Tag: queensland under 18 girls

Watson thrives on Aussie rules aggression

ORIGINALLY hailing from the rugby league heartland of Sydney, Serene Watson grew up trying her hand in multiple sporting codes. She was “born and bred” through rugby league, went on to find herself fouled out in her attempts at basketball, but found a true home for her competitive spirit on the football field. It has been a steady rise from her first experience with the oblong ball, since.

“(I love) the aggressiveness,” Watson said of Australian rules football. “I used to play basketball and I used to get called off for a lot of aggressive things so I was like ‘Oh, it’s a bit easier to do it on the footy field. “My brother started playing footy around 2010 when we first moved up (to Queensland) from Sydney… I just went and supported. “The girls (team) coach came up to me and asked me to play local footy and then from there it just went uphill, I started getting into rep teams and it just escalated from there.”

The Gold Coast SUNS Academy product has become a key member of those representative sides in her top-age year, donning the famous Maroon jumper in her adopted home state during July’s AFL Women’s Under-18 National Championships. Just pulling on the Queensland colours is something Watson said has been an “honour”, while doubling as an opportunity to showcase her strengths.

“You don’t really get to do it much and not many girls get to do it at all but it’s such an honour to represent Queensland, especially for AFL,” Watson said during the camp. “(The camp) has been really good, all the girls have bonded really well even though we (lost) I think the camp’s been really good and we’ve all enjoyed it.

“It’s different because there’s obviously Brisbane Lions Academy and SUNS Academy (players) so it’s harder to jell but I think we’re learning because we all know each other and we realise how we play now… it’s getting better and definitely getting easier.”

“(My strength is) my rebounding off the half-back because I’m a backline player… just getting the ball out if it comes in, that’s probably one of my biggest assets.”

Watson’s best was on full display in Queensland’s heavy Round 3 carnival loss to Vic Country, where she stood tall in an under-siege defence to collect a team-high 21 disposals and seven rebound 50s. Despite finding a home in the back six, her selection of idols hints at a move further afield.

Patrick Cripps, just watching him play as a tall midfielder – that’s probably what I want to be like… he’s skilful and just such a talented player,” Watson said. “If not him, then probably someone like Leah Kaslar or Shannon Campbell from the Brisbane Lions… Leah and Shannon, they’re just insane. “They just go hard at the footy and still have skills so that’s why I look up to them.”

With her inspirations setting the bar high, in terms of aspirations, Watson’s ultimate goal is clear.

“I think for everyone it’s the AFL Women’s draft, but just getting something out of each camp and playing footy because you love it is probably the biggest thing,” Watson said.

AFLW U18 Championship previews: Queensland

AHEAD of the two big clashes between Queensland and Western Australia for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, we take a look at Queensland and how they are shaping up this year after an impressive effort at last year’s carnival. Below we take a look at some of the key players to watch – remarkably all of the below are AFL Women’s Academy members.

Annise Bradfield

Still 12 months away from being eligible for drafting, Bradfield is a 172cm prospect in the AFL Women’s Academy, and another player from the highly successful Bond University team. Has overcome a long-term injury to return and will no doubt be a key player for the home side. She could well play up forward and be the tall target her teammates look to inside 50.

Belle Dawes

A member of the All-Australian side as a middle-ager last year, Dawes is a small forward who provides plenty of excitement inside 50 and can drift through the midfield to have an impact. She is a versatile mover and has X-factor galore, helping her get amongst the goal kickers. Dawes became a premiership player for Wilston Grange last year, matching it against bigger-bodied opponents. A fierce tackler as well, not allowing her opponents time and space.

Kitara Farrar

One of three Gold Coast SUNS pre-listed players in the Queensland team, Farrar showed some exciting bursts off half-back before injuring herself early in the second game on the Gold Coast. She takes the game on, backs herself and can slice up the opposition with her offensive run. Likewise her defensive pressure and tackling ability is also something to watch, with her clean hands and strength to either apply or shrug off tackles another noticeable trait.

Zimmorlei Farquharson

Despite turning 16 a couple of months earlier, Farquharson showed much promise last year at the AFLW Under 18 Championships as a bottom-ager. She played as a key forward, leading out and clunking grabs. For a taller player, Farquharson moves well and uses the ball well, and while consistency is what she will be looking for as she develops, she is genuinely a star when up and going and still has time to develop.

Charlotte Hammans

Another pre-listed player by the Gold Coast SUNS ahead of the 2020 season, Hammans played from defence to midfield and showed great strength and clean hands across the ground. She snuck forward at times as well and showed off her versatility, foot skills and vision, while her composure under pressure was also impressive and it was no surprise to see her pre-listed by the SUNS.

Ellie Hampson

The third pre-listed Gold Coast SUNS player is the agile Hampson whose side-step became a trademark of the carnival last year. Not too dissimilar to Calder Cannons’ Georgia Patrikios, Hampson is able to evade opponents with ease and just steps through traffic like she is in uncontested areas of the ground. Hampson also has a long, penetrating kick that helps her hurt opposition teams and like the other two, it is no surprise to see Gold Coast keen to secure her on their list.

Dee Heslop

A consistent player last year, Heslop featured among the best on most occasions at the carnival and showed a high work ethic throughout the games. Heslop moved the ball quickly and well by hand or foot and played her role well for her side. While others won plenty of the ball, Heslop played a key role in the side and did not waste too many opportunities, showing off her class inside 50 when given the opportunity.

Lily Postlethwaite

The standout player at last year’s carnival across series two, Postlethwaite is an exciting small midfielder who has nice skills and a hard-edge to also apply plenty of defensive pressure to her opponents. She has a penetrating kick and a great technical action, and sets up her teammates with scoring opportunities going forward. Named in the All-Australian side as a middle-ager last season, and it was no shock to anyone here that she was named captain of the Queensland side for the championships.

Serene Watson

A reliable defender, Watson is a member of the Gold Coast SUNS Academy and was named in the back pocket of the All-Australian side last year. She is more of a rebounding defender who excites with her run and carry ability out of the defensive 50. She is calm and composed with ball in hand and has strong hands despite not being the biggest bodied player.

Tarni White

Made headlines from a young age by becoming the first female to play 100 games at her local club, Wynnum Vikings. White made the All-Australian squad as a bottom ager back in 2017, showing off her talent then. She followed that up with the Queensland Women’s AFL Rookie of the Year award and Harry Gordon Medal, for her high work ethic and natural leadership ability.