VFLW Player Focus: Ellie Cleland (Williamstown)
RECRUITED out of Melbourne’s Eastern Football Netball League, Williamstown’s Ellie Cleland is only new to the VFLW competition this year, However, not even a full season into her VFLW career she already looks like she belongs at this level.
Final Stats vs Carlton
Cleland is one of those players that really flies under the radar. She is a midfielder that does not do anything flashy, but when she gets the ball in her hand she is impactful.
Her Player Focus will look specifically at her efforts last weekend in Williamstown’s draw with Carlton.
The midfielder’s 14 disposal game in the game against the Blues showed all that watched the match some skills she has been showing at local level for years.
Cleland is strong in the contest, and is not afraid to bash through a pack.
She can handball a decent distance, although it is not always the strongest of disposals.
She did give away a free for out on the full in the third term, but it was a wobbly kick almost off the side of the boot with absolutely zero control in it.
It was in the fourth quarter however when Cleland started to make a real impact on the game.
Cleland did some strong tackles in defence which stopped some forward progression from the Blues.
She did give away a holding the ball free, but her efforts later in the quarter more then rectified that error.
Late in the quarter, Carlton were ahead and trying to run it out of defence, but Cleland’s defensive pressure, even without touching the Carlton defender, put enough doubt in the defender’s mind to run too far with the ball. Cleland then took the resulting free kick and converted truly. It looked a simple kick off the boot, but it was done in very blustery conditions down at Williamstown, so was not as straight forward as it seemed. It also showed how good she is at judging conditions and adapting accordingly.
Now although only in her first year at VFLW level, AFLW recruiters would be silly not to take a look at her. She is only young, so has plenty of time left in her football career. The fact that she is playing for a lower ranked side may not do her any favours when trying to reach the next level, but she has already proven she is a solid, reliable midfielder who just does her job.