WAFLW 23 Under 23 in 2023: #13 Tyla Fitzgerald

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 #13 in Swan Districts forward/midfielder Tyla Fitzgerald.

#13 Tyla Fitzgerald (Swan Districts)

DOB: 23/03/2005
Height: 167cm
Position: Midfielder/Forward
Local club: High Wycombe

Swan Districts utility Tyla Fitzgerald looms as a key player in Western Australia’s midfield for 2023, as the valuable utility comes in at number 13 in our 23 Under 23 WAFL Women’s countdown. Not a massive high-production player, Fitzgerald knows where the goals are when inside 50, but among her peers, Fitzgerald slots on-ball more so than the forward 50.

Fitzgerald only played the one game at Rogers Cup level, ahead of the AFLW Under 18 Championships to remain match fit, which was during Swan Districts’ WAFL Women’s bye. She had a day out, recording a five-goal haul for the black and whites. Too good for Rogers Cup, Fitzgerald found the going tougher at senior level, kicking three goals in 13 games, including one match of 1.4 against West Perth in Round 11. Playing through the midfield at times, Fitzgerald averaged the 10.1 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 2.1 inside 50s to play a high half-forward role well.

At the AFLW Under 17 Championships in 2021, Fitzgerald showed she could be a clearance midfielder, averaging a couple of clearances to go with an average 21 disposals, four marks, five tackles and five inside 50s across two games. At Under 18s level last season, the bottom-ager averaged the 11.3 disposals, 2.0 inside 50s and 4.7 tackles. Even if she is not winning a heap of the ball, Fitzgerald’s defensive nous never wavers.

Though Fitzgerald is not the finished product yet, she has proven to be a handy player both through the midfield and up forward. If she can lift her game to have a sustained impact across matches and play predominantly midfield then go forward and kick a goal of two a game, she will be enticing for clubs at the elite level. One of the Sandgropers midfielders to watch this year at the national carnival which kicks off at the end of April.

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