SANFLW 23 Under 23 in 2023: #9 Charlotte Riggs

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 #9 and it is Central District talented tall, Charlotte Riggs.

#9 Charlotte Riggs (Central District)

DOB: 02/11/2006
Height: 178cm
Position: Key Defender / Ruck
Local club: Angle Vale

Continuing the trend of bottom-age talents in the SANFL Women’s, Riggs is certainly a player who continued to get better throughout the 2022 season. After being a raw, but naturally gifted tall, Riggs was handed some big roles in defence last year, and then would roll through the ruck at times, far from an easy task for a 15-year-old.

Her form at the level earned her a spot in the South Australian AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships side, where she was able to crack in against Western Australia and pick up five disposals, 13 hitouts and three clearances, suggesting she is comfortable against high quality opponents. At SANFL Women’s level, Riggs averaged the 10.1 disposals, 2.5 marks, 2.3 rebound 50s and 3.7 hitouts, showcasing her impressive vertical leap, and strong hands for a youngster.

Her consistency was still not quite there, but the fact she is a young, developing tall, is something one can easily overlook, particularly in the face of obvious talent and athleticism. Against Woodville-West Torrens Eagles in Round 7, Riggs had a season-high 17 touches, as well as seven marks – two contested – and three rebound 50s. A couple of weeks later, she almost repeated the feat against West Adelaide, getting in some impressive efforts in the backend of the year.

In 2023, Riggs has another full year of pure development, not eligible to be drafted until 2024, but is one of a number of incredibly talented bottom-agers set to stake their claims at the national championships. With fellow Bulldogs young gun Georgia McKee out for the season, it gives Riggs a chance to stand up – albeit in a different role given their significant height difference – and continue the upward trajectory from her debut season.

Riggs comes in at number nine for our countdown because of her combination of natural athleticism, marking ability and high upside, with the 178cm tall set to only get better. She might end up rolling through the ruck even more in 2023 in the absence of Isabelle Starmer, but has the potential to take the competition by the scruff of the neck with her presence around the ground.

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