So with the formalities well behind us for 2020 (though if things had panned out as planned, the best performing teams would now be preparing for the first week of finals – food for thought), many observers have tried their best to highlight and commemorate the moments, milestones and magic of the fourth hit-out for women’s footy at the highest level.
It’s no exception here at TWG; in this instance our gaze is set on those players who’ve put in the hard yards and made a big difference to the fortunes of their sides, but for whatever reason haven’t received the same plaudits as others.
Our Top 3 Underrated Players of 2020
Even though she’s one of the smaller players in the mighty Roos lineup, Bruton certainly packs a punch well above her size. After playing a solid if not spectacular year in red, white and blue, Jenna dropped the red from her palette last year to play in North Melbourne’s debut season. The change in location may or may not have been a decisive factor, but the fact is that Bruton took her game up another level at Arden Street.
Her sequel outing for the Kangaroos was just as good as the original; averaging a shade under 18 touches and six tackles with great vision out of the middle, quality disposal by foot and a burst of speed. Bruton also projects a sense of confidence with ball in hand and can bring others into the game when on song.
This was a big year for the biggest club in the land. For the first time in the history of the women’s competition, Collingwood played tough, fast and consistent footy that had people sitting up taking notice. In the immediate aftermath of their season, skipper Steph Chiocci said that as a group they had felt more confident than ever before.
One player who oozes confidence is Sarah D’Arcy. As a forward, she imposes herself on contests like few others, is a sure bet on a lead and has a boot that loves to score. Unfortunately, her scoring has been wayward this year, with a total haul of four goals and 11 behinds. If that had been reversed, she would be right up there for All-Australian honours... Next time you see the Pies play, keep an eye on D’Arcy and you’ll see she wouldn’t look out of place in any rep side.
While some had high hopes for the new Queenslanders on the block packed with homegrown products, a combination of low expectations for expansion sides and physical distance from footy heartlands meant many fans took their time in noticing that the Suns were a damn good side – one who, despite their unceremonious belting by Fremantle, deserved their place in the finals.
A good side will have good players by definition – none more noticeable than first-year sharpshooter Kalinda Howarth – but outside of Howarth, Bella’s efforts in the ruck were extraordinary. The former Lion won plenty of taps, followed up on ground balls and applied solid pressure (she averaged 1.4 tackles a game) – the best of her performances was in Round 4’s classic contest with flag faves North Melbourne. Responding to a side on the up and up, Bella starred with 21 hitouts and ten touches to keep Gold Coast in the hunt until the last.
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