15/04/2024

Caitlin Voss will hope to piece together strong form in 2023. (Picture: AFL Photos)

With the first lot of Vic Metro-based girls’ teams kicking off their campaigns this weekend, below are some names from each club to keep an eye on in 2023.

Eastern Ranges

Coach – Ash Close

Ruck Jess Vukic will look to build into the season after being limited in the preseason by a stress reaction injury. She’s got a strong vertical leap and will also play as a key forward at stages in 2023.

Laura Stone is expected to play some midfield minutes in 2023. She’s a player who has shown she can make good decisions in tight situations and her rebound out of defence, where she’s played a lot of football is another asset.

Alyssia Pissano is one to keep an eye on as the season wears on. A knee injury truncated her 2022 season, but what she did show was cleanliness, good finishing polish and goal sense. Pissano is a front-half player who has an impact on people when she’s out there.

The Ranges’ skipper for 2023 will be Ava Campbell. The centre-half-back reads the play exceptionally well and may be given time on-ball throughout the season. She’s confident and brings the group together well off-field and is an important voice to set up the defensive line on game day.

Another one on the comeback trail from injury is Jacinta Hose. She’s still a bit further back in her recovery but has shown good ruck craft and is one whose development will be an interesting watch.

Bottom-ager Georgie Brisbane is a name we might hear more from this season. The tall forward won the squad’s two-kilometre time trial underlining her athletic profile and strong preseason.

Georgia Knight kicked five goals in a preseason practice match against Dandenong and matched up for large parts on Vic Country representative Tara Quinn. She’s a typical front-half player with multiple avenues to goal.

Calder Cannons

Coach – Ross Smith

Amy Gaylor is the name on everyone’s lips at Highgate Reserve. She’s a Vic Metro representative and her vertical leap was strong at the preseason testing. She’s known for her fierceness and competitiveness but the coaching staff are also pleased with her second efforts and hope to see her hit the scoreboard throughout the season.

Reese Sutton is another one who will hopefully perform early for the Cannons. She moves through traffic smartly, chases, and kicks goals as a midfielder-forward.

Polished left-footer Kyla Forbes caught the eye last year with an impressive game against Murray. She has a good sidestep and alongside Chloe Baker-West is the best of Calder’s players not eligible for this season’s AFLW draft.

Maddie Albrecht’s pace will be noticed by all and sundry this season. The winger tested exceptionally well in that category in the preseason, while she also can find the goals, despite growing up as a midfielder at local level.

Competitive key position players Adalita Pizzinga, Yasmin Welsford from the GWS Giants Academy, Amelia Wright who takes the game on, and interceptor Amy O’Kelly are some other names to keep an eye on.

Western Jets

Coach – Hayley Gossow

Vic Metro representative Kiera Whiley has performed well in match simulation and the Jets’ practice games so will naturally hope to translate that into strong in-season form. Whiley is an excellent user, moves well, and makes good decisions.

Megan Smart is not currently in Vic Metro but has been hyped internally for her work in the preseason. She wins the hard ball and assesses her options intelligently.

Gracie Lamers was a big standout as a winger in a practice match against the Northern Knights. She showed her competitiveness while her second and third efforts would have also been noted and underlined her hard work in the preseason.

Bottom-ager Sierra Grieves is another who did some things in that practice game against the Knights and will hope to impress in 2023. Already exposed at Talent League level, her endurance will likely see her as part of the Jets’ midfield rotation.

With a couple of players missing, Akima Manoah spent a bit of time in the ruck, along with Stella Cossey in that match and showed positive signs. Cossey’s known for her evasiveness and has had a good preseason, while vice-captain Manaoah will play some VFLW this season.

Kristie-Lee Weston-Turner is arguably the big name to watch from this year’s pool and will lead the Jets up forward, no doubt providing plenty of moments that will be replayed ad nauseam. She’ll hope to turn that into a consistent season while fellow Vic Metro representative Tamara Henry is another to keep an eye on in the front half.

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Northern Knights

Coach – Allana Dickie

The Knights look to have a reasonable midfield this season. Winnie Buckley is a clean bottom-aged player who will contribute heavily through the midfield this season. She works hard and finds plenty of the ball.

Tahlia Plunkett played on Buckley in a preseason intra-club which was tantalizing, Plunkett’s contest-to-contest running was a feature, along with her burst and tackling.

That’s without mentioning Ava Jordan, who is the leader of that brigade; despite her diminutive size, she’s in Vic Metro and cracks in hard.

Isabella Parnell will be an interesting watch-up forward. She’s shown that she leads up well at the ball carrier with her next step being combining that with polished fundamentals when the ball hits the deck. Regardless, expect her to kick plenty of goals and be part of many attacking chains for the Knights.

Lulu Beatty is a 19-year-old who looks ready finally for a full Talent League season. She’ll drive the Knights out of the back half which she showed she was capable of in the preseason matches.

Sandringham Dragons

Coach – Martha Cantwell

The Dragons will hope they can get Mia Zielinski on the park for an extended run in 2022. The big-bodied forward attacks the footy hard and has already shown that she can take a contested mark and kick goals. The next step for her will be running out games because when she’s around the footy, her size and goal sense make her dangerous.

Caitlin Voss is another Vic Metro forward who will be around the mark in 2023.

Annabelle Embleton will hope to tap into the potential that the Dragons’ coaching staff see in her in 2023. The medium defender will be an important asset behind the ball with her skills developing quickly across preseason.

Georgia Foran returns as a 19-year-old vying for an AFLW list spot. She showed her intercepting ability in 2022 and will again be a key cog for the Dragons behind the ball when she’s playing. Foran will be splitting her time with the Southern Saints in the VFLW and is another who’ll hope to run out games well.

Carlton father-daughter eligible Sophie McKay, ruck Maddie Torpey, and bottom-aged Vic Metro prospect Judie Goldman who faces a slightly delayed start to the season are other names to keep an eye out for.

Oakleigh Chargers

Coach – Tyrone Vickery

The Chargers have a trio of Vic Metro players Lara Hausegger, Sienna Tallariti, and Maggie Mahony. Hausegger goes at the ball hard and is an important leader in the back half, while bottom-agers Mahony, a ball-winning midfielder and versatile Tallariti will also play important roles.

Key forward Emma McDonald has high internal wraps on her but is still raw. She’s played less than 20 footy games in her life but has already shown signs that she could be ready to unleash early in the season.

Amy Cariss-Brett is a wildcard to watch with her run set to be utilized on the wing, having competed at a national level cross country.

The Chargers had a practice match against Sandringham last week and were pleased with the on-ball mix, even in the absence of Vic Metro players, who sat the game out.

Maya Ellin and Amelie Gladman are both not exposed but their attack on the ball, tackle pressure and ability in tight were noteworthy.

Crumbing forward Maiya Stobie hit the scoreboard, and overaged defender Jemma Rigoni returned unscathed from an ACL injury that prevented her from playing since the Chargers’ 2021 finals series.

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