Worst kept secret confirmed as Port signs Scholz
THE AFLW’s worst kept secret has been confirmed today, with Port Adelaide nabbing the services of Matilda Scholz during the priority signing period. As part of this year’s concessions, the Power were assigned an underage signing requirement, with the stipulation that they must be a school leaver. Scholz fit the bill.
The Glenelg youngster is a highly talented ruck with outstanding athleticism, great mobility and high upside for the future. She is easily able to step straight up to the elite level, having played a full season with Glenelg in the SANFL Women’s last year.
Though Scholz had an interrupted preseason in 2023 due to wrist and hamstring injuries, the 187cm talent returned to the lineup for Round 2, and starred as Glenelg got up over the Eagles. Despite being underdone from a match fitness perspective and spending more time up forward and having plenty of rests, Scholz was still able to make her mark, particularly around the stoppages. Though not kicking a goal when forward, Scholz competed well each time, and often paved the way for others to impact on the scoreboard.
- Ruck craft
- Vertical leap
- Contested marking
- Scoreboard impact
From an AFLW draft profile perspective, Scholz has a bag of tricks that are rare for a tall. Her athleticism is her feature point, with a terrific vertical leap, and great mobility that allows her to be quite evasive against her opponents. She has the size that worries the opposition, and her natural ruck craft shines throughout her play. She has spent time forward for the Bays, and while that is still a work in progress, Scholz has also played in defence during the Under 17 Futures match last year.
In 2023, Scholz is able to focus fully on her football having finished school last year, and was named among the high achievers at Scotch College. By entering the elite level, Scholz follows in the footsteps of her mother, Peta Scholz (nee Squire) who represented Australia in netball on the international stage. Natural talent runs in her blood, and considering Scholz has not had a proper full preseason at Glenelg yet, there is plenty of untapped talent.
Though unavailable now to the South Australian draft pool at the end of the year, Scholz was set to feature highly in the Rookie Me Central Power Rankings. After top pick Lauren Young and reigning AFLW Under 18 Championships MVP Shineah Goody, Scholz was in the conversation for the next spot along with Glenelg teammate Piper Window and Norwood midfielder Molly Brooksby.
Though she has so much going for her, Scholz does need to have a clean run at it and build her endurance in order to run out full games consistently in the ruck. Though she will have the leap and mobility to potentially dominate plenty of rucks at the elite level, she will need to build that tank to sustain her advantage. Additionally, Scholz is a tall who does better at ground level than in the air when it comes to taking possession, with her contested marking a work in progress.
Clean below her knees and able to move like a midfielder at times, Scholz is a ruck of the future, in the present. The clear best ruck in the 2023 AFLW Draft pool, it made sense for Port Adelaide to select Scholz, who can come straight in and impact at AFLW level, with the teenager to have an even greater influence once she has got to work on her improvements. Without a doubt, the young gun is ready to make her mark on the big stage.
NATIONAL DRAFT RANGE (if available at year’s end): TOP 5