WA young guns push All Stars all the way in championships thriller

THE WAFLW All Stars have surged home against an exciting young Western Australian outfit at the 2022 NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships. 

Claiming a 12-point victory, 5.5 (35) to 7.5 (47) at Revo Fitness Stadium in Perth, former AFLW Eagle and Bulldog Kate Bartlett put her hand up for another shot at the top level with four goals for the All Stars. 

Another familiar name for AFLW fans in Mikayla Western also had plenty of say for the All Stars, using her speed to pressure her opponents, then break into space to send the ball forward. Western finished the match with 14 disposals and four tackles. 

Mikayla Western in action for WAFLW All Stars against WA U18s in the NAB AFLW U18 Championships on April 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Despite winning some control back during the second quarter, Western Australia struggled to make the most of its opportunities, kicking three behinds from repeated inside 50s until highly touted underager Ella Roberts took a strong mark and kicked a goal late in the half. 

Roberts took control of the game in the second half, finishing with a game-high 30 disposals and seven marks, proving her strength in aerial contests. 

Off the back of Roberts' goal, WA was able to generate momentum into the third quarter, kicking three goals to the All Stars' zero, pulling out to an eight-point lead by three-quarter time. 

But it wasn't to be as the All Stars powered home, enjoying a four-goal final quarter, highlighted by a classy end-to-end play resulting in an Elissa Price goal. 

For WA, Lauren Wakfer starred in the ruck, winning the taps, and then getting to work around the ground. Wakfer ended up with 20 hitouts, 14 disposals and a game-high nine tackles, having a big say at the contest. 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA                         0.1     1.4     4.5     5.5     (35)  
WAFLW ALL STARS                             2.0     3.3     3.3     7.5     (47)  

Western Australia: Blurton 2, Srhoj, Roberts, Bushby 
WAFLW All Stars: Barlett 4, Corlett, Alston, Price 

Western Australia: Roberts, Wakfer, Henry, Srhoj, Browne, Raison 
WAFLW All Stars: Bartlett, Gomes, O'Donnell, Smith, Dyke, Briggs 

Western Australia: Gill (knee) 
WAFLW All Stars: Mulholland (head knock)