Top Eight: Hidden Gems of Southern Footy (Part 2)
The simple fact that hidden gems are hidden, meant that it was unlikely that we would uncover the majority of the Southern's and Great Southern's in one go - so we are back with more.
The role players, the injury-prone, the unsung heroines and the big-stage players; we have searched the Southern Football League and the Great Southern Football League to uncover some of the best of the hidden gems.
(There are no honourable mentions since there will be a Part 3.)
#8 – Kimberly Rowe (Yankalilla, Great Southern)
Kicking off the list with an exciting youngster that may not remain hidden for much longer; Yankalilla's Kimberly Rowe was a consistent performer for the Tigers Under-17s side - being named among their best players in 11 of her 13 Under-17s matches this season. She also earned a spot in the 2021 GSFLW Under-17s Association Squad.
#7 – Daisy Blencowe (Victor Harbor, Great Southern)
While it was a tough year to be a Kangaroo - this Victor Harbor player topped off 2021 with a selection into the GSFLW Association side. Daisy, a hard-running midfielder, played 14 matches in the blue and white and was named amongst their best players in just under half of them.
#6 - Neriah Milis (Christies Beach, Southern)
Developing young rucks are valuable - but often injury-prone. This young Southern Football League ruck managed to make her presence felt for the Saints during the 2021 season - with 11 senior appearances of which she was named in their best a whopping 8 times.
She was also an emergency for the SFLW's Association Side - although we expect her to become a starter within the not so distant future.
#5 – Chloe Howlett (Yankalilla, Great Southern)
Chloe Howlett is another young Tiger, and a GSFLW Under-17s Representative, that is arguably better suited for our Young Guns of the GSFLW list. Chloe was a reliable target up forward during 2021 for Yankalilla's Under-17s. We are certainly not kidding about this reliability - since she played 14 matches for 13 goals.
#4 – Kaiya Ivett (Port Noarlunga, Southern)
Kaiya Ivett was routinely nominated by teammates for our SFLW Team of Week - which is perhaps the ultimate accolade. As for why - it is easy to see since Kaiya played 11 matches for the Southern's latest inclusion and was named in their best players in 7 of them.
The Port Noarlunga performer also topped off 2021 with a selection into the SFLW's Association Side.
#3 – Kiara Lovett (Aldinga, Southern)
Showing her versatility this season was Aldinga's Kiara Lovett - who showed us a different side of her game midway through the year with her transition to full back. It's one thing to move positions but it's an entirely different ball-game to become successful in it - and Kiara did exactly that.
Injuries proved costly, but if she can stay off the injury bench, she may not fly under the radar for much longer.
#2 – Emily Hately-Watson (Hackham, Southern)
A strong key-defender who can be trusted to take an intercept mark at the most crucial times - Hackham's Emily Hately-Watson certainly wasn't receiving the recognition that was deserved.
Playing in the Hawks' back six, who were continually put under pressure throughout the season, Emily made the most of it - with selection into the 2021 SFLW Association Side. Defenders rarely get the credit - and playing in the struggling Hawks this season - Emily certainly deserves some.
#1 – Ruby Flanagan-Sjoberg (McLaren, Great Southern)
Maybe it's in the name - since her older sister Sophia came in the second spot on our Hidden Gems of the SANFLW. Yet, despite the talented sister act, Ruby Flanagan-Sjoberg has made her own mark within the GSFLW.
After having some success with Willunga, Ruby's move to McLaren this season proved to be a masterstroke - typified with her regular selection into their star-studded Open Women's side and a spot in the GSFLW Under-17s Association Side.
Although it took some time for her to find her stride at the Eagles - once she did, she never looked back. In total she was named in the best players in just under half of her appearances this season but, as a great role player, it could have easily been higher.
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Special thanks to all those who nominated players for this list.
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