AFLW U18s Player Focus: Ella Smith (Queensland)
AS the sole Brisbane Lions Academy member in the AFL Women’s Academy, Ella Smith is one player hoping to build on a successful couple of pre-draft years. The inside midfielder has added extra elements to her game in 2022, with the hard-nosed inside contested ball-winning player spending time on the wing and outside to show she can be a dual threat. Though for this Player Focus, Smith stepped back into the inside role for the third round of the AFLW Under 18 Championships and impressed for Queensland
In today’s focus, it analyses Smith’s performance where she had 22 disposals – 18 kicks – three marks, four tackles, six clearances and three inside 50s to be among Queensland’s best on the day.
ELLA SMITH PROFILE
Position: Balanced Midfielder
2022 AFLW U18s Averages: (2 games)
2.0 inside 50s
AFLW U18s Round 3:
Queensland 4.7 (31) defeated Vic Country 2.8 (20)
Stats: 22 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 6 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
Ella Smith started the game in the middle and was clean by hand in close, and busy around the stoppages. She was able to begin accumulating the ball with a whopping seven touches in the first term. She seemed to be everywhere the ball was, as she really got cooking after a game on the outside three days earlier. Back in her usual contested role, she thrived, not only having the seven touches, but also grabbing three clearances, the only player on the ground with multiple clearances to-date.
Smith’s second term was the quietest of the lot with just the two touches and one mark, but she also spent time forward as part of the rotation through that deep Queensland midfield. With one of her two touches she did have a snap on goal that just fell short, showing she can have an impact when given the chance. She had a fourth clearance with her other touch, and headed into half-time with nine disposals, two tackles, four clearances and a behind.
Smith started to build again in the third term, having four kicks and taking her disposal total to 13. Unlike her first term where a lot of her touches came in close, she was able to have a couple of outside moves, even providing some run down the ground. She took the ball and then the game on, willing to back her speed in transition and showcase her ability to impact on the outside as well as inside.
With the game on the line, Smith had a ridiculous last term, amassing nine disposals. Her side held on after being just five points ahead at the final break, and Smith’s work to win critical disposals – particularly when the opposition had its share of touches through the middle – was a key reason why the team held and even won the quarter. Though a lot of Smith’s touches can often go unrewarded in terms of accolades due to them being so contested, but her influence on the game was certainly profound with more than 50 per cent of her disposals contested, and recording a 59 per cent disposal efficiency.
Ella Smith is a consistent, contested player who had a huge game in Queensland’s victory over Vic Country. In what was a great bounce back performance from not only her state, but from an individual perspective, Smith was able to impact both on the inside and outside throughout the game, and most importantly utilise her touches to best advantage her side. Smith is one to watch from a Brisbane Lions perspective having pieced together some consistent performances over the past couple of years.