PIECING together an incredibly consistent season, Lana Schwerdt has improved her draft stocks exponentially in 2022. The Norwood onballer has a nice balance of offensive and defensive traits, and since a quiet first couple of games to the season, has been incredibly reliable through the midfield. In her last eight games, Schwerdt has averaged 21.5 disposals, 3.3 inside 50s and 3.9 clearances, winning the bulk of her ball in contested situations. Though not overly tall, Schwerdt could never be denied from having a crack each and every week.
Over the journey, Schwerdt’s hardness has been recognised, winning the Ellen Maple Medal for the Redlegs against Sturt last year, and then this year, earning her place in the successful South Australian side at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. There, Schwerdt averaged 20.0 disposals, 7.0 tackles, 2.7 clearances and booted two goals, rotating between midfield and forward. She play inside, outside or up forward, showcasing her versatility for both Norwood and the Croweaters.
In the final regular season SANFLW Player Focus, Schwerdt earned the attention following another strong game, this time in the loss to South Adelaide. In a tough defeat for the Redlegs that saw them slip out of the top four and miss finals, Schwerdt was one of the more consistent players, picking up 22 disposals, and having five clearances, five inside50s and laying five tackles.
State: South Australia
ROUND 12 VS SOUTH ADELAIDE: (2022 AVE)
Disposals: 22 (19.2)
Marks: 0 (2.1)
Tackles: 5 (5.8)
Clearances: 5 (3.7)
Inside 50s: 5 (2.8)
QUARTER BY QUARTER VS SOUTH ADELAIDE:
Lana Schwerdt started off her day in typical fashion, winning a free kick for hitting the contest hard. Her subsequent kick, whilst not pinpoint, was to a dangerous spot inside 50. She applied another good pressure act a couple of minutes later with a smother attempt also bumping her opponent as she kicked it. She won an additional free kick for being taken high at the nine-minute mark of the term, kicking down the line to hit up Leah Cutting at half-back.
Schwerdt continued to win the ball throughout the term, continually getting hands to it first at stoppages, but quite often being tackled almost immediately. She had another few kicks to finish the term, but it included a half-smothered kick going inside 50, and a long kick down the line that was picked off by the opposition. Though not a massive start, Schwerdt was credited with four touches in the first term.
Schwerdt’s second quarter saw her fire out a quick handball to a teammate in the opening 30 seconds to release a kick inside 50. Though she did not win a ton of it over the next five minutes, Schwerdt was able to burrow in hard at the eight-minute mark of the term, earning another free kick at centre half-back and kick directly down the ground to the advantage of the flying Alana Lishmund. Shortly after, she showed clean hands at ground level giving it off to Cutting whilst on the deck, then had another handball at the next contest as well.
Schwerdt’s pressure never wained, with the aggressive midfielder laying a strong tackle inside 50 to lock it in the Redlegs’ attacking half, then was unlucky to be pinged for a throw in the middle a few minutes later. She went for a mark at the 14-minute mark of the term, but it just slipped through her fingers in the pouring rain at half-back. She did take a good mark a couple of minutes later around the same position and kicked long down the line.
The third term was a little quieter for the midfielder, but more so due to being tackled almost immediately each time. She would get to the right spots around the stoppage, but be descended upon before she could dispose of it. When she did have a split second, she would dispose of it cleanly by hand, such as the eight-minute mark of the quarter. She had a couple of quick kicks including a rushed one three minutes into the term, then kicked long inside 50 midway through the quarter. She continued to crack in, and by the final break had 15 disposals to her name.
Finishing with a big quarter, Schwerdt amassed seven disposals in the term where Norwood needed to throw everything at South Adelaide. She still had a number of almost-touches with a quick grab before being tackled, though did get the handball away cleanly at the three-minute mark well. She laid another good tackle to force a stoppage midway through the term at centre half-back, and then continued to burrow in and win the contested ball.
She released a quick handball in the defensive 50 as she was slung in a tackle then almost took a good mark with a few minutes to play but it just slipped through her hands. Schwerdt finished the term with a free kick for being taken high and kicked to a dangerous spot inside 50 towards Lishmund, before quickly rushing a kick that proved effective to Jade Halfpenny who had a split second to kick a goal but could not connect and was dispossessed.
CLOSING THOUGHTS …
Lana Schwerdt was recently ranked just outside the Top 30 in our AFLW Draft Power Rankings for May. She is a player who has some really nice traits both on the inside and outside, as well as the versatility to go forward, be creative and have an impact. She cracks in hard, is not afraid to put her body on the line, and can equally find space to receive as well. Schwerdt is a rising talent who still has areas to improve – such as her consistency in disposal – but when she is on, she can be a really damaging player, particularly around the stoppages.