SOME of the country's brightest young female football talent was on display on Friday in the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships triple-header at Werribee.
Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland were the big winners from the three games, while four state MVPs were named, with Queensland and the Allies still to play one final game next weekend:
South Australia: Shineah Goody
Vic Country: Keeley Skepper
Vic Metro: Montana Ham
Western Australia: Ella Roberts
It's Roberts' second straight WA MVP, having taken out last year's award too, while Goody still has a year to wait before she can be drafted.
Skepper (Murray Bushrangers), Ham (Western Jets) and Roberts (Peel Thunder) are all eligible to be drafted this year.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA v ALLIES
Three goals from bottom-ager Tamashya Blurton helped Western Australia to a nail-biting five-point win over the Allies.
WA kicked three goals in the final quarter to take the win, having been all-square at three-quarter time.
Roberts was superb, rotating between the forward line and midfield to finish with 21 disposals, seven marks and 2.2.
Alli Nokes (19 disposals, eight rebound 50s) had the ball on a string, while Emily Elkington (13, nine tackles, five inside 50s) had a well-rounded performance and ruck Lauren Wakfer (23 hitouts, four clearances) was good in the air and at ground level.
The Allies – a composite Northern Territory, Tasmanian and NSW/ACT side – gelled remarkably well for their first match together.
Zara Hamilton (22 disposals) found plenty of the ball, Cynthia Hamilton (no relation, younger sister of North Melbourne's Lexi) threw her weight around with 19 and nine tackles, while Zarlie Goldsworthy got the ball moving forward with 17 and five inside 50s.
J'Noemi Anderson (sister of Kangaroos' Jed) kicked a remarkable goal, tapping the ball out of mid-air down to her flying boot on the edge of the goal-line.
ALLIES 2.1 4.1 4.4 6.5 (41)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.1 3.1 4.4 7.4 (46)
Allies: Ransom, Goldsworthy, McWilliams, Whittaker, Campbell, Anderson
Western Australia: Blurton 3, Roberts 2, Bain, Thompson
Allies: C.Hamilton, Barwick, Z.Hamilton, Goldsworthy, Anderson, Jacques
Western Australia: Roberts, Nokes, Henry, Blurton, Elkington
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VIC METRO v SOUTH AUSTRALIA
South Australia completed a clean sweep at the championships, seeing off a fast-finishing Vic Metro by three points to add to its wins over Western Australia and Vic Country.
Goody was once again one of South Australia's best, finding plenty of space and hitting the scoreboard with her 27-disposal, six-clearance and two-goal return.
She was well supported by fellow midfielder Hannah Ewings (23 disposals, five clearances), while Lana Schwerdt made her presence felt with 17 disposals and 11 tackles.
South Australian Matilda Scholz (next year's draft) was the dominant ruck on the ground, recording 24 hitouts and 14 disposals.
Tall Victorian midfielder Ham (22 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles) did her first-round draft chances no harm, while Sofia Hurley (25, eight tackles, seven inside 50s) did everything she could to get Metro the win.
Skipper Charlotte Baskaran laid 16 tackles in the midfield, to go with 15 disposals and three clearances.
VIC METRO 1.0 1.2 2.3 4.6 (30)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1.2 2.2 5.2 5.3 (33)
Vic Metro: Ham, Taylor, Vukic, Austin
South Australia: Goody 2, Ewings, Boag, Little
Vic Metro: Ham, Sutton, Hurley, Willcox, Coyne, Taylor
South Australia: Goody, Goodwin, Window, Kustermann, Mueller, Rasheed
VIC COUNTRY v QUEENSLAND
Queensland won its first match of the carnival, defeating Vic Country by 11 points.
AFLW Academy member Ella Smith's strong carnival continued with a game-high 22 disposals and six clearances, while fellow Queenslander Alana Gee (18 and three) also found plenty of the footy, with her second efforts on show.
Jasmyn Smith (no relation to Ella) and Imogen Evans kept the pressure on, laying eight and seven tackles respectively, and rucks Fleur Davies (15 hitouts, eight touches) and Havana Harris (12 and eight) combined beautifully.
Yasmin Duursma (sister of Port Adelaide's Xavier) and Charlotte Simpson (sister of Geelong's Sam and eligible for father-daughter selection) were best afield for Country.
Duursma found plenty of the footy in the middle and out of defence (21 touches, seven rebound 50s), while Simpson's physicality around the contest and long leg was on show with 15 touches and five tackles.
Over-ager Lizzy Dowling was busy with 13, five clearances and 10 tackles, while Amber Clarke kicked 1.2 from her 13 touches and four inside-50s.
VIC COUNTRY 0.1 1.3 1.7 2.8 (20)
QUEENSLAND 2.3 2.5 2.6 4.7 (31)
Vic Country: Clarke, Makai
Queensland: Milne, La. Cockatoo-Motlap, Miller, Calleja
Vic Country: Duursma, Simpson, Skepper, Dowling, Hosking, Everist
Queensland: Thorne, Kimber, J.Smith, E.Smith, Harris, Miller