There were a lot of players that improved dramatically this season and although we’d love to name them all, we’ve narrowed it down to just a few standouts.
It was only Sharni Layton’s second year in the competition, but she has already gone from strength to strength. In 2020 she not only cemented her spot as Collingwood’s number one ruck, but also established herself as a real versatile player. She has been providing another scoring option down forward for the Pies and has been able to take some important intercept marks in their attacking line as well. Layton kicked three goals for the season and averaged 17 hitouts, compared to her 2019 average of 6 hitouts.
Fellow Magpie Chloe Molloy agrees that Layton is improving, crediting her determination.
“She just wants to get better and I think she did that every game. And you know she injured her finger and then came back and played with it against Brisbane.”
After playing one game for the giants in 2018 and being delisted at the end of the year, Privitelli was drafted back to the Giants at the end of 2019. She has become a mainstay in the Giants side, playing all seven games including their semi-final against the Demons. Privitelli scored six goals for the season, playing an important role in the Giants’ forward line.
Grieve went from being a fringe player at Fremantle playing five games, to a mainstay, playing all seven games in their undefeated season. She was second in the tackle count for the competition, behind teammate Kiara Bowers.
According to Fremantle Captain Kara Antonio, it’s her game sense and game awareness that set her apart this year.
“Day one to preseason, she had a fantastic attitude and the way in which she improved her game sense and game awareness, and the way that she found the footy and hunted the footy… that shone through in games.”
Having been delisted by Carlton at the end of 2019 after playing only five games, Lucas-Rodd had a strong season in the VFLW and made the Team of the Year. She was quickly picked up by St Kilda and has since become a rock in the Saints’ defensive line, playing all six of their games this year. She averaged 13 disposals with 76% efficiency for the season.
Plane only played the first four games for Carlton in 2019. She then co-captained the Blues’ VFLW side and helped fill the void for the Blues after the loss of Bri Davey. In doing so, she has become a mainstay in Carlton’s side, playing all seven games including the semi-final against the Lions in 2020.
Membrey was delisted at the end of the 2019 season having played only three games. She was given another chance and was picked up again in the draft at the end of the year. She definitely proved herself this season, providing a great option down forward for the Pies. She played all seven games and booted seven goals across the season.
Bonnici was a massive star for the Pies in 2020, having taken her game to a new level. Although she hasn’t missed a game for the Pies since their inception in 2017, Bonnici is really starting to shine, averaging 19 disposals per game. A standout was her 26-disposal game against the Lions in Round 7, where she was awarded Best on Ground status. The pressure she provided in the midfield for the Pies was absolutely outstanding.
The Magpies defender was amazing in the backline this season, really cementing her spot in the side. She played all seven games, averaging nine disposals per game with an efficiency of 78%.
Chloe Molloy looks forward to seeing what Butler will bring to the season next year.
“I felt like she kind of took her game to a whole other level… I'm actually quite excited to see what a player of her calibre can bring for the Pies in 2021, because yeah, she's quite an achiever that one.”