SANFLW 23 Under 23 in 2023: #5 Matilda Scholz

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 #5 it is a second consecutive Glenelg talent in ruck, Matilda Scholz.

#5 Matilda Scholz (Glenelg)

DOB: 29/04/2005
Height: 187cm
Position: Ruck
Local club: Goodwood Saints

There is never any shortage of midfielders running around in any given AFL Women’s draft crop, but the standout tall – at least from a ruck perspective – is Glenelg tall Matilda Scholz. The daughter of former Australian international netballer Peta Scholz (nee Squire), Scholz is a top-age talent who had a fantastic debut season at SANFL Women’s last year. As a bottom-ager who missed out on playing in the Bays’ 2021 flag, Scholz shouldered the ruck load as a 16 to 17-year-old and played all 11 games she was available for when not on state duty.

Averaging 9.9 disposals, 1.5 marks, 2.3 tackles and 2.0 clearances, her tap work was particularly outstanding, registering 24 hitouts per match. Her additional height of 187cm helped her, with many opponents being five or more centimetres shorter. Unlike some rucks of her height, Scholz has the athleticism to jump, which makes her near unstoppable when she can time her leap, and lead her to earning a spot on the interchange for the 2022 AFL Women’s Under 18 All-Australian team.

In that national carnival, Scholz averaged 12.5 disposals, 19.5 hitouts and 1.5 marks, standing up to suggest she will be a highly sought after prospect in 2023. Playing alongside younger sister Poppy – more of a 180cm wing – Scholz did not do too much wrong as she learned on the go against senior bodies at the top state level. In 2023, Scholz is expected to play a similar role through the ruck, and look to take full advantage of everything she has learnt, and even go forward to try and hit the scoreboard.

Earning a place in the AFL Women’s Academy, Scholz has been earmarked as a top tall in this year’s AFLW Draft. Her ruck work is the standout trait, but she can certainly get her hands dirty at ground level when required, while providing a target around the ground. If she can get forward and hit the scoreboard more often, then she could become a dual threat, and all the more damaging. Either way, a clear standout to kick-start our Top 5 countdown.

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