Shepparton News

SOPHIE CHOICE

BRILLIANT SEASON UP FORWARD ENSURES SEYMOUR STAR IS A LOCKE FOR VFLW TEAM OF THE YEAR

- By LIAM NASH

One of Goulburn Valley’s liveliest footballin­g starlets has thrust her name beneath the noses of AFLW clubs by earning a spot in this season’s VFLW Team of the Year.

Seymour product Sophie Locke lit up the competitio­n for Port Melbourne in its inaugural women’s campaign, booting 13 goals from 12 games to snag a place in the best performing half-forward line all season.

Her prowess in front of the sticks was evident from the off as Locke slotted an impressive nine goals in the opening four rounds, eventually finishing as Borough’s second highest goal-kicker this year.

Interestin­gly, the four other players named in the VFLW Team of the Year forward line — Southern Saints’ Tara Bohanna, Essendon’s Alana Barba, Collingwoo­d’s Imogen Barnett and Casey’s Imogen Milford — have secured AFLW contracts for next season.

Locke has undoubtedl­y had a breakout year and, by sidling alongside those names in the competitio­n’s upper crust, makes herself an unmissable blip on the radar of AFLW clubs.

The 20-year-old was not the only Goulburn Valley export to turn heads for Port Melbourne.

Shepparton United’s Kate Adams appeared on six occasions in the red and blue, while former teammate Aurora Smith took to the park twice for Port.

Finley product Eloise AshleyCoop­er was a mainstay in Essendon’s ranks with a solid 17-game season, as was Nathalia’s Reni Hicks for North Melbourne (nine appearance­s), and Mooroopna’s Tamara Smith didn’t miss a beat in each of her 17 outings for Geelong.

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