Top Eight: SANFLW Rising Stars
We have covered the best under 18 players in the SANFLW … but who are the rising stars that will one day join them at the top?
After conducting heaps research and receiving numerous nominations in search of the rising stars from both the SANFLW senior and junior lists. We believe we have narrowed it done as best as we could.
However, you can’t really be a rising star if you are already the best; so, we made the decision that players that featured on the Top Eight: Best SANFLW Players Part one and Part Two, will not be eligible for list.
So, because of this tough choice; we have to give an honourable mention to Teah Charlton, Kiana Lee and Tamsyn Morris who were all nominated for this list but have all previously featured on our Best U18s lists.
But now we can focus on an entirely new bunch of promising players that are full of potential and a couple players that are close to being on the border between being promising and being the best.
So, without further ado, these are the Top Eight: SANFLW Rising Stars.
#8 Renee Roberts (Glenelg)
To kick off our list is Glenelg’s Renee Roberts. As a three-time runner-up Best and Fairest and a member of the 2017 U15s All Nations state team; it is safe to say that Renee has quite a lot of potential. Keeping in mind that she was a member of Glenelg’s U17s team; so, if she can get a taste of senior SANFLW football next year, it will work wonders in terms of her development. So, as we count down for the 2020 SANFLW season, Renee Roberts may just be a player worth keeping an eye on.
#7 Gypsy Schirmer (South Adelaide)
Coming in at number seven is South Adelaide youngster, Gypsy Schirmer. Now Gypsy is one of those players that really stood out during the Panthers U17s Premiership campaign this season. With impressive pace and a beautiful kick, it is hard to come to terms with just how young she is. She definitely has the potential to hold herself on a senior SANFLW list; and just like Renee, if she can get a few senior SANFLW games under her belt, it will certainly be beneficial for this humble product. But regardless, Gypsy’s age means that she has plenty of time to continue to grow and develop; and it is scary to think just how good she could be by the time she reaches the age of a full-time senior listed player.
#6 Aisha Thomas (Central District)
One of the biggest highlights for the SANFLW’s newest addition to the league, Central District, seems to be the performance of their young players. And one such player is Aisha Thomas whose first taste of senior SANFLW football saw her collect 29 disposals and average three tackles a game. Despite only playing four senior SANFLW games this year, she certainly showed great signs of potential. If this rising star can get another season of SANFLW football under her belt, she could easily develop into a very bright player for the Bulldogs.
#5 Charlotte Dolan (Woodville – West Torrens)
Charlotte Dolan seems to be the people’s player; considering the countless number of nominations she received for this list, but it is no surprise when you watch her play. As a member of the Eagle’s U17s and wearing the soon to be iconic pink helmet; Charlotte’s greatest strengths seem to be pace, pressure and clean ball skills. Which, as a midfielder, is exactly what we want. Add to this, a positive attitude and the fact that most her teammates seem to really enjoy playing with her, and it equals a very bright player for the Eagles.
We must also give a special mention to her younger sister Bridie Dolan. Like Charlotte, Bridie is also climbing the ranks at the Eagles and also received several nominations for this list. So, make sure to keep an eye on both the Dolan rising stars.
#4 Brooklyn Kraft (South Adelaide)
Coming in at number four is South Adelaide’s Brooklyn Kraft. She was a late comer this SANFLW season, playing the last four games of the season (including the two finals). However, Brooklyn showed great signs of improvement in just the four games she played this SANFLW season, with strong hands, a booming kick and great agility for someone of her height, she has a great amount of potential. She is also just as dangerous when the ball is on the ground as it is when it’s in the air, averaging two tackles a game. Add to this, two Premiership medallions from this season, one for South Adelaide’s senior women and one for South’s U17s, and it equals a player that we have to keep an eye on going forwards.
#3 Georgia Swan (Sturt)
Sturt’s Georgia Swan played 10 SANFLW games this year, and finished with two goals, 75 disposals at a 60% disposal efficiency and an average of two marks and two tackles a game. This sounds like a very good and reliable performance; however, it gets better when you find out that Georgia is still eligible for Sturt’s U17s list. Meaning that, as good as this performance was, it was only her first taste of senior SANFLW football. Which means that next season could be even better for this young Double Blue. And by the time she becomes a full-time senior player, there is a good chance that she could be a very well-known player. Only time will tell just how good she could end up being, but it is safe to say that she is a rising star to say the least.
#2 Emogen Johnson (South Adelaide)
The number two rising star spot goes to Emogen Johnson, or as we like to call her; Strathalbyn’s very own Emmy. With skills that are reminiscent of another Panther who was recently drafted to the Bulldogs; Emogen’s speed and relentless pressure are above what you would expect from someone of her age. Likewise, the fact that she has played in four Premierships in two years, two for Strathalbyn and two for the South Adelaide U17s, is remarkable to say the least. With all this in mind, it isn’t much of a surprise that her first performance at SANFLW level saw her collect 84 disposals and average nearly three tackles and two clearances a game from the eight games she played this year. Which all adds up to make this humble player one prime example of a rising star.
#1 Alex Ballard (Sturt)
Taking the number one spot on our list is Sturt’s Alex Ballard. She was very close to being included on our Best U18s list and for good reasons to. Winner of the 2018 SANFL Junior Association Medal; Alex has been playing for Sturt’s senior women’s team since their inaugural year in 2018. Likewise, she has also represented the South Australian U18s in both 2018 and 2019. However, it is her performance this SANFLW which is a sure sign of good things to come. Playing nine games this season, she collected 98 disposals at an outstanding 80% efficiency all while averaging nearly three tackles a game. And it was this impressive performance that saw her finish fourth for Sturt’s Best and Fairest, which is an awesome feat for someone of her age. And now you know why Alex Ballard was so close to being on our Best U18s list, but she is still a very promising rising star, perfect for our number one spot.
Special Thanks to all who nominated players.