School's in: Several AFLW players to miss R10 due to year 12 exams

A NUMBER of AFLW players will be ruled out this week as year 12 exams continue around the country.

Not all the 2004-born draftees will be completing exams, with some having chosen to receive an unscored ATAR, and others having either already finished school or are completing alternative forms of education (e.g. VCAL in Victoria). 

Hawthorn is likely to be the side hardest hit due to its young cohort.

The Hawks are a strong chance to lose Jasmine Fleming and Laura Elliott on top of Emily Everist and Bridie Hipwell, who have already sat out one game due to exams, but should have enough players available to field a side without resorting to top-ups.

Jas Fleming in action during round six, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Sydney will only lose one player for its final match, but it's a big one, with No.1 pick Montana Ham sitting out. Sofia Hurley graduated last year and Cynthia Hamilton finished up earlier this year.

Ham has been in an unusual situation this year, staying in Melbourne during the week to complete year 12 at Overnewton College, and flying up to Sydney for training when available – even sitting her practice exams at the club.

"We just sat down with Mon at the start and laid out the pre-season and looked at any opportunities when she could come up in blocks," Sydney's AFLW player development manager Lindsey Berne said.

"As soon as she was drafted, it was school holidays, so she spent three weeks up here getting to know the girls and the coaches. The school have been amazing and so understanding, they've been so happy to accommodate as much as possible.

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"During pre-season, she'd come up after school on a Friday, do our main session on a Saturday and then fly back down on the Sunday morning. Essentially, she hadn't done much with the team for the whole pre-season.

"When she's in Melbourne, I do a check in with her early in the week, just go over her schedule. She has access to a physio and a strength and conditioning coach, who helped with her football stuff as well, and between us, we'd plan her week, making sure we were across any commitments with study and school.

"She's been super to deal with, she's so diligent and mature. Especially given the decisions around whether to play each week, we've left that up to her. She made the decision pretty early on not to play round 10, as she started her exams on Wednesday."

Montana Ham in action during round nine, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

North Melbourne will lose speedy forward Zoe Savarirayan for the next two games, while Taylah Gatt will reduce her training load, but the winger will still be available for selection.

Last week's two-goal hero Charli Granville finished year 12 last year.

Despite having a number of year 12s, Essendon is expecting Amber Clarke, Lily-Rose Williamson and Ash Van Loon to feature against Port Adelaide.

The Western Bulldogs has three year 12s on its list – Rylie Wilcox, Keely Coyne and Heidi Woodley (test), with Coyne set to miss round 10 while Wilcox and Woodley are theoretically available for selection.

Collingwood will have one player unavailable due to exams, believed to be Charlotte Blair, while Geelong doesn't have any players sitting exams, and Richmond doesn't have any year 12s on its active list.

Rylie Wilcox in action during round five, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Carlton has just one player completing exams in the already-injured Mia Austin, with the impressive Keeley Skepper available to play.

St Kilda duo J'Noemi Anderson and Caitlin Matthews are completing exams, but neither are currently in the side.

South Australian exams begin on 7 November (during finals), with Keeley Kustermann the only Crow potentially affected.

Brisbane has two players involved in exams, but given the health of the Lions' list, the pair are unlikely to feature in finals, while Greater Western Sydney's Zarlie Goldsworthy has continued to play through her exams, which started earlier this month.