Nomads’ Women’s end of season wrap up from The Coach

The AFL North-West season 2021 saw the Nomads re-enter the senior women’s competition after a year hiatus. Rebuilding a team was going to be a challenge. We had a few former players return but majority of the team consisted of new players to the club or first-time players. Forging a cohesive unit from a group of strangers all with various skill levels was daunting to myself as a first-time coach. I soon realised the potential of this group after a few games. The building blocks were there. We had strong leaders emerging and strong players showing their flare for the game of Australian Rules Football. It is phenomenal to see the comparison from the beginning of the year to the end. The first game had most of the girls still learning each other’s names. By the end of the season, we had developed a distinctive game style and system. The girls became a really tight knit and close group. This undoubtedly has contributed to the positive, inclusive, and self-less culture around this team. While our win record painted a bleak picture of our season, the on-field improvement and development of our women’s team poises us to have a successful 2022 campaign.

Our Best and Fairest for 2021 was Ellie Ryan. Ellie had a fantastic breakout season in her first season with the Nomads. Ellie emerged early as a distinctive leader and thus she was selected as captain. All the girls respect her as a leader and follow her nurturing ways as she imparts her knowledge of the game. Leadership aside, her on field playing ability and athleticism makes her a formidable inside midfielder. Finishing equal seventh in the league best and fairest is also a highlight for her.

Our Runner Up Best and Fairest for 2021 was Charlotte Star. Charlotte had a very respectable season. Arguably our best defender and one of the best half backs in the league, she is a general on the field. Her tenacity to attack the ball and take the game on was always a pleasure to watch. As someone who displays strong leadership, Charlotte was picked as a co-captain later in the season. Charlotte was picked in the AFL North-West Womens team of the year on the interchange which I believe is a gross injustice.

Our Most Consistent for 2021 was Molly Fraser. Molly has a golden fist and is a star defender. Often our last line of defence, Molly would be up against multiple opponents, but rarely did she falter. Week in and week out you knew what performance Molly would put up. Dependable and consistent, there is no better award to recognises her achievements and stella season.

Our Most Improved for 2021 was Ash Wright. I found one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching was seeing the development of players. Ash came to the Nomads this year not having played footy before. Ash would say herself her kicking left a little to be desired. A lot can be said for turning up to training twice a week, more so if you train with the mens team as well. Ash’s determination and desire to improve is a credit to her and has paid dividends. Her improvement in skills and gain in confidence to win the ball and play her game is exciting to see happen.

Our Coaches Award for 2021 went to Bri Spratling. Bri is a quiet achiever who just goes about her business on gameday and plays her role to a fault. A returning player for the Nomads, Bri put together a solid back half of the season. Bri really found her groove as a half forward, applying great tackling pressure and was good with the ball. Always asking how she could improve or do things better is a great quality to have and undoubtedly contributed to her great form later in the season.

Our Best Utility for 2021 was Connie Blake. Connie had a brilliant season in her first year with the Nomads. A strong player with a great aptitude for the game, Connie stood out early as a key position player. Connie doesn’t take herself too seriously and just really enjoys her footy and playing with her teammates. Connie is a proven defender who plays with great confidence and ability. However, Connie demonstrated she can perform any task given to her to a high level of execution. This was on show when injuries to other players meant she had played in the ruck and heaven forbid the forward line.

Our Best First Year Player for 2021 was Madi Moar. Madi is the enforcer on the field who is a fantastic inside midfielder. While it wasn’t her first time in a Nomad’s jumper, it was her first time playing in our senior women’s team. Madi had a great breakout season coming third in our club Best and Fairest and equal fourth in the league Best and Fairest. Madi is fiercely loyal to her teammates and club. Her hard-nut attitude is inspiring, and her tenacity is great to watch as she repeatedly competes and competes.

Our Leading Goalkicker for 2021 was Casey Morris. Casey had an unreal first season with the Nomads. Her natural athleticism and game sense made her a dangerous player in one-on-one situations. After being swapped and changed in a few positions, Casey found her calling as an explosive full forward. Highlights would have to be her three-goal haul in Moree and being picked in AFL North-West team of the year on the interchange.

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