WAFLW 23 Under 23 in 2023: #21 Jess Cox
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 continue our countdown at number #21 with Swan Districts captain, Jessica Cox.
#21 Jess Cox (Swan Districts)
Local club: Merredin
Though injury ultimately put Swan Districts captain Jess Cox’s season on ice in 2022, the consistent leader and reigning best and fairest winner still managed 10 games for the black and whites. Standing at 168cm, Cox is a powerful midfielder who has been thereabouts when talking about the most reliable and tough inside midfielders in the WAFL Women’s. Still only 21 – soon to be 22 – Cox is someone who offers immediate relief for an elite level club if she fits a need.
Averaging 20.2 disposals, 3.3 marks and 5.1 tackles, Cox has also found herself playing outside the contest as well, adding greater versatility to her inside role that she has grown up playing. Boasting one of the stronger frames through the competition but with a high work rate, Cox stands as a unique player among her peers. Unlike many strong inside midfielders, Cox has an elite kick that is not just able to hit targets over short distances, but nail them over long ones.
In recent times, the elite level has looked towards explosive players, but Cox offers a point of difference with her foot skills, leadership and decision making. A captain of the club at such a young age, it is easy to forget Cox has come through the West Australian pathways. Since hitting the WAFL Women’s, Cox has been a natural ball-winner and contested beast, playing 48 games in the four seasons since the competition has been rebranded.
Looking ahead to 2023, Cox is someone who is one of the more readymade midfielders in the competition, but still has youth on her side. Determined in her pursuit of being the best footballer she can be, no doubt the Swan Districts leader will leave nothing to chance to continue to work on areas of her game that could take her to the next level. Her teammates will also enjoy her back out there, having missed the last few games and finals due to injury.