SANFLW 23 Under 23 in 2023: #11 Lana Schwerdt
AS PART of a new countdown series leading into the 2023 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season, we will name 23 players to watch who are under 23. We are only looking at those players who were born January 1, 2000 or later, have played a SANFL Women’s senior match and have never been on an AFL Women’s list. Today we are up to number #11 and it is tough midfielder, Norwood’s Lana Schwerdt.
#11 Lana Schwerdt (Norwood)
Local club: Glenunga Rams
Just outside our Top 10 is a player unlucky not to land on an AFL Women’s list last season, in eligible Adelaide father-daughter, Lana Schwerdt. The tough inside midfielder got a taste for playing forward last season, and though she was able to perform strongly enough, she still went without an AFLW club. In 2023, with a potential return to the midfield and another season of improvement, the 18-year-old Schwerdt is one to certainly watch this year.
The highest ranked player in our AFL Women’s Draft Power Rankings who was left on the board, Schwerdt has proven herself of a number of years as a player who offers plenty to the Redlegs. She is as courageous as they come, makes good decisions with ball-in-hand and can win it inside or outside the contest. Her work rate and defensive pressure have never come into question, and she is well balanced and composed when she does have it. In 2022, she improved her versatility, especially for South Australia.
Throughout the SANFL Women’s season, Schwerdt still averaged an impressive 19.2 disposals, 2.1 marks, 3.7 clearances, 5.8 tackles, 2.8 inside 50s and booted three goals from 10 games. Then when she represented the tri-colours, Schwerdt averaged 20.0 disposals, 1.3 marks, 2.7 clearances and a whopping 7.0 tackles, while kicking two goals in three games playing largely forward. A natural inside midfielder, Schwerdt can play on the outside, but her balance and defensive pressure make her justifiably more impactful at the coalface.
Schwerdt has areas to improve on, with her kicking consistency, aerial ability and explosive speed all ways she can further develop in 2023. Though she might have missed out at first time of asking, as the AFL Women’s has shown time and time again, the door is never fully closed. For now the midfielder will focus in on her Norwood duties, and add to a strong midfield unit that has developed over the years. With an exciting young core, expect Schwerdt to play another key role this season, which is why she has made it into our countdown.