Echoes of Tayla Harris as WA forward stars against Queensland

HIGH-FLYING West Australian forward Roxy Roux starred as the team from the west defeated Queensland twice over the weekend in the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships.

Queensland struggled in its opening game on Friday at Claremont Oval in Perth, going down by 47 points, but rebounded well in the second match on Sunday to only lose by 15.

Roux (from East Fremantle) was the standout forward, kicking four goals across the two matches, and was ably supported by Mikayla Bowen (Swan Districts), Bianca Webb (West Perth) and Rebecca Viney (Subiaco). All are eligible to be drafted this year.

AFLW talent manager Aasta O'Connor had high praise for Roux, comparing her to one of the stars of the competition.

"The only other player I've seen who leaps at the ball and crashes through packs as instinctively as Roux is (Carlton's) Tayla Harris," O'Connor told womens.afl.

Queensland's stronger players included top-agers Lily Postlethwaite, Belle Dawes (both Maroochydore) and Dee Heslop (Yeronga).

Coorparoo pair Tahlia Hickie (leg) and Tarni White (ACL) impressed in their returns from long-term injuries, as did Gold Coast pre-listed trio Kitara Whap-Farrar, Charlotte Hammans and Ellie Hampson.

O'Connor said Western Australia moved the ball well and was boosted by an even contribution.

"I think the travel for Queensland – having a lot of new players in their group, a lot of younger girls – probably caught them off guard a little bit," she said.

"But the pleasing thing in the talent pathway, is they spent the day together on Saturday and were able to rectify that come day two. You could see they had a much more connected approach to how they wanted to play.

"Their key position spots especially, there were some girls really jumping up at the footy. I think of (Taylor) Smith, I think of Hickie, always up there, and their backline in (Serene) Watson and Farrar, they just had some really good key position posts who got the ball to ground and got to work.

"Watching the game yesterday, you couldn't go past Postlethwaite. She was just electric in the middle with her footwork and the way she's able to move through packs."

O'Connor is coaching Vic Country this Saturday in its clash with Vic Metro at Werribee and fired a good-natured shot at Metro counterpart and former St Kilda star Nathan Burke.

"I'm not sure if Burkey's coaching in the headgear, but we're looking forward to the match," she said with a laugh.

Game one

WESTERN AUSTRALIA   1.2   5.3   6.5   7.8 (50)
QUEENSLAND   0.1   0.1   0.3   0.3 (3)

GOALS
Western Australia:
 Roux 3, Webb, Morrison, Bird, Anderson
Queensland: Nil

BEST
Western Australia:
 Roux, Bowen, McDonald, Webb, O'Driscoll, Verrier
Queensland: Postlethwaite, Levi, Heslop, Brown, Dawes

Game two

WESTERN AUSTRALIA   1.1   2.1   3.4   4.4 (28)
QUEENSLAND   0.0   2.0   2.0   2.1 (13)

GOALS
Western Australia:
 Roux, Buckley, Smith, Morrison
Queensland: Bradfield, Smith

BEST
Western Australia:
 Viney, McDonald, Pescud, Atkinson, Lewis, Bowen
Queensland: O'Grady, Heslop, Tarlinton, Muir, Postlethwaite, Hammans

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