WAFLW 23 Under 23 in 2023: #23 Bella Edgley
AS PART of a new series leading into the 2023 Western Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s season, we count down 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 WAFL Women’s senior match and have never been on an AFL Women’s list. Today we begin our countdown at number #23 with Swan Districts tall Bella Edgley.
#23 Bella Edgley (Swan Districts)
Position: Key Defender
Local club: Coolbinia/Bellajura
Kick-starting our countdown is a developing tall out of Swan Districts in 19-year-old Bella Edgley. She has come through the West Australian pathways and represented the Sandgropers on a number of occasions, but has been a steadier developer to her peers.
Like many talls over the journey, Edgley was still honing her craft as an Under 18s talent, but she still showed signs inside 50. Back then, Edgley would have a high work rate and natural nous to get to the right spots, but not quite be able to pull down the mark.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Edgley has been able to become a consistent interceptor playing in defence. As so often happens with talls at junior level, once they have maxed out their knowledge base at one end, they go to the other to learn more and then can adapt it in whatever role they play on gameday.
Edgley is a regular rebounder who mopped up in defence for the Swans, either via mark, or handball receive. Her development from 17 and 18 years-old to 19 and soon-to-be 20 years-old in May, has been noticeable. That includes in her height, where she grew six centimetres in the space of 18 months to be a genuine key position talent.
Averaging around 13 disposals and three marks per game for Swan Districts last season, Edgley was one of the more prominent over-agers in the WAFL Women’s. She played an underrated role in a reliable defence, and helped lead the Swans to a preliminary final.
Her work rate has never been an issue, and given she has developed other areas of her game – mainly her marking and production – the rebounding defender should be considered in the mix as a potential readymade talent.
In 2023, Edgley has remained at Swan Districts despite the entrance of East Perth – her junior zoned club – entering the WAFL Women’s, and she will once again be an important cog in the black and white’s defence. Be it in the air, or scrounging at ground level for the ball, she earns her place on this countdown as one to keep an eye on for the future, particularly if she has a strong season at state level.