Rugby League

Toogood by name, too good by game: Essendon gun in All-Australian contention, star Roo on track for seventh blazer

North Melbourne AFLW captain Emma Kearney is on track for her seventh All-Australian blazer, which would make her the only inaugural player to be named in every season’s line-up of the best of the best across the competition.

In the All-Australian squad of 42 released on Tuesday, minor premiers the Brisbane Lions had the most players selected with six, while reigning premiers Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong and Richmond all had four players nominated.

Emma Kearney takes on Port Adelaide star Erin Phillips.Credit:AFL Photos

The Lions’ list included forwards Greta Bodey and Jesse Wardlaw, yet to be selected in an All-Australian side, and squad debutantes Tahlia Hickie and Breanna Koenen. Last season’s league best and fairest winner Emily Bates didn’t feature in the initial squad, nor did wingers Orla O’Dwyer or Sophie Conway.

Expansion sides Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney were the only teams to not have any representatives, while Essendon had two players in Maddy Prespakis and co-captain Bonnie Toogood. Toogood was named in season six’s squad, but if selected, this will be her first AA blazer.

The list features 23 players who have never previously been named All-Australian, and 15 who have never previously been named in the squad.

Emerging stars making their first appearance in the AA squad include Richmond’s Ellie McKenzie, Geelong’s Georgie Prespakis and Chloe Scheer, and Gold Coast’s Charlie Rowbottom.

Last season’s rising star and All-Australian Blue Mimi Hill didn’t get a mention, nor did ball-on-a-string Kangaroo Ashleigh Riddell.

The lists did name some fan favourites for the first time, including star forwards Kate Shierlaw (St Kilda) and Courtney Wakefield (Richmond), and defenders Vaomua Laloifi (Carlton), Vivie Saad (Gold Coast) and Eilish Sheerin (Richmond).

In the midfield, AA squad first-timers include North Melbourne’s Jenna Bruton, Geelong’s Amy McDonald, and Western Bulldogs Katie Lynch. Bulldog Alice Edmonds was also named after a breakout year in the ruck, when she averaged 27 hitouts and 19.8 to advantage.

Richmond’s Monique Conti is in contention for what would be her fourth All-Australian selection and North Melbourne’s Jasmine Garner her fifth. However, Collingwood defender-turned-midfielder Ruby Schleicher wasn’t included, and nor was Jaimee Lambert, who both made season six’s AA side.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Magpie Lauren Butler made her debut squad appearance.

Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff is also after her fifth blazer, and Anna Hatchard and captain Chelsea Randall their fourth, while Melbourne’s Karen Paxman is after her sixth blazer, missing out last season, and Tayla Harris her fifth.

A final team of 21 players, including a captain and vice-captain, will be announced at the W Awards, held on Tuesday 22 November.

The full list of club representation is:

Adelaide (four selections): Chelsea Biddell, Anne Hatchard, Ebony Marinoff, Chelsea Randall.

Brisbane Lions (six): Ally Anderson, Greta Bodey, Natalie Grider, Tahlia Hickie, Breanna Koenen, Jesse Wardlaw.

Carlton (two): Vaomua Laloifi, Breann Moody.

Collingwood (three): Jordyn Allen, Lauren Butler, Chloe Molloy.

Essendon (two): Maddy Prespakis, Bonnie Toogood.

Fremantle (one): Kiara Bowers.

Geelong (four): Amy McDonald, Meghan McDonald, Georgie Prespakis, Chloe Scheer.

Gold Coast (two): Charlie Rowbottom, Vivien Saad.

Greater Western Sydney (one): Alyce Parker.

Hawthorn (nil)

Melbourne (four): Tayla Harris, Kate Hore, Karen Paxman, Olivia Purcell.

North Melbourne (three): Jenna Bruton, Jasmine Garner, Emma Kearney.

Port Adelaide (nil)

Richmond (four): Monique Conti, Ellie McKenzie, Eilish Sheerin, Courtney Wakefield.

St Kilda (two): Bianca Jakobsson, Kate Shierlaw.

Sydney Swans (nil)

West Coast (one): Emma Swanson.

Western Bulldogs (three): Ellie Blackburn, Alice Edmonds, Katie Lynch.

The selection panel was Nicole Livingstone (chairperson), Sarah Black, Sam Virgo, Andrew Dillon, Laura Kane, Kelli Underwood, Megan Waters, Narelle Smith and Tim Harrington.

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