AFLW U18s Player Focus: Ella Roberts (Western Australia)

ONE player who came into the 2022 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships with higher expectations than anyone else was reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ella Roberts. The potential top pick not only earned the gong as top player of last year’s Under 19s tournament as a 16-year-old, but also won All-Australian honours, something she will do again as Western Australia’s MVP for the second consecutive year.

Today’s Player Focus looks at her final performance during Western Australia’s nail-biting five-point win over the Allies at Avalon Airport Oval yesterday, where she had 21 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and booted 2.2 in another outstanding effort.

Picture credit: WAFL


DOB: 17/12/2004
Height: 175cm
Position: Tall Forward/Midfielder
Club: Peel Thunder

2022 WAFLW Averages: (3 games)

22.3 disposals
6.0 marks
2.7 tackles
1.7 clearances
5.3 inside 50s
1.3 goals

AFLW U18s Round 3:

Western Australia 7.4 (46) defeated Allies 6.5 (41)

Stats: 21 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles, 2 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 goals, 2 behinds


First Quarter

The talented top pick tried her best in the opening term, and was often up against it in attack, with the Allies defence very aware of her capabilities and trying not to allow her to get an easy jump at the ball. The pressure up the field made delivery inside 50 also difficult. In true Ella Roberts style, she made her own luck by laying a fantastic tackle 15m out on a sharp angle. Her shot into a tricky breeze uncharacteristically hit the post, but it would not be long before she struck gold. Leading out well ,she took a terrific leaping mark, then nailed the set shot to get on the board, having four disposals, two marks and a goal in the opening term.

Second Quarter

Roberts continued her incredible work in the second term, having an early snap on goal at the seven-minute mark of the term, with the shot sailing through. Unfortunately for her, she was denied the goal, with a holding free kick going the way of the Allies. She continued to work hard to win deft touches in the term, and had an elite clean pickup off the deck and quick handball inside 50 in the final few minutes. Another clean pick up just two minutes later saw her burst through a pack and slot home her second to have two of the Sandgropers’ three goals to the main break.

Ella Roberts accepting her second successive MVP award at the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships. Picture credit: Rookie Me Central

Third Quarter

Statistically the third term was her quietest term with just three touches and one mark, but she still made the most of those few touches. She had a flying shot on goal that just bounced the wrong side of the post, and took a huge mark in the defensive 50 just before the three quarter time siren. Her clean hands and defensive pressure remained high, and was unlucky to be pinged for incorrect disposal on the wing .

Fourth Quarter

The fourth term was where Roberts came to play. With scores level, Roberts stepped up to the plate, moving into the midfield and having a couple of huge efforts. At the 13-minute mark, she charged down the wing and set up a goal to Jordain Thompson, and later on took a huge contested grab at half-forward in the dying minutes to steady the team down with the Allies trying to hit back. She finished the term with eight disposals and three marks, but just her big moment plays such as the run, and the pack mark showed her confidence to be the player to take the game by the scruff of the neck and win it for her side.

Closing Thoughts…

Ella Roberts is the standout player in this year’s AFLW Draft crop. She remains the star given her ability to stand up in crucial moments and never have a bad game. Her offensive and defensive traits are outstanding, and she thoroughly deserved a second MVP award. For the record, she kicked at an efficient 64.2 per cent, the same amount of her possessions found in a contest. She will head back to Peel Thunder to finish off the season there as they strive to win their third straight flag.

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