Hawthorn midfielder Jasmine Fleming has earnt a second crack at the AFLW Rising Star award after winning a round 3 nomination alongside Carlton goalsneak Keeley Skepper.
The daughter of Australian Test cricketer Damien Fleming, who finished third in the award in an impressive first season but remains eligible, received the nod for a second nomination after a strong 18-disposal performance in Hawthorn’s loss to Fremantle in Perth on Saturday.
Also playing in WA, Skepper shone as the Blues mauled the Eagles with a career-high 23 disposals, five marks and three goals.
Fleming, 18, and Skepper, 19, both had to balance their final year of school with their debut AFLW seasons last year, and Fleming said the reduced workload outside of the game had done wonders for her preparation and performance.
“Mentally I feel so much more refreshed, and able to give more of my time to footy. And while I am at footy, being fully focused, not worrying about what SAC I have the next day or exams coming up,” she said.
“So it has been really refreshing, and I’ve been reflecting on it recently – just being able to go into the club when I want to – to recover, to do skills and do extras, I wasn’t able to do that, so I’ve really loved more of the freedom this season.”
Fleming and Skepper’s draft class will likely be the outlier in AFLW history after Year 12s were impacted by the decision to bring forward season seven and alter the competition running dates.
The AFL made the 2023 draft a “supplementary” edition where teams could select only players born 2004 or earlier to reset the system.
Fleming said the addition of Brisbane star Emily Bates into Hawthorn’s midfield had helped take her own game to a new level this season, along with work with coach Bec Goddard to improve her delivery into the forward line.
“Em (Bates) just sets the standard so high, as a leader and as a player she’s really lifted us as a team. Personally she’s helped me a lot, she wins a lot of the hard balls and is able to free me up a bit,” Fleming said.
“My role in the team is to use my weapon, using my burst as much as possible I think can help set the team up – the main message is linking with the forwards … I’ve been working on that a lot, just trying to make sure our forwards are getting good balls delivered which give them an opportunity to kick goals rather than scrambling for it.”
Originally published as AFLW 2023: Jasmine Fleming and Keeley Skepper claim Rising Star nominations