Locals shine on big stage

Kayla Dalgleish (left) and Jemma Reynolds celebrate a goal for Vic Country. (Chris Hyde/AFL Photos)

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Officer draft prospect Kayla Dalgleish enhanced her prospects with a strong first up performance for Vic Country on Saturday.

The competitive and crafty midfielder-forward has averaged 19 disposals, six tackles and a goal in her seven Coates League games in 2024 and showed on Sunday she could do it at the next level.

Dalgleish was everywhere in the first half, setting up teammate Zoe Besanko for the first goal of the game in the first minute, then kicking the second goal.

She finished with 2.2, all in the first half, showing her speed and footy smarts in winning 13 disposals during Vic Country’s 4.8 32 to 7.11 53 loss to Queensland at Brighton Homes Arena.

Fellow Stingray Jemma Reynolds was clean and elusive, gathering 18 disposals, while Besanko kicked the first goal of the game, and was Vic Country’s secondary ruck, winning 10 hitouts and three clearances.

Ash Centra was the best of the four Gippslanders in action, with her lively first quarter helping Vic Country establish an early lead.

Given defensive attention by the Queensland midfield group as the game progressed, her impact decreased, but she still finished with 14 disposals, five tackles and two clearances.

The diminutive Jas Sowden showed her physicality and aggressiveness in a 10-disposal effort.

Zahri Burn had 10 touches and five hitouts, going up against likely first round pick Georja Davies in the ruck, while the pacy Zali Gallagher had six disposals and two tackles.