solid – as he saw most of his possessions on the defensive side of the corridor where he looked to distribute with short kicks. While there was nothing spectacular about his game, Cleaver played his role well and was handy in most departments.

#25 Jack Williams

Spending more time in the ruck than usual, Williams had his work cut out for him but still managed to put up good numbers with 17 disposals, five marks, 18 hitouts and 1.2 on the scoreboard. The versatile tall prospect was shrewd with his ruck bodywork and just as clever in his ability to peel off after initial forward marking contests. He showed this on two occasions, with both breaks leading to set shot opportunities and the first resulting in a goal. He was typically assured in the air, but could be a touch stronger when bodied in contests.

Peel Thunder:

#7 Byron Finch

Finch popped up to be one of Peel’s best midfielders in crucial moments, including a couple of centre bounce breaks during term four. He also came up clutch with the game-winning goal with 90 seconds left on the clock, winning a free kick inside 50 before coolly converting. With crafty movement and foot skills, Finch impacted both at the fall of the ball and coming away from the contest.

#8 Brady Hough

Hough spent plenty of time forward before shifting back into midfield, proving another who stood up in the tough moments. He provided Jackson Klepzig with the game’s first goal, breaking over the back in transition and kicking long inside 50. He really started to get going after half time, helping Peel shift into attack with positive forward carry. The state Under 19 squad member lifted his urgency late on, breaking tackles and looking to move inside 50 quickly.

#23 Luke Polson

The mobile tall again rotated into the ruck from his key forward post, moving well in both roles and taking the game on with vigour for a player of his stature. Polson looked ominous in the early-goings with a solid mark and shot on goal, but popped up for more moment- type plays as the game wore on. He was not afraid to back his athleticism to burn opponents or move through traffic, and his effort to break multiple tackles led to Blake Offer’s important fourth term goal.

#24 Blake Offer

Offer was the most effective key forward afield in terms of scoreboard impact, booting a game-high three goals with each of them coming in different terms. He got on the board with two set shots in the opening half, and snapped a clutch goal in the final quarter to help draw Peel back within two goals. His clean finishing proved key to the Thunder’s comeback victory as East Fremantle faltered.

#28 Jackson Broadbent

The bottom-aged tall showed some nice signs throughout the match, using his height advantage well in the ruck and hitting to dangerous zones at stoppages. He won a game-high 24 hitouts, competing plenty against highly touted Sharks prospect, Jack Williams. Broadbent only notched eight disposals and spend a good amount of time forward, but did his best work in the ruck.

#30 Jarrad McIlvinney

Another of Peel’s state Under 19 squad members, McIlvinney was strong in his usual defensive post and did most of his best work aerially. He took four marks for the day, winning one-on-ones inside defensive 50 and using his reach to advantage to pluck the ball at high points.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Subiaco earned a thumping 70-point win over Perth to open the round, with leading Lions prospect Matthew Johnson notching 28 disposals, nine marks, 10 tackles and a goal. Jed Kemp (33 disposals) was also prominent, while Jacob Evitt (23 disposals, two goals) and Ezekiel Bolton (22 and three) found plenty of the ball and the goals.

East Perth’s push for top spot continued with a 19-point win over West Perth on the road, spearheaded once again by rising prospect Jye Amiss. The prolific key forward booted four goals, while the likes of Kalani Brooks (27 disposals) and James Tunstill (19 disposals, two goals) were also productive. Falcons skipper Luke Reilly was his side’s leading ball winner with 23 touches, trailed by versatile tall Kane Bevan (20) as Darcy Dixon (19 disposals, two goals) and the returning Lochlan Paton (19 disposals, six tackles) also stood up.

Claremont were the other big winners in Round 14, trouncing South Fremantle to the tune of 68 points away from home. Small forward Jahmal Stretch booted four goals to prove his credentials as a state squad member, as ball winners Angus Sheldrick (28 disposals) and Talon Delacey (22, one goal) went to work. Caleb Stephens was again prolific for the Bulldogs, winning a game-high 29 touches and snagging a goal.

A few Colts guns were also sighted at League level, headlined by the debut of East Fremantle midfielder Corey Warner. The brother of Chad managed 14 disposals and five marks in his maiden outing, making for a solid start to his senior career. Claremont forward Jacob Van Rooyen made another appearance as the Tigers lost to South Fremantle by a point, while Fremantle NGA prospect Jesse Motlop kicked a goal for the Bulldogs’ Reserves.

Big-bodied East Perth midfielder Kade Dittmar was also sighted in the seconds, collecting 29 disposals and laying five tackles as the Royals downed West Perth.

Image Credit: Phil Elliott/Justin Elliott (Pixell Photography) via East Fremantle Football Club

Academy Watch: WAFLW Grand Final – Peel Thunder vs. Swan Districts

PEEL Thunder claimed their second successive flag with a memorable 5.6 (36) to 2.3 (15) win over Swan Districts on Sunday. Whilst plenty of AFL Women’s talent stood up, we took a look at how some of the State Academy members performed from both sides. Note: Any statistics cited are manually taken. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

PEEL THUNDER:

#5 Gracie Fenton

The youngster found a heap of the ball throughout the game, working hard in close and using it by hand or foot to extract it from the stoppages. At times she was rushed and under pressure, but she was able to amass the most touches of any of the Under 19s or Under 17s players, picking up 18 disposals, with three marks and three inside 50s. Whilst the experience around her found plenty of it, Fenton did not look overawed on the big stage and showed some promising signs for the future.

#8 Ella Roberts

A young talent in the making shoed a lot of promising plays. Her ability to run through traffic, does the job for her team, picks the ball up runs and kicks it inside her teams’ advantage 50, that results as a set shot on goal. Great performance very early into the game, used her speed and her control including her football smarts to kick it over into grass to let her teammates run onto it. Four minutes left in the first term; Roberts struggles to hold onto the mark but can always keep tracking the ball to make sure she keeps it in her teams’ possession. She provided great tackling pressure creating ball ups giving her team time to set up.

Almost kicking a goal, she showed her smarts by turning and snapping but just missing. Ten and a half minutes into the second term, Roberts just misses the mark but straight away and turns and picks it up nicely and runs and carries, takes one bounce only just going her way, right kick inside 50 but Jaime Henry was too good and intercepted the mark for her team. Beautiful set of hands from a kick from teammate Sabreena Duffy, goes for a goal from 30m out and just misses. Roberts has been consistent, and her intensity was outstanding throughout all four quarters.

#20 Jaide Britton

In the second term, Britton drove the ball deep from a smart quick run and carry, something she did on numerous occasions throughout the game. Whilst not having a heap of it, Britton did enough up with about eight kicks, a couple of marks and three inside 50s to keep the ball moving in transition and the Swan Districts defence under pressure. The Under 19s State Academy captain worked hard throughout the four quarters and continued to remain an option providing good metres gained.

#24 Aisha Wright

Had a promising game to finish with 11 disposals, three marks and an inside 50. In one instant she had a great handball out into space to teammate that gives them a clear inside 50. She buzzed around the half-forward line and always looked lively, working hard as an attacking player looking to go forward.

#40 Beth Schilling

Helped chop out in the ruck and competed well against Under 19s teammate Sarah Lakay. Had the four touches, two marks, two tackles and seven hitouts for the match, breaking even in her one-on-ones.

SWAN DISTRICTS:

#2 Tara Stribley

Had an early impression four minutes in the first term, out in the open 40m out and goes to the right as a behind. The wind impacted that shot for goal, but the wing showed plenty of run throughout the match. Whilst she did not always win a heap of the ball, she provided good spacing and had some nice touches late in the game, often getting around the contest.

#3 Dana East

Not her most prolific game but still had some important clearances and tackles, finishing with nine disposals, two clearances and three tackles. She worked hard throughout and rotated through the middle, having less time and space than in some games.

#12 Melisha Hardy

Hardy provided a number of smart handballs to clear the ball out into space to teammates. She marked on the chest from a kick outside of their 50m and she sends it back in there as quick as she can without wasting time. She also showed off her game smarts by rarely ever turning the ball over when she has it in her hands.

#13 Jaime Henry

Read the play very well, from a kick inside 50m from Ella Roberts on the opposition team, Henry read the play and intercepted the mark that would have saved her team from the opposition getting a goal. The important third quarter with 10 minutes remaining, Henry took the ball and opposition on with dodging and weaving through two players and kicks it to Mikayla Hyde through the middle of the ground. After a quieter start, Henry had a productive 13 disposals, three marks and four rebound 50s, having to often battle against Kira Phillips.

#14 Abbygail Bushby

Had some quick disposals throughout the game and won a 50m in range of the goals, however moved the ball too fast and low and kicked onto the player on the mark. She finished with seven touches for the game and showed some good signs for the coming years.

#22 Kloe Taylor

Showcasing her speed and skill, at one stage Taylor won it out of the middle and went for a run, with a quick kick inside their 50 that gave the Swans a chance on goal. Laid three tackles and had a couple of inside 50s to go with her five kicks.

#33 Sarah Lakay

Lakay was a very dominant tap ruck throughout the game. Early in the second term, Lakay wrapped up an opponent and won a free kick. Getting the free kick early in the second term, she showed she is not only good at rucking, but also very good at ground level as well. The standout ruck on the ground with nine disposals, three marks, 16 hitouts and two inside 50s. One of the better Swans players in the first half of the match.

 

Picture credit: WAFL

Peel Thunders to back-to-back WAFL Women’s flags

PEEL Thunder have added another chapter in their resurrection story, backing up their fairytale maiden premiership in 2020 with a second consecutive West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s flag. The Thunder defeated Swan Districts by 21 points in the decider, accounting for the minor premiers for the third time in six weeks, with a fourth quarter flurry of two goals to zero securing the win. Fremantle AFL Women’s talent Sabreena Duffy won the Lou Knitter Medal for best on ground in the Thunder’s triumph.

In one of the more strange scoring trends, the first four goals of the match went into the breeze, before the final three went the way of the wind-assisted team. Key targets inside 50 Kira Phillips and Kate Bartlett slotted all five majors for the Thunder, as Peel had the majority of the play for the day, though it was the defence, combined with the midfield work of Duffy and Sarah Verrier that saw the home team get up and claim their second consecutive flag.

Bartlett slotted her first just 90 seconds into the game, winning a free kick for too much holding on and made no mistake from just outside the goalsquare. Despite having the two weeks off due to the bye and then the state lockdown, Peel showed no signs of rustiness into the breeze, with Phillips shrugging off a tackle inside 50 and snapped around her body for her side’s second. Tara Stribley had her side’s best chance in between the two majors, but her kick which looked perfect off the boot showed just how strong the breeze was, violently tugged to the right for a behind. Fellow youngster Abbygail Bushby, and Swans captain Emily McGuire both had chances inside 50, with Bushby’s kick going into the player on the mark, and McGuire’s swaying out on the full.

Already the likes of Duffy and Bartlett were looking dangerous, with Ella Roberts competing hard but often having a defender wearing her at every contest. McGuire, Eliza Gelmi and Lauren Osborne were holding up well, restricting the Thunder to just four behinds with the breeze in the second term, as Bianca Webb returned serve on the reigning premiers with a set shot 25m out off a 50m penalty to stab home a goal. Roberts and Bartlett both had rushed chances but could not going on target, with Phillips’ shot in line with the behind post curling too thin.

Teenage talent Jaime Henry was tasked with the huge job on Phillips, but was far from overawed in the one-on-ones. The breeze was so tricky even the deadeye Roberts missed a set shot from 30m out with it tugged late and into the post. A late chance to Taylah Edwards inside 50 was marked safely in the square by Verrier, and the Thunder headed into half-time with a nine-point advantage.

Swan Districts had the breeze again and had several chances early, with Steph Cain and McGuire both having chances inside 50. Demi Liddle took a strong mark in the goalsquare and settled the team down on the last line, as the Thunder defence – along with Cassie Davidson and Tanisha Anderson – were continually intercepting and driving the ball down the field. McGuire’s chance also caught up in the breeze as she spent the quarter forward, and then Bartlett made it sting with a clever kick around her body one-on-one with Gelmi at the top of the quarter to extend the lead out to 14 points.

The final five minutes of the premiership quarter were spent in the Swans attacking half, as Mikayla Hyde began asserting herself inside 50 after a strong first half. She missed her first chance with a snap towards goal in the 14th minute, but then got goalside off a back and dribbled one home to cut the deficit back to seven points at the final break. It was the first goal with the breeze, and whilst the Swans were within striking distance, the Thunder now had the wind, and the home crowd to try and drive them home.

It did not take long for Phillips to match Bartlett with two majors, winning a fortunate free kick against a very unlucky Jess Cox in the tackle, to slot the set shot and extend the lead out to 13 points just three minutes into the final term. The final stanza was highly contested as both defences refused to yield, though the ball was exactly where Peel wanted it – in the Thunder’s forward half. Phillips was asserting herself on the contest with a massive contested grab midway through the quarter, but she kept the door ajar for the Swans with a miss to the left.

Off the subsequent kickout, Bartlett ran down an unsuspecting Aimee Ralph to earn a set shot, but that too missed, and the lead was out to 15 points. With the time winding down, Peel was able to really lock the ball inside the forward half for long periods of time, and as if it was a fitting exclamation mark on the win, a dangerous inside 50 from youngster Gracie Fenton put to the advantage of Phillips who snapped with the last kick of the day for a goal to seal the 21-point win, 5.6 (36) to 2.3 (15).

There was a great mix of youth and experience on show, with Duffy, Phillips and Bartlett clearly the three best on the ground, as Roberts looked dangerous at high half-forward, Verrier covering plenty of ground, and Davidson and Anderson in the back 50. Fenton found a heap of the ball through midfield, and whilst she did bite off more than she could chew at times, was willing to take the game on. For the Swans, Mikayla Hyde was a standout with Gelmi, Cain and McGuire all among the best, and Henry holding up in defence, and Stribley looking to run off limited chances. Sarah Lakay also really impressed in the opening half with her work through the ruck.

PEEL THUNDER 2.0 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 5.6 (36)
SWAN DISTRICTS 0.1 | 1.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:

Peel Thunder: K. Phillips 3, K. Bartlett 2.
Swan Districts: B. Webb, M. Hyde.

BEST:

Peel Thunder: S. Duffy, K. Phillips, K. Bartlett, E. Roberts, C. Davidson, S. Verrier
Swan Districts: M Hyde, T. Stribley, E. Gelmi, S. Cain, E. McGuire

 

Picture credit: WAFL

2021 WAFLW Grand Final Preview

SECOND time’s a charm in the WAFL Women’s, as Peel Thunder and Swan Districts are finally set to square off in this year’s Grand Final. Having been rescheduled from last week due to West Australia’s lockdown, Saturday afternoon’s decider will see crowds allowed in attendance to watch this season’s top two ranked sides battle it out for premiership glory.

We run you through all the key players, figures, and fixtures in our Grand Final preview.

2021 WAFLW GRAND FINAL

Peel Thunder vs. Swan Districts
Saturday June 11, 3:15pm
David Grays Arena, Mandurah

Records:
Peel – 2nd, 10-5, 154.64%
Swans – 1st 14-1, 211.83%

Finals:
Peel (1-0) – def. Swan Districts by 5
Swans (1-1) – def. by Peel Thunder by 5 | def. Subiaco by 38

Last 5:
Peel – 3-2
Swans – 3-2

2021 H2H:
Round 3 – Peel Thunder 5.8 (38) def. by Swan Districts 10.6 (66)
Round 11 – Swan Districts 6.6 (42) def. Peel Thunder 6.5 (41)
Round 14 – Peel Thunder 6.3 (39) def. Swan Districts 2.6 (18)
Finals Wk 1 – Swan Districts 0.11 (11) def. by Peel Thunder 2.4 (16)

Saturday’s clash marks the fifth time Peel and Swans have met in season 2021, with the ledger squared at 2-2. Swan Districts, the minor premiers, got the wood over the reigning premiers early with wins in Rounds 3 and 11, before the Thunder proved they could peak at the right team with redemptive victories in Round 14 and the first week of finals.

The latter result saw Peel advance straight to the big dance, with the club seeking to win consecutive premierships from second place. Meanwhile, Swans made good on their second chance, qualifying for the season’s final game after a 38-point win over Subiaco.

Looking at either sides’ last five outings, and the only blemish on Swans’ latest efforts have been made by their weekend opponents. In fact, the Black Ducks’ sole loss of the regular season came at the hands of Peel. The Thunder, also 3-2 over their last five games, have suffered those losses to fellow finalists Subiaco and Claremont. While the defending champions look ominous at their best, Leigh MatthewsPredator-inspired adage goes “if it bleeds, we can kill it” – and Swan Districts will likely have that in mind.

Both sides have also proven they can score big this year. Only confirming just how evenly matched they are, both finished the season with 716 points-for – almost 200 points more than the next best team. Needless to say, whichever set of forwards can better capitalise on their opportunities will have a massive say on this contest, though neither side can be counted out given the class afield and quick-scoring potential.

THE EXPERIENCE SPECTRUM

As has been the case all year, these two teams will be littered with players on both ends of the experience spectrum. AFLW-listed stars and Under 19 state squad members headline some of the high-end talent afield, making for intriguing team dynamics and versatile structures.

Peel boasts an all-Fremantle AFLW centreline, with star midfielder Sabreena Duffy at the heart of the side while Sarah Verrier and Katie Jayne Grieve line up on either wing. The extended Swans squad also features a trio of Dockers, namely Stephanie Cain (half-forward), Bianca Webb (rover), and Mikayla Hyde (wing). Brianna Hyde has been named on the opposite wing, as one of the many promising Under 19 state representatives to watch.

It is hard to look past Peel powerhouse Ella Roberts as the main event in that department, given she is already a proven finals match-winner at WAFLW level. The 16-year-old was also named her state’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) during this year’s national carnival, and will spearhead her side’s attack alongside Kate Bartlett. The speedy Aisha Wright has been named alongside Roberts at half-forward, while AFLW Draft Combine invitee Beth Schilling features on the interchange with Jaide Britton.

Bella Mann and Emily Gunton (both emergencies) are other youngsters to have rolled through the Thunder’s line-up, while All Australian midfielder Courtney Rowley is set to miss through injury. Tajah Griffiths, Jade Briggs, Naomi Wilson are Peel’s remaining Under 19 squad members to miss.

The Swans squad is littered with young talent, and bookended by Sarah Lakay (full forward) and Isabella Edgley (full back). Melisha Hardy and Nyra Anderson join Edgley in defence, while Dana East takes her spot in the centre in a tricky match-up with Duffy. The Under 19 crop is rounded out by Emma Nanut, Tara Stribley, and Naomi Barker, who will all hope to make the cut from a nine-player extended bench.

Image Credit: @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 12 – Peel Thunder vs. East Perth

EAST Perth solidified its second-place status in Round 12 of the WAFL Colts competition, defeating Peel Thunder by 52 points at David Grays Arena on Saturday morning. The Royals’ win was once again spearheaded by rising key forward prospect Jye Amiss, who booted a career-high seven majors to extend his lead atop the league’s goalkicking charts.

Peel started the better of the two sides, keeping East Perth goalless in the opening quarter and dominating the territory to open up a 20-point buffer with five minutes down in term two. That was where things quickly changed, as Amiss and Kaden Harbour each booted two goals within the next 10 minutes to give their side the lead. It ended up being a six-goal run for the Royals, who lead by 17 points at half-time.

The scrappy, fast-past contest began to open up after the main break, with both sides adding three majors in the third quarter. Amiss’ fourth conversion came right before the siren with a miraculous effort in the goalsquare, and East Perth carried that momentum into a one-sided final period. The Royals poured on five goals to nil to see out the game, making for a healthy 14.7 (91) to 6.3 (39) victory.

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 12.

SCOUTING NOTES

Peel Thunder 6.3 (39) def. by East Perth 14.7 (91)

Peel Thunder:

#2 Scott Tuia

The busy small midfielder was the best player afield in the first half, collecting 19 disposals and booting two goals by the main break. Tuia was able to drive forward with his bursts of speed from midfield, but had his momentum halted with some extra attention in the second half. He booted both of his goals in the opening quarter, the first two of the game overall, with a well-hit set shot and classy snap on his favoured left side. He ended up with 24 touches and four inside 50s on the back of his hot start.

#8 Brady Hough

The Under 19 state squad bolter built into the contest well for Peel, getting his hands on the ball and showing patches of his usually smooth movement. Hough was sighted a fair bit up forward in the first half but could not quite make good on his goal opportunities, before proving his class on both sides of midfield. The Peel standout’s best moment was a poised stop and prop at half-forward, before delivering a well-weighted pass to a leading target inside 50. He racked up nine of his team-high 27 disposals in the third term, having lifted amid East Perth’s dominant patch.

Others…

Peel had players who showed glimpses of form, but solidly-built defender Darcy Wills was one of his side’s more consistent performers. Jackson Broadbent won 24 hitouts in the ruck where he held his space well, while Ethan Donaghy and Kallian Levitt had their moments in possession, and Taj Wyburd got his hands dirty with 11 tackles.

East Perth:

#7 Jye Amiss

The standout key forward of this year’s competition went to another level on Saturday, booting a career-high seven goals to take his overall tally to 37 in nine games. It came after he was held statless in the opening quarter, hardly getting a look as Peel dominated. His fortunes turned in term two, as the Royals spearhead kicked two goals in quick succession to put his side in front, before adding majors on the half time and three-quarter time sirens. He capped his game beautifully with three goals in the final period, with his set shot conversion looking seamless. Amiss also displayed his clean hands and ability to work up the ground, with his laser-like left foot coming in handy there too. He enters top 25 calculations.

#16 Jake Littleton

Playing on both sides of midfield, Littleton was able to showcase a bit more of his inside game on Saturday with 21 disposals and six tackles in a solid outing. He played a key role during the second term as he was moved onto Peel’s Scott Tuia, who had 10 touches and two goals in the first 25 minutes. Littleton also found his own ball and pumped home a long-range goal on the end of a 50m penalty, proving reward for his effort.

#26 Kaden Harbour

In tandem with Amiss, Harbour was one who provided a real spark for East Perth during the second term, hitting the scoreboard with goals in quick succession. He finished well on those occasions, lurking in good spots and latching onto the ball in motion. His major in the following term showcased super pace, as Harbour was first to a ground ball in the pocket and sprinted into the goalsquare to nab a third.

#36 Kalani Brooks

Brooks ended up the leading ball winner on the ground with 30 disposals and he did so in rather unassuming fashion, with much of his work completed at the coalface. He showed clean hands in the clinches and was a handball-first kind of outlet, with 20 of his touches coming via that method. Brooks, who had previously played the entire season at Reserves level, used his mature body to advantage and helped East Perth get on top where it matters most.

Others…

James Tunstill was again terrific in midfield, winning 23 disposals and laying eight tackles as he tried his best to push the Royals forward. West Coast Next Generation Academy (NGA) member Sokaa Soka showcased his athleticism with 17 disposals and 28 hitouts, proving his work was far from completed away from the ruck contests. Max Riley was solid behind the ball with 16 disposals and seven marks, while Jayden Peak popped up to snare a couple of goals.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Ladder leader, Swan Districts remains clear in top spot after a comprehensive 80-point beating of Subiaco. Ayden Cartwright had a day out for the Swans, booting 5.3 from 27 disposals and eight marks, while fellow midfielder Ben Hewett snared three majors from 25 touches. The Swans engine room was strong, with Max Chipper (25 disposals) also running through there and Ty Sears (21) roaming the outer. Rhett Bazzo also got a rare Colts game in but was quiet by his standards, while first round prospect Matthew Johnson collected 16 touches for Subiaco.

Claremont jumped to third with its 20-point win over West Perth, with the Tigers making much better use of their equal amount of scoring shots. Kendyll Blurton put in a monster shift through Claremont’s midfield, racking up 31 disposals and six inside 50s, while Talon Delacey’s form continued with 26 touches. Bottom-agers Kane Bevan (17 disposals, six tackles) and Luke Michael (14 disposals, seven marks) featured well for the Falcons.

In the round’s final fixture, South Fremantle handed Perth a ninth-straight loss, saluting to the tune of 54 points. Bulldogs ball winner Caleb Stephens notched 34 disposals and seven inside 50s, while Chase Bourne was impressive with 27 touches and two goals. Regan Hill was solid for the Demons, finishing on 24 disposals and a goal.

Image Credit: Shazza J Photography/Peel Thunder

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.

WAFLW Player Focus: Ella Roberts (Peel Thunder)

PEEL Thunder prospect Ella Roberts is already a well known quantity, establishing herself at senior level in the Thunder’s 2020 premiership side, and earning her state’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at this year’s Under 19 National Championships. The 16-year-old is already a good size at 175cm and boasts rare talent, able to excel as a forward target or on-ball with her athleticism and clean hands.

Roberts has again proven a key figure at WAFLW level for Peel in 2021, with her side on the eve of a finals campaign as the second-ranked side. She turned it on early and battled through a knock to claim 25 disposals and a goal in the Thunder’s most recent outing, a loss against Claremont. We put her impressive Round 15 performance under the Player Focus microscope.

POCKET PROFILE

Ella Roberts
Peel Thunder/Western Australia

DOB: 17/12/2004
Height: 175cm
Position: Forward/Midfielder

Source: WAFL

2021 WAFLW, Round 15 | Claremont 6.5 (41) def. Peel Thunder 4.8 (32)

Player Focus: #8 Ella Roberts (Peel Thunder)

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1:

Starting in the near-permanent forward post she dominated throughout the day, Roberts was in ominous form during the opening quarter. She pressed high up the ground to present as Peel’s centre half-forward, making the best of whatever service she received with wickedly clean hands at ground level and combative intent.

The 16-year-old’s ability to swoop on the ball at speed, especially off the deck, and grab it cleanly was outstanding early on. She tried to manufacture space upon gathering but when opponents were on her hammer, she released quick handballs to keep Peel moving forward via outsider runners.

Her kicking at speed was outstanding, booting numerous passes inside 50 to the advantage of her forwards, who could not quite snaffle up a series of marks. In the air, she judged the ball beautifully and recovered best to be first to the loose pill.

Roberts capped her wonderful individual quarter with a highlight-reel goal, chasing up her own pass inside 50 to mop up off the ground, side-step a defender and blast the ball home from 40m for her side’s opening major.

It was no coincidence that Roberts’ most productive term also saw the Thunder sneak ahead at the first break, though the lead proved only momentary. The youngster finished with 12 disposals (six kicks, six handballs), a bunch of inside 50s and a brilliant goal.

Q2:

While she did not quite hit the heights of the previous quarter as Claremont began to get on top, Roberts still managed to move into all the right spots and compete with a magnificent air of confidence.

One of her best moments came at half-forward, where she sharked the ball from between a couple of less-assured Claremont defenders, before backing her pace and burning towards forward 50.

She was not afforded the same volume of opportunities in the front half, but still looked to link into attack and took her first mark of the day on the 50m arc, proving strong in the air despite heat from two opponents.

Roberts’ second term yielded four disposals (three kicks, one handball), one mark and two inside 50s.

Q3:

It is fair to say that Roberts was in the wars during the third quarter, battling a knock to her wrist in the closing stages.

She sustained it on the leap up to a marking contest on the wing, going down innocuously but looking in quite some pain and going off. Almost comically, she gave away an unlucky last touch free kick, bumped into an opponent, and smothered with the same hand shortly after.

In a show of her toughness, Roberts rose for a nice overhead mark late in the term having introduced that part of her game to the contest earlier on.

While indifferent delivery, heavy pressure and perhaps fatigue hindered Roberts clean handling, she did produce one outstanding passage with a swift gather and precise pass at full tilt, hitting a teammate inside 50.

Roberts finished with three disposals (all kicks), including two marks and two inside 50s, proving she can be productive with limited looks.

Q4:

Roberts battled on to run out the game strongly, even earning a late run through midfield. With the result still up for grabs, she looked to make things happen but was caught for a rare holding the ball free kick against, in the early stages.

Still, she carried great intent until the final siren, with her desperate run-down tackle on a breaking Mhicca Carter showing just that.

From that moment, Roberts became more prominent around the contest as she moved into the on-ball division, trying to use the ball positively and get creative with her movement.

Her lone centre bounce attendance came in the second-last minute, and Roberts rounded out a trying performance by adding six disposals (four kicks, two handballs) and a couple of tackles.

Closing thoughts…

It is crazy to think that Roberts is still a year away from being draft eligible, and that she still has so much development left in her as a December birth. The 16-year-old can produce truly special moments and did so in this match, with her first term feats making for must-watch football. Her one-grab ability bodes well for more midfield time, though she is also so effective as a forward target who can not only crash packs and clunk marks, but be the first to recover the ground ball. From there, her smooth coverage of the ground and unbelievably slick use by foot at full tilt is elite. With so many plaudits already and unbelievable confidence at senior level, Roberts is a class above her peers at the moment as the best prospect in next year’s draft pool.

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

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 7 – Peel Thunder vs. West Perth

WEST Perth picked up its second win of the 2021 WAFL Colts season on Saturday morning, knocking off Peel Thunder by 36 points in Mandurah. The Falcons proved a class above for much of the day, and broke to an early buffer before being forced to weather a Peel Thunder storm in term two.

After the Thunder snatched a momentary lead with three quick goals, West Perth took over the territory and possession to register six unanswered majors across the second and third quarters, keeping Peel scoreless until early in the final period.

The Falcons’ dominance showed on the scoreboard with 29 scoring shots to 13 in the even six-goal margin, as well as figures of 47 inside 50s to 23 across the one-sided contest. Peel could not quite find an answer to the onslaught, though both sides remain in the same ladder positions after the 10.19 (79) to 6.7 (43) result.

SCOUTING NOTES

Peel Thunder:

#9 Bodie Kitchingman

Arguably the best player afield across four quarters, Kitchingman showcased some eye-catching traits as a small midfielder. His evasiveness and turn of speed away from the stoppages proved menacing traits for the West Perth midfielders to combat, as the 19-year-old zipped through traffic and into space. His sidestepping ability was top notch, proving another means for Kitchingman to buy time before assessing his options and delivering by foot. He was the leading ball winner on the day with 31 disposals, accumulating as the game wore on and dropping back well to help provide some spark out of Peel’s besieged defence. He capped his day with a one-handed screamer in the final term – one for the highlight reel.

#28 Luke Polson

Part of Western Australia’s plethora of promising draft eligible talls this year, Polson moved like a prospect well below his 196cm standing. The Peel bigman worked hard up the ground to present on the wing, where he would provide a viable target down the line. While his height suggests that would purely be in a marking sense, Polson arguably did his best work at ground level as he mopped the spills and moved with great agility into space. His ability to compete aerially, keep his feet, and then recover the ball was superb, leading to some nice showings of skill in his disposal. Polson even attended some stoppages late in the piece, but looked to have his day cut a little short after limping off in term four.

Others…

Jackson Klepzig and Scott Tuia were productive members of Peel’s midfield-forward rotation, as was state Under 19 trial game participant Brady Hough, who steadily built into the contest. 16-year-old ruck Jackson Broadbent showed plenty both at the contest and around the ground, with Joshua Edwards yet another strong tall in the Thunder side. Elsewhere, Cooper Osbourne played a tricky role down back, before being swung into attack during the final quarter and snaring two goals.

West Perth:

#3 Zac Fleiner

While this was not Fleiner’s most productive day stats-wise, he managed to build into the contest nicely and provide that trademark dash on the outer. Starting in his usual defensive post, the rebound runner read play well to time his movements to the wing, providing an option in space as West Perth looked to transition the ball from the corridor. His perpetual forward motion was a handy feature for the Falcons in what was a largely contested style of game, with Fleiner’s knack of hitting targets at full flight also helping to maintain positive momentum. His willingness to compete both aerially and at ground level, when required, was also impressive.

#8 Lochlan Paton

Paton is a midfielder with terrific balance, able to showcase class with ball in hand but also do the tough stuff defensively. In this outing, his hard tackling was a real feature around the stoppages, with each proving that bit more punishing than the last. He thrived amid the contested flow of the game, getting stuck in at the coalface with clean hands and using his turn of speed to burst onto the outer. Speaking of, Paton was one who rotated into the centre bounces off the wing early on, but looked quite comfortable in the thick of things as a reliable ball winner. His skills were usually sound, even on the move, and the midfielder capped his day with a sharp bit of play to snap his lone goal for the game, during term four.

#11 Lachlan Cox

Arguably the most prominent forward afield, Cox got busy both inside attacking 50 and up on the precipice for West Perth. He scuppered a trio of goal attempts during the opening quarter, but redeemed himself in the following period with two goals in a minute, helping the Falcons overturn Peel’s momentary lead. Cox presented nicely up to half-forward and looked to wheel his side into dangerous positions, with his scores reward for that kind of effort. He had a few more tries on goal in the second half and did not look totally confident in taking set shots, but finished the game with a productive 2.4 from 13 disposals and five marks.

#12 Darcy Dixon

The 19-year-old midfielder made a terrific start, proving strong over the ball and using his power to good effect at the contest. On multiple occasions, he was able to burst free of would-be tacklers and out of congestion, helping West Perth break forward quickly with force. Dixon generated positive forward momentum but did not simply blaze away in possession, able to lower his eyes well and hit targets by foot on the move. He was a touch quieter as the game wore on but made his mark in the early stages – including with a highlight reel snap from the boundary, roving the forward 50 stoppage with aplomb.

Others…

Skipper Luke Reilly again set the tone for West Perth and got his hands on the ball, while Luke Michael was a reliable figure off half-back and Brock Lewis also got busy in the Falcons’ win. Up forward, Zarne Robis presented nicely and showed good skill by foot, finishing with two goals as Tyler Mouritz showed his wares as an intercept marking defender to watch.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Claremont got up by four points in a tense encounter with East Perth, with star key forward Jacob Van Rooyen returning to the Colts grade. He booted three goals in the Tigers’ win as he continues to work back steadily. For the Sharks, Joshua Browne ran rampant in midfield with 37 disposals, while bottom-ager Jed Hagan had it 28 times from half-back, and promising tall Jack Williams booted a goal from his 17 disposals and five marks, also rucking for 14 hitouts.

Jacob Plunkett (six goals) and South Fremantle dined out on the winless Perth in a 57-point victory at Lathlain Park, with Chase Bourne (four goals) also getting in on the act. Deklyn Grocott led all comers with 23 disposals for the Demons, but he and his side faced stiff competition from the Bulldogs’ strong engine room and rampant forward targets.

Swan Districts were the other winners in Round 7, holding on to defeat Subiaco by eight points. Small midfielder Max Chipper accumulated another 38 touches in Swans colours, with Benjamin Hewett (31 disposals) again proving a handy fold for the running ace. Subiaco star Neil Erasmus was matched by Jacob Evitt on a team-high 27 touches, as Swans’ Joshua Middleton (two goals) was the game’s sole multiple goalkicker.

Image Credit: Shazza J Photography