Tarni White’s move to the midfield has been rewarded with her first selection in the AFL Players’ Association 22Under22 side.
The 22Under22 concept aims to recognise the best players in the competition aged 22 or under, with the initial 40-woman squad refined to a fan-voted team of 22 after a week-long voting period.
White was one of 10 first-time inductees to this year’s line-up, forming part of the six-woman interchange after being one of four Saints named in the previous season’s squad.
The 21-year-old averaged a career-best 13 possessions and seven tackles per game, closing out the year second only to Tilly Lucas-Rodd – even in light of playing one less game – in the Saints’ total clearances, tackles and inside-50s counts, as well as in the top-five for disposals, metres gained, marks and contested possessions.
After spending her first two seasons at St Kilda as an intercepting half-back, White’s self-admitted “tunnel vision” on breaking into the club’s on-ball brigade eventually came to fruition in 2022.
A single-minded pre-season on improving her running capacity was the first step in getting a look-in, with the subsequent unavailability of midfield staples Tyanna Smith and Georgia Patrikios cementing her importance in the Saints’ third AFLW campaign.
The Queensland native had played majority of her junior career for Wynnum and Coorparoo as a tenacious midfielder before landing at St Kilda with pick No. 30 at the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft.
White’s selection in the 22Under22 side adds to her initial, yet growing list of achievements at AFLW level, which include a NAB Rising Star nomination (2021) and successive top-10 finishes at St Kilda’s Best & Fairest (2020, 2021).
St Kilda's 22Under22 nominees
2020: Caitlin Greiser, Georgia Patrikios
2021: Georgia Patrikios
2022: Tarni White
2016: Tim Membrey
2017: Jack Billings
2018: Jade Gresham
2019: Jade Gresham
2020: Hunter Clark, Nick Coffield, Max King
2021: Max King