Top Eight: Young Guns of the GSFLW
Despite only being founded a few years ago, the Great Southern Football League has provided women's footy with plenty of talented players and exciting prospects.
Some players have gone onto bigger and greater things, such as recent AFLW draftee Abbie Ballard, while others are making moves within the SANFLW - think Renee Moon, Jaime Griffen, Lauren Clifton, just to name a few.
To see who may be some of the next exciting prospects that climb the ranks of footy, we have pulled together some of the best young guns of the GSFLW.
However, to keep things fresh, we have ruled out those who were on a SANFLW during 2021 - since Jemma Ellis, Leah Bailey, Jaimee Millard, Emily Smith, Brooke Boileau, Lauren Clifton and Tess Huxtable should already be on peoples radars by now, we hope.
(There are no honourable mentions since there will be Part 2 and Part 3.)
#8 – Maya Overall (Victor Harbor)
To kick things off we look to a Victor Harbor prospect who has some serious potential, Maya Overall. Maya played 10 Open Women's matches during 2021 and was named amongst the best players in 6 of them. Compare this to the Under-17s, where she amassed 9 appearances in the best players from her 12 matches.
#7 – Holly Ifould (Willunga)
Willunga knows what young talent looks like - and Holly Ifould is one of their latest examples. Holly played 13 Open Women's matches, kicked 4 goals, and made the best players on 4 occasions. However, it's with the Under-17s that Holly really shined - since she played 13 games for 15 goals, which equated for 12 times in the best players.
#6 - Kiahni Russell (Mt Compass)
This high-scoring Mt Compass forward was on fire during the GSFLW Under-17s season, during which she kicked a season-high tally of 30 majors from just 13 matches. With strong hands and a penetrating kick - Kiahni also hit the scoreboard a few times during her Open Women's appearances.
#5 – Chloe Howlett (Yankalilla)
A member of our Hidden Gems of Southern Footy list - Chloe Howlett proved to be a dangerous Tiger up forward during 2021. Without sounding like a broken record, her 14 matches for 13 goals is certainly an exciting statistic to have alongside her name.
#4 – Ruby Flanagan-Sjoberg (McLaren)
Out of the eight players on this, and with exception of our number one pick, Ruby has arguably enjoyed the best and most consistent season at the Open Women's level. She has already been mentioned as a Hidden Gem of Southern Footy, and for good reason.
#3 – Kalani Bates (Goolwa)
Goolwa's Kalani Bates made her presence felt during this year's Under-17s GSFLW v SFLW Association Match - during which she was crowned as the Great Southern's Best on Ground. Reliable would be an easy way to describe her since she played 8 Under-17s matches with the Magpies and was named amongst the best players during all of them.
#2 – Bella Rigby (Willunga)
The youngest player on this list, Bella Rigby, who we have been told was still eligible for Under-14s this season, is as exciting as young guns can come. Not letting age get in her way - Bella played 5 Open Women's matches and was named amongst the best players for 4 of them.
#1 – Shae Archbold (Willunga)
Shae Archbold - there was never going to be someone else at number one. Shae's 2021 season included a GSFLW Association appearance (during which she kicked 6 goals) as well as the 2021 GSFLW Under-17s Best and Fairest and a 2021 Open Women's Premiership Medallion.
A member of South Adelaide's Junior Pathway, Shae amassed 24 goals from 14 matches with the Demons' Under-17s side this year - as well as a further 28 goals from 15 Open Women's matches.
With the ability to play on-ball, off half-forward or even deep forward - this crafty youngster is perhaps currently one of the most exciting prospects in local women's footy.
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Special thanks to all those who nominated players for this list.
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