SWFL 2022: Women’s mid-season report

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Ebony Bilcich is one of several South Bunbury players who have found new homes heading into the second half of the season.
Camera IconEbony Bilcich is one of several South Bunbury players who have found new homes heading into the second half of the season. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times

With the SWFL women’s competition on a break due to the Nutrien Ag Solutions country football championships this weekend, Justin Fris takes a look at how things have played out so far.

Bunbury (9-2, 36 points)

Coach: Michelle Harris

Form: Although not as lethal in victory as previous seasons, the Bulldogs are still a well-oiled machine who know how to win tough games.

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Squad depth has never been an issue for coach Michelle Harris, and her playing stocks have been boosted further following the arrival of decorated South Bunbury legend Ebony Bilcich, along with silky midfielder Ruby Mahony, who has returned from her WAFLW commitments at Swan Districts.

Star player: Kloe Bassett - A hard-working utility who has played predominantly in defence this season, Bassett’s class often rises to the surface when a game is on the line.

One to watch: Daisy Rigby - a quality young player with exceptional pace, Rigby has the type of X-factor which can swing a game in her side’s favour.

Nola Marino Medal contenders: Kloe Bassett, Abby Gellard, Shana-Lee Beardman, Milly Burns, Sarina Tassone.

Likely finish: Top four.

South Bunbury (8-0, 32 points - no longer participating in 2022 competition)

Unfortunately due to a wide range of off-field issues, South Bunbury made a tough decision to withdraw their women’s team nomination in June.

The withdrawal marked an incredibly sad end to arguably one of the finest eras of dominance witnessed in the SWFL over the past two decades, with the Tigers winning three consecutive premierships.

A number of players within the team have signed with new clubs for the remainder of the 2022 season, while some have elected to stop playing.

The league has not scrapped their points tally however.

Harvey Bulls (7-2, 28 points)

Coach: Peter Jones

Form: The Bulls have been very consistent this season, with an even spread of contributors. They have benefitted greatly from Megan Minton’s firepower up forward so far - and could be boosted further should club legend Larissa Versaci return from WAFLW side East Fremantle.

Star player: Rebecca Fry - A true leader on and off the field, Fry provides constant encouragement to her teammates and never shirks a contest.

One to watch: Jenna Bloom - Can play a multitude of roles across the ground well, with minimal fuss.

Nola Marino Medal contenders: Rachel Shepherd, Rachel Tilbrook, Jenna Bloom, Rebecca Fry, Harmony Staszewski-Hose.

Likely finish: Top four.

Donnybrook (7-3, 28 points)

Coach: Peter Worsfold

Form: With such a massive playing list, selection is going to be intense heading into the finals at VC Mitchell Park, given a spate of new arrivals from South Bunbury and players all doing what is asked of them.

Star player: Charli Wicksteed- Easily the best midfielder in the competition, the Dons secured Wicksteed from South Bunbury following their departure from the competition.

One to watch: Lacey Holdsworth - Will likely be on a WAFLW senior list in coming seasons if she continues her incredible forward presence.

Nola Marino Medal contenders: Charli Wicksteed, Bethany Bond, Jessica Verbrugge, Fleur Parker, Lacey Holdsworth.

Likely finish: Top four.

Busselton (6-4, 24 points)

Coach: Rennie Meadmore

Form: Last Sunday’s loss against Bunbury was less than ideal for the Magpies’ top-two hopes, however they are likely to push quality teams in the finals.

Star player: Karyn Beeson - A methodical on-baller with terrific skills, Beeson rarely ever has a quiet game.

One to watch: Shelby Atherton - An underrated defender who always does what is asked by coach Meadmore.

Nola Marino Medal contenders: Katie-Jayne Grieve, Emma Borinelli, Karyn Beeson, Gemma Wharton.

Likely finish: Top four.

Carey Park (4-6, 16 points)

Coach: Geoff Nitschke

Form: A team which continues to improve, the Panthers are likely to have one of their most successful on-field seasons.

Star player: Kandice Hart - A champion in every sense of the word on and off the field.

One to watch: Louise Bignell - Always gives 100 per cent in the backline, irrespective of the scoreline.

Nola Marino Medal contenders: Kandice Hart, Chloe Pumphrey, Annakey Pumphrey, Gemma Hill.

Likely finish: Fifth.

Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault (3-7, 12 points)

Coach: Laurie Murfit

Form: It has been another tough year for the Lions in terms of results, although their endeavour throughout matches cannot be questioned.

Star player: Riley Brine - Brine is always prepared to put her head over the ball and work hard.

One to watch: Bree Hurrell - Shows great athleticism in the ruck, particularly at centre bounces.

Nola Marino Medal contenders: Riley Brine, Lauren Patane, Bree Hurrell.

Likely finish: Sixth.

Eaton Boomers (1-9, 4 points)

Coach: Berend Kaaks

Form: One of two bottom clubs not to benefit from any South Bunbury arrivals, the Boomers are set for a brutal end to the year, with only a victory against the Dunsborough Sharks likely.

Star player: Trinity Brown- A quality player and teammate, Brown is regarded as one of the best players in the league.

One to watch: Chloe Hewson- A talented junior with plenty of upside, who has relished her taste of senior football.

Nola Marino Medal contenders: Trinity Brown, Jessica Ruland, Kira Price, Sophie Oldfield.

Likely finish: Seventh.

Dunsborough Sharks

Coach: Paul Dean

Form: Predictably, it has been a rough season results-wise for the Sharks in their inaugural season - having been held scoreless on multiple occasions. This however has failed to dampen enthusiasm amongst the playing group.

Star player: Suzi Scanlon - Scanlon has impressed many with her efforts in the ruck, due to possessing a tremendous leap.

One to watch: Candice Honeybone - Could become a solid forward in coming seasons if she continues to develop.

Nola Marino Medal contenders: Nil.

Likely finish: Eighth.

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