Top Eight: Hidden Gems of the SANFLW 2021
The 2021 SANFL Women’s season gave us a new premiership side, new fan favourites and, of course, Lauren Young. But while the competition is full of young and exciting prospects such as Ewings, Young and Schirmer, as well as stars like Marinoff and Dargan – there are plenty of others that fly under the radar.
Whether they fly under the radar due to just playing their role or simply because of injuries – we have used our own research and nominations from you to put together a list of some of the top eight best hidden gems that the competition has to offer.
(There are no honourable mentions since there will be Part 2 and Part 3.)
#8 – Alisha Gepp (Sturt)
This Double Blue performer enjoyed an amazing season at Unley and is arguably the most known on this list – or at least she should be well known after the 2021 season. Playing 11 matches for Sturt, Alisha averaged 18 touches, 4 tackles and 3 clearances a match, which certainly isn’t bad.
#7 – Paige Allan (Central District)
A hard-running outside midfielder, the pacey Paige Allan had a strong first season with Central District – typified by her 13 touches and 4 marks during Round Six’s clash at Adelaide Oval. With great experience already plus plenty of years of playing left – Paige is certainly one that cannot be underestimated.
#6 - Jade Halfpenny (Norwood)
This young father-daughter player proved to be a handy performer for the Redlegs during the 2021 season. This young gun, although starting to find her footing already, still has plenty of potential - typified by her 15 disposals and 3 clearances during Round Six.
#5 – Jorja Hooper (South Adelaide)
This young key forward struggled throughout the 2021 season with injury but, when she was match-ready, she made the most of it. With great hands and a penetrating kick, Jorja finished with 11 goals from 9 matches – a season high tally for the Panthers this season.
#4 – Caitlin Wendland (Central District)
Caitlin Wendland, one of the three triplets that joined Central District for the 2021 season, took some time to break into the Dogs side but, once she did, she became a regular performer. Amazingly, this has been her first year of footy yet, with 8 disposals, 5 tackles and 4 marks during Round 11 – you wouldn’t be able to notice.
#3 – Shineah Goody (Woodville - West Torrens)
Woodville-West Torren’s Shineah Goody is one that we have been keeping an eye on for some – and during 2021 she showed exactly why. This young gun Eagle slotted straight into the side, playing 11 matches for 138 disposals, all while at an amazing 70 per cent efficiency.
#2 – Sophia Flanagan-Sjoberg (South Adelaide)
Some may write Sophia Flanagan-Sjoberg off due to her height, but this crafty South Adelaide small has certainly made an impact during 2021. Having already achieved great success at local level footy – Sophia managed to put together her best SANFLW season yet this year. Playing off half forward or running through the middle, this role player shined brightest during Round Eight this season when she finished with a 13 touch-10 tackle display.
#1 – Kiera Mueller (Sturt)
We are ending this list the same way that we started it, with a Double Blue talent. Kiera Mueller is, although she will never admit it, one of the best young defenders in the competition. Hard, tough and with a great footy sense – Kiera collected 117 touches during her 10 games, which she rarely ever wasted since she finished with an outstanding 91 per cent efficiency.
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Special thanks to all those who nominated players for this list.
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