• Jayden J Bartlett

Footy Talk: Western Jets Sudden Surge

Just a month ago, people would have scoffed at the idea of the Western Jets sitting in a finals position – yet here we are, the yellow and blue have seemingly gone from pretenders to contenders in a month of footy.

Sitting third on the ladder, equal second with the Eastern Ranges, and with a 4-1 record – the Western Jets are flying. However, it is a far cry from where the Jets' year looked to be headed after their Round Two result.

Round Two saw them begin their season with a trip to Tasmania to face the Devils, where the Jets suffered a 31-point defeat.

“… The first round, everyone was really flat because it was most of the girls' first interstate game so to come home losing was tough,” Jets leadership squad member Kate Maxwell said. “However, everyone wanted to bounce back from that, and we all hated that losing feeling, just as anyone would.”

And bounced back they did because, after training extra hard during the week, the Jets defeated the Northern Knights by 15 points.

“That gave us all hope,” Maxwell said about the Jets' first win of 2022. “And whilst we didn’t know our team song, that gave hope and a goal to learn the song to be able to sing it again.”

'Winners are Grinners' - this image kindly supplied by Kate Maxwell.

Following their first win of 2022, the Jets proved that it wasn’t a one-off as they thrashed the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, 74 to 15. This resounding win proved that the Western Jets may have a larger role to play in the 2022 NAB League Girls competition than most had thought.

Continuing their fine form, the Jets then made it 3 wins in a row after a second-half surge saw them defeat Sandringham by 25 points.

By now, people were starting to take the Jets seriously.

A side that was once looked on with sorrow, was suddenly a contender for the flag. This change of perception fulfilled their own ambitions, because “we all wanted to change the stigma at Jets”.

“The vibes at Jets are so different to last season, we are creating our own brand of footy,” Maxwell said.

“It’s so exciting, everyone is moulding together so well, and everyone is playing really well both at an individual and at a team level.”

“The last couple of weeks have just been a completely different environment where everyone has had really good energy, but we are all putting it into training hard.”

'League's Newest Powerhouse?' - this image was kindly supplied by Kate Maxwell.

After losing their first game of the year, the Jets made it a month’s worth of straight wins as they knocked off the Geelong Falcons, 55 to 17 – which further tightened their grip on a high ladder position.

“We are a chance at finals now it’s crazy,” Maxwell said. “We are now one of the top teams.”

As with any premiership contender, a top side needs a strong list – and the Jets have exactly that.

In the middle, there is Charlotte Baskaran, who has continued her amazing time in the league by averaging 31 touches and 7 tackles a match. Her partner in crime, Montana Ham, is also enjoying an incredible year, having an average of 23 disposals, 4 tackles, and 3 marks a match.

Having a strong midfield is one thing but having a strong ruck that can provide them with the first look at the footy is a huge advantage and, luckily for the Jets, they have Krystal Russell.

This 17-year-old ruck is averaging 28 hit outs and 5 tackles a match for the Jets, meaning she is well-able to provide her team with the first look – which when considering the midfield at their disposal – is a highly-sought ability to have.

But besides the middle, the Jets go from strength to strength around the ground. There is the up-and-coming defender Laura Elliot, who has been causing havoc in the backlines with her intercepting skills. As well as Elliot, the backline also has Kate Maxwell, who is a key position defender and one of the leaders at the club.

In the attack, they have Caitlin Sargent who has developed into a damaging key forward. Sargent has marshalled the Jets attack, no pun intended, as she has collected 12 goals from 5 matches.

Their forward line is also home to Sierra Grieves who, at just 15 years of age, has shown plenty of promise with 4 goals from her 4 matches – while also averaging 4 tackles a match.

That is not the only 15-year-old from the Jets that has plenty of potential, as Lou-Lou Field has been impressive at the other end of the ground. Field is averaging 12 touches, 6 tackles and 3 rebound 50s a match.

We cannot name all of the Jets' impressive players, since that’s their whole list, but other notable mentions include the damaging all-rounder, Paige Ryan, the consistent performer, Stephanie Asciak, and the crafty ball-getter, Trinity Skenderis.

Of course, many more talented players have all played a part in the Western Jets' sudden surge, from the Kieras, Kiera Leare and Kiera Whiley, to the Jets’ goal-sneak, Kasey Maddock – and they are all determined to keep the Western Jets flying high.

“Everyone’s pumped and that excitement is making us all train harder and looking forward to what could come of the coming weeks,” Maxwell said.

As we have entered the final stretch of the home and away season, the Western Jets will look to continue this run of fine form – the same fine form that has transformed themselves from pretenders to contenders.

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Footy Talk #1B

Minutes with Moose would like to thank all of our ambassadors and team members.

These images were kindly supplied by Kate Maxwell.

#WatchtheWomen #NABLeagueGirls #WesternJets #MinuteswithMoose

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