WITH the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships done, the West Australian contingent of talented players return to the Western Australia Women’s Football League (WAWFL) where we take a look at how the eight teams are shaping up heading into the last few weeks of the season, including how some of the youngsters are faring. We also take a quick look at the Reserves and Rogers Cup and see which other players are impressing for their respective clubs.
1 East Fremantle (12 wins, 1 loss | 351.08% | 48 points)
East Fremantle lead the competition after 13 rounds, with just a Round 11 loss to Peel Thunderbirds, the only blemish. The four-point defeat in a low-scoring contest was a thriller to watch, especially after just a week earlier, the Sharks had smashed Perth Angels by 151 points. Of the leading goal kickers, Belinda Smith has booted 19 goals in 12 games, while Ashlee Atkins (11 in 11) and Kahra Sprlyan (11 in 13) are next in line. Teenager Roxanne Roux impressed at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships for Western Australia, and built on her great form of eight goals in seven appearances. The Sharks head into the last month of the season as premiership favourites alongside Peel Thunderbirds, with experience that will prove invaluable come season’s end.
2 Peel Thunderbirds (12 wins, 1 loss | 342.63% | 48 points)
The other top two side in the WAWFL is Peel Thunderbirds, who like the Sharks, have only lost the one game. They went down to East Fremantle by 27 points in Round 4, but have since won nine on the trot, including atonement against the ladder leaders with a thrilling four-point victory away. Far and away the X-factor at the Thunderbirds is Kira Phillips who has dominated the season with 60 goals in 13 matches – 36 goals more than any other player. Phillips has booted a goal in every game, and her hauls include nine and 10 goals against South Fremantle, and eight majors against Perth Angels. Others who have been prominent are Bailey Molloy and overager Kate Bartlett who have booted 18 and 16 goals apiece. The team has a high contingent of talented youth prospects including Western Australia captain Sabreena Duffy, the now-injured Courtney Hodder, Bartlett and ruck Sonia Dorizzi.
3 Swan Districts (9 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw | 196.02% | 38 points)
Swan Districts had back-to-back losses in rounds two and three to the top two sides, and then went down to East Fremantle in Round 8. They have a tough run home with the other top three sides in the final three weeks, but have done enough to secure third, even with three losses. They had a great win against West Perth in Round 10, winning by 29 points. Ashley Sharp and Rhonda Williams share the leading goal kicking stakes with 14 goals apiece, while AFL Women’s Rising Star nominee Emily McGuire has been impressive with eight goals from 10 appearances. They also have a high contingent of talented youngsters with Rikki Ryan-Carling, Mikayla Bowen, Emma O’Driscoll and Caitlin Hill in the team. They will need to be at their best to topple the bet two sides in the finals.
4 West Perth (6 wins, 7 losses | 124.58% | 24 points)
After the top three, the middle ladder log-jam is clear and makes things interesting. After being smashed in the opening round by Peel Thunderbirds, the Falcons won the next three games by a combined 284 points. A second loss to the Thunderbirds and then-unbeaten East Fremantle was followed by two wins and then and then three consecutive losses – including two to Subiaco. They knocked off South Fremantle before a third loss to the Thunderbirds, and face Swan Districts, South Fremantle and Claremont in the final three rounds. Chloe Metcalf leads all-comers with 24 goals this season ahead of Tyhara Garlett (17) and Ellie Hansen (15). Jacinta Valentini – the sole West Australian Under 18s state member in the side – has been one of the top contributors in her seven games, booting four goals.
5 Subiaco (5 wins, 8 losses | 108.83% | 20 points)
Sitting just one win clear of Claremont is Subiaco having five wins from 13 rounds, having defeated Claremont and West Perth twice, and South Fremantle once. In a quirk to the feature, the Lions face Perth Angels twice in the final three rounds, which should see them make finals, while also facing Claremont for a third time. They could well overtake West Perth in fourth spot. Amy Lavell has been impressive up forward, booting 20 goals in nine games, while Sara Lewis has averaged a goal a game so far this season. Of the young stars in the side, AFL Women’s academy member McKenzie Dowrick is the top prospect, booting six goals in her seven games.
6 Claremont (4 wins, 8 losses, 1 draw | 93.08% | 18 points)
Claremont has a solid percentage despite winning just four games this season, which has helped due to big wins to open the season against Perth Angels and South Fremantle. They had a fantastic draw with Swan Districts at home in Round 11 and will look to upset the Lions in Round 15, in between of top four teams East Fremantle and West Perth. Amanda Robertson leads the goal kickers with 10 goals in 11 games, while Emily Johnston has booted six majors in four matches. Overager Sarah Garstone and the talented Matilda Sergeant are the two young prospects who made the West Australian state side after impressive starts to the season.
7 Perth Angels (2 wins, 11 losses | 17.15% | 8 points)
The bottom two sides have had tough starts to the season, but a highlight for the Angels was a nine-goal performance against South Fremantle to win by 19 points in Round 11. They also toppled the cellar dwellers in round six with a 23-point victory for their two wins of the season. In other solid defensive efforts, they kept South Fremantle to just seven goals in round eight and West Perth to nine goals a week earlier. The goal kickers have been shared around, with Heidi Thompson, Imahra Cameron and Tamika Watterston booting four goals each. They have also had four players play every game and will be looking to finish off the season strongly in the final three rounds.
8 South Fremantle (1 win, 11 losses | 25.69% | 4 points)
The sole win for the bottom of the ladder team came against Perth Angels in Round 8, winning by 19 points away. They have been fairly strong defensively, keeping their opposition to less than 100 points on all bar three occasions – hence the stronger percentage. Tough losses against Perth in Round 6 and Round 11 will hurt, but they have shown good signs throughout the year. Tarnee Tester has booted eight goals from nine matches, while Olivia Hunt is the other major goal kicker with six majors. Of the West Australian state side, Shannon Whale is the sole member, having polayed the one game so far this season in the League competition.
In the Reserves competition, all nine teams are represented, with Peel Thunderbirds having won 11 of the 12 games played, one win ahead of Claremont in second. East Fremantle and Swan Districts are strong in the top four, while East Perth – its highest competitive side – and Subiaco are battling it out for fifth spot. West Perth, Perth Angels and South Fremantle are the three sides in the bottom of the table with four wins between them. In terms of the leading goal kickers, Peel Thunderbirds’ Narelle McIntyre has booted 29 goals in 11 games, 10 goals clear of Claremont’s Amy Smeding (19 goals in eight games), and Swan Districts’ Contessa Finlay (18 goals in nine games).
The Peel Thunderbirds are dominant once again in this competition, unbeaten in 12 games with a mammoth percentage of 1060.27. It dwarfs a normally mind-boggling percentage of 398.56 from South Fremantle who have plenty of talented youngsters coming through, while Swan Districts and East Fremantle round out the clear top four. East Perth and Claremont are battling it out for fifth, while West Perth, Perth Angels and Subiaco are the bottom three sides. In terms of the leading goal kickers, South Fremantle’s Jenna Bantick has booted 22 goals from 11 games, while Aimee Hiscock has nailed 21 majors from 12 games. The Thunderbirds prefer and even approach, with eight of the top 26 goal kickers hailing from the club. Among the top youngsters who stood out at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Tanisha Anderson (East Perth, 10 goals from seven games), Mikayla Hyde (Swan Districts, nine from eight) and Abbey Dowrick (Subiaco, six from eight) and Savannah Ahearn (six from eight) are all in the top 25.