WAFLW 23 Under 23 in 2023: #19 Matilda Dyke
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 #19, Claremont tall Matilda Dyke.
#19 Matilda Dyke (Claremont)
Local club: Narrogin
Turning 21 later this month, Matilda Dyke is a mature-age tall prospect who could be immediate relief for a club searching for a readymade talent. Though only standing at 181cm – after being 174cm during the 2021 AFLW Under 18 Championships – Dyke is a player who offers a unique skillset in the ruck role, after being trialled in key positions previously. At Claremont, Dyke stepped up to play a key role – averaging 9.4 disposals, 1.2 marks, 10.3 hitouts, 2.9 tackles and 1.1 inside 50s, working as a “fourth midfielder”.
Though often outsized, Dyke does have a high aerobic capacity and a strong vertical leap, taking on players who might have extra centimetres on her. Even if she does lose the hitout, once the ball hits the deck, she is quick to recover and able to get it out quickly. She works hard around the ground and can filter into other positions, with her overhead marking and reading of the play among her bigger strengths.
Prior to her ruck role, Dyke played as a key defender, often filling the hole and intercepting, or out-bodying a forward with her strength. Her consistency was always an area to improve as a junior, but following an impressive overage campaign for Western Australia at the national championships, Dyke earned an AFLW Draft Combine invite. Though overlooked, the key area to improve was with her disposal, mainly her kicking.
Coach Jack Schwarze said Dyke has been fiercely determined to improve that facet of her game, and appealed to clubs that she would be worth taking a punt on in the Overage Draft this year. Dyke was able to impress for the Tigers during the win over the NTFL Women’s All-Stars side a fortnight ago, and is earmarked to be that number one ruck at the Tigers this season if not picked up. If Dyke can get a couple of games in prior to that draft and show her wares consistently in the role, then she would be every chance to be a strong mature-age option in the ruck.