Injury-free run the goal for Anderson

TOP-AGE South Australian talent Melissa Anderson has not had the easiest time on the field of late, with the South Adelaide 17-year-old spending more time off it, than on it. Unable to crack into South Adelaide’s side due to injuries, Anderson has been cutting her teeth at local level for Flagstaff Hill, but still caught the eye of the State Academy selectors in the recent 2022 South Australian Country Championships.

As her Southern region went on to win the women’s competition, Anderson was a key player in there, and earned a place in the State Academy for 2023. Unlike many of her peers, the midfielder has been unable to test herself against the best players in the state, but is hoping to change that this year.

“I’ve had the few injuries come up along the way so it’s been hard doing the rehab, getting back into it, working around everything else that I’ve had,” Anderson said. “It’s been a really good footy journey. I think this year has probably been my best year. Got to experience country champs, win that premiership, come back and then get invited out to South which I think is really good for a 17-year-old.”

Worrying the opposition with a balance of determination and athleticism, Anderson is a dual threat on-field. The teenager describes herself as either a “furious” ball magnet, or an athletic type who wants to run, with that athleticism and her vertical leap among her best traits.

Realising she has not been able to measure up against South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s opponents due to her injuries, Anderson said she was constantly learning tips and tricks as how to improve areas of her game.

“At the moment I’m working on my short kicks because I’m a person who can kick it long but my short 45s probably not my strongest,” she said. “Then I reckon I could improve on my tackles. I think just coming from a club and then going to a SANFL club, there’s different ways to describe how they want their tackling. I think just learning and developing the way that South want it and inputting it into my own gameplay.”

Looking up to Tayla Harris as both a player and person, Anderson is hoping to crash some of her own packs in the upcoming SANFL Women’s season. For now, the AFLW Draft hopeful is taking it one step at a time, and is just keen to get on the field and have some continuity in her game.

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