Now without our premier female tag competition, the tackle may not exist, so with that in mind lets have a look and see where the 10 team comp stands at this point in time.
ALL FLAGS SIGNS & BANNERS WOMENS LEAGUE TAG
1st – South Perth Lions – 16 Points
Last year’s runners up have come back with a vengeance this season. Devastated with their loss in the grand final last year, they have exploded out of the blocks, with a staggering 286 points and only conceding a measly 16 against. Thats a percentage of 17.88 which is staggering. Coached by the experienced Sean Terrell, they will be looking to go one better this year.
Strength – Speed – In tag especially, there is no substitute. With the Smith girls in the fray, along with Suamili, Howes and the Kahu girls you wouldn’t think they would need anymore? Welcome Brooke Carroll, who must go close to being the quickest player in the competition.
Potential Flaw – Complacency – To be honest I did find it hard to come up with a flaw, but the danger with going undefeated, is there tends to always be a loss just around the corner. Teams start coming for you, and if your not at your best, someone could steal a game from you.
Key Player – Grace Smith – One of the primary Lions playmakers, she has good speed and sees the game unfold before her eyes. With “jedi” like intent, she sees things before they happen, and forms a strong partnership with Taiwhati as key players for the Lions.
Exciting Rookie – Brooke Carroll – As I have mentioned early, speed is deadly. And Carroll has it in bucketloads. Given a glimpse in the ANZAC League Tag game at the start of the year, she has been on a try scoring explosion this year. Go and watch. You won’t be disappointed.
2nd – North Beach Sea Eagles – 14 Points
The defending champions are doing what they always do. And thats build. While they haven’t been blowing away teams, they have been comfortable putting away sides, and find themselves nicely inside the top 4 and will be timing their run to turn it on when the finals hit. They are a well balanced team, with a good combination of ball movement, speed, youth and experienced.
Strength – Playmaking – Beach have capable playmakers all over the field. The Robinson sisters. Charmondelae Whaanga and Ina Marshall, are just a few of the playmakers they boast. Add the returning Caitlin Miller, and they have ball players everywhere.
Potential Flaw – Killer Instinct – I know competitions aren’t won in June. But the fact Beach aren’t putting teams to the sword like some of their fellow top 4 sides would be slightly concerning. Be good to see them drop the hammer on these sides leading into the finals.
Key Player – Baeleigh Robinson – While her sister is the star in the tackle game, Baeleigh is the conductor for the sweet music the Sea Eagles tag side makes on the field. With second to none game awareness, she possesses fast footwork and is a great communicator.
Exciting Rookie – Raegan Woolley – New to the game this year, Raegan has already shown she is a great athelete. Fast with good balance and a sense of where to be, she is a lightning bolt on the end of an already dangerous backline.
3rd – Fremantle Roosters – 12 Points
The resurgent Fremantle Roosters have put themselves back in the mix with a recent mid season surge, and they don’t look like they are finished. Filthy about their 4th place finish last season, they are looking at a return to the top of the mountain this season. Well coached by Michelle Trainor and Wendy Mann, they are incredibly well drilled and ready to take the comp by storm.
Strength – Flair – While the Lions and Beach can match the Roosters for ball movement, the Roosters game play is great to watch and harder to defend. Inside out, around the back plays with hard line running makes the Freo ladies an offensive juggernaut.
Potential Flaw – Confidence – Ill say it now. The Roosters are a confidence team. When its flowing and allowed to play their game, they are unbeatable. But throw some spanners into the mix and things go wrong, and their knock over the past couple of seasons is they lack the ability to fight through adversity. Time will tell.
Key Player – Taylor Kerr – TK is a key middle for the Roosters vaunted attack. Possessing amazing ball skills, she takes the ball right into the defensive line before making decisions and rarely chooses wrong. The catalyst to Caitlin Pears devastating try scoring form.
Exciting Rookie – Caitlin Pears – While not exactly a rookie to this competition, she has gone to another level this year. With great speed and balance, she hits the line at speed every time, and instantly recognises the correct option on whether to run or look for support.
4th – Joondalup Giants – 12 Points
One of the long time heavyweights of the competition, the Giants have slided slightly in the last few weeks. While still well entrenched inside the top 4, they have failed to match it with the other big 3, and a 28-14 loss to the Roosters in Round 07 has them firmly on rebound. But a couple weeks off should see the Giants attack the last five rounds and hold onto their position in the top four.
Strength – Experience – While not the fastest or most skilful team in the game, the Giants contain some of the most experienced players in tag. Led by Karina Spence, Kiri Smiler and the devastating Elle Warren, they won’t lose games out of hand.
Potential Flaw – Strike Weapons – While I wouldn’t say they lack speed, outside of Elle, the Giants are missing players with the ability to break a game open. Wylie, Utia and Gilmore-Spence are good operators and great players, but they seem to be missing a crucial piece.
Key Player – Shenae Gilmor-Spence – A defensive animal, Shenae doesn’t miss. Fit and vocal, she pushes herself and her team mates to the limit every game. While not the speedster and offensive weapon she once was, she is still an amazing player and a key piece for the Giants.
Exciting Rookie – Taryn Wylie – I know. She is not a rookie in the slightest. But the growth from outside player to playmaker cannot be understated. Happy to be a backup singer in previous years, she has stepped up to the mark, with her canny ability to fill any position a huge positive.
5th – Ellenbrook Rabbitohs – 10 Points
The heavyweights of the tackle competition, have steadily improved in the league tag scene over the last few years, and this year are making a run at the top 4 clubs. With experienced coach Glen “Mad Snakes” Kennedy at the helm, they now have the experience to matchup with the top sides. With some good youngsters on the up, they look to be the most likely to challenge the top four.
Strength – Individual Stars – Ellenbrook have some amazing individual stars. Bobbie-Lee Barker, Tiarne Barnett, Kailey Thompson and the upcoming Shamiah Grey can make things happen from anywhere on the field. Dangerous prospects regardless of position.
Potential Flaw – Experience – The Bunnies lack real game experience, especially under pressure in League Tag. While tag and tackle have similarities they are ultimately different games, and recognizing crucial aspects of the game is still a learning process of the Rabbitohs.
Key Player – Bobbie-Lee Barker – A seasoned league tag players, Bobbie is a former WLT Player of the year. A spot player for most other teams, she can hurt sides with her pace and footwork, and is an astute defender. Keeping her on the field after being beaten up on friday’s is the main concern.
Exciting Rookie – Shamiah Grey – At 16 years old Shamiah still has alot to learn in the game, but is already on an upward trajectory to being a great player. Already a leader in her side, she is already showing the skills and capacity to be a devastating player in this competition.
6th – Rockingham Sharks – 6 Points
I’m going to say it now. The Sharks would be slightly disappointed with where they are sitting at the moment. Probably fancying themselves as at least the 5th best side, and challenging the top 4, they have barely fired a shot this season. Once upon a time a league tag heavyweight, you can see some of the ex-players starring for other sides. While transfers, injury and retirement have hurt the Sharks, they will still be a danger side moving forward for other teams.
Strength – Defence – I know they aren’t the best defensive team in the competition, but they are not getting blown off the park at all. With their defensive line still hard to crack. They’ve only conceded a maximum of 26 points, and only the top two can match those stats.
Potential Flaw – Belief – When you watch the sharks play, once they trail, it looks like they don’t think they can win. They have enough pride to keep teams out, but lack true belief with the ball in hand. Body language and communication seem non-existent when it happens.
Key Player – Melissa Buchanan – Missy is one of the best all round players in the competition. A touch football virtuoso, her skills cross over nicely. A great blend of balance and speed, she has the ability to burst a game open, but can anyone go with her?
Exciting Rookie – Hereripene Williams – A new recruit for the Sharks this year, Williams is one of the few energetic and bright spots for the Sharks this season. With good speed and ability, she is constantly looking for opportunities to take the game on.
7th – Alkimos Tigers – 5 Points
A mid-table sitting seems to be about where the Tigers are at the moment as a team. Into their second year of league tag, they have an interesting mix of competitive players and social players who want to get a bit of a break from their kids. With good team culture and improving week to week, they will get better every year as long as they keep at it. With some good youngsters coming through the future looks bright for the Tigers.
Strength – Culture – Possessing a great team culture, the girls tend to always be positive in their interactions with each other and opposition teams. Constantly learning and building each other up, they enjoy themselves and celebrate even the small victories.
Potential Flaw – Game Awareness – The Tigers unfortunately are still struggling to recognise when to do what at different times in the game. This is a mixture of low experience and skill levels, but they continue to improve every week under coaches Kris and Rob.
Key Player – Renee Herewini – Fast and willing, Renee possesses good balance and game ability. She is capable of being a game breaker for the Tigers and shares the responsibility with fellow ballers in the enigmatic Harlee Horomona and talented Maz Collins.
Exciting Rookie – Donna Hati – Donna is an incredibly crafty operator. While extremely young, she is one of the more talented players in this squad and will need to stand up and be counted in the back end of the season and lead these tigers ladies.
8th – Kalamunda Bulldogs – 5 Points
The Bulldogs are back from oblivion to put a side in this years league tag competition. And to be honest they are one of the most interesting sides. While lacking in a bit of pace they have a bit of skill and smarts to potentially cause issues for the better teams. With new coaches and new players everywhere, it might take them a couple years to hit their straps but its great to see them back.
Strength – Nous – Now this is similar to experience, but not in the same vein. The Bulldogs have the ability to score with the small amount of opportunities they are presented with. Sneaky tries with deft kicks, Marshall and co. don’t let opportunities go by the wayside.
Potential Flaw – Speed – Similar to their tackle side, the Bulldogs just really lack players with out and out pace. Which is where teams tend to break them down. Out wide they struggle to go with the quicker teams, especially with only 11 players on the field in tag.
Key Player – June Marshall – Similar to tackle, the Bulldogs game plan tends to revolve around the talented Marshall. Possessing a long history playing the game, she has the experience to teach her fellow players, with a look to the future.
Exciting Rookie – Cheyenne Samuel – The young outside back has shown this year they she has more than enough ability to make a mark on this competition. With good speed and tagging ability, it will be up to the Bulldogs to surround her with weapons for the future.
9th – Willagee Bears – 0 Points
The Bears ladies continue to keep the proud club afloat and refuse to concede defeat in the eyes of oblivion. Struggling with numbers from week to week, they continue to show up and fight. With the hope of a better tomorrow in the offering, they hold the flag in the hope that tough times are not here to stay.
Strength – Club Loyalty – These ladies are the epitomy of club loyalty. Showing up most weeks with the less than 11 players required, they keep trying and showing up for each other. With Bears jerseys worn proudly, lets hope they can get some more ladies out of the woodwork.
Potential Flaw – Numbers – But all the heart in the world can’t make tags when people should be there. Its tough times for the poor bears, but if they can just build some more numbers, some results may start to go their way.
Key Player – Alma Leach – Along with Gabrielle Mouat, Alma plays in the dummy half and playmaking positions. And while not as young as she once was, she still has a crack and is responsible for alot of their ball movement. She proving that your never quite done.
Exciting Rookie – Brianna Young – A chip off the old block, young Brianna is a very good tackle and tag player. She is quite fast, aggressive with the ball and continues to improve. With deft hip movements, she is a nightmare to tag.
10th – Mandurah Storm – 0 Points
The ultimate social team, the Mandurah Storm are all about making sure they get on the paddock. Showing up every week all they want to do is improve and have fun. With some great characters in their side, they are actually starting to show the makings of some competent league tag players. They celebrated their second year in the competition with their first ever competitive try. What a milestone for the side.
Strength – Numbers – While the Bears numbers are not fantastic, the Storm are actually a club on the rise. In tag and Val Murphy, the storm are attracting new players all the time, with their welcoming ethos and growing popularity. It bodes well for coming years.
Potential Flaw – Skill – Because of the social nature of their play so far, the Storm lack real skill. Without many true players, they are building from the base up, and basically have to start from scratch in terms of learning rugby league and tag skills.
Key Player – Kaycee Yates – Having been exposed to another level of play in the ANZAC game this year, Kaycee is the unofficial leader of this Mandurah Storm side. Faster than she looks, she is a sponge when being coached, soaking up all the knowledge on offer.
Exciting Rookie – Paige Ristich – Part of a sister combination at the club, Paige has shown a willingness to get involved every week that is quite outstanding for someone who has never played the game. With plenty of ability to build on, its vital she stays in the game.