WAFL Player Focus: Daniel Curtin (Claremont)

SWINGMEN are among the most highly sought after talents come draft time, and Claremont’s Daniel Curtin certainly fits that bill. What’s more, the 195cm prospect has further showcased his versatility this season with stints in the midfield.

The Tigers’ Colts skipper returned arguably his best performance for the year to date, playing almost exclusively on-ball in his side’s win over East Perth on Saturday. We put his phenomenal Round 5 performance under the Player Focus microscope.

Daniel Curtin

Height: 197cm

Weight: 95kg

DOB: 08-03-2005


A highly touted prospect for many years now, Curtin burst onto the representative stage with starring performances for Western Australia’s Under 17 side, playing as a bottom-aged key defender in 2021.

Naturally, he made his WAFL Colts debut in 2022 and went on to solidify his status as a big game player, named best afield in last year’s Futures showcase on AFL Grand Final day – again, in defence.

Curtin earned the honour of being Claremont’s Colts captain this season and was named in the National Academy for a second-straight intake, further proving his credentials as a genuine top-end talent.


2023 WAFL Colts Round 5
Claremont 9.11 (65) def. East Perth 6.8 (44)

#7 Daniel Curtin (Claremont)
Stats: 26 disposals (20 kicks, 6 handballs), 18 contested possessions, 3 marks, 11 tackles, 12 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 1 behind


Potentially making the rest of his game even more impressive, Curtin was rather quiet in the opening 20 minutes or so on Saturday. He attended the very first centre bounce and was present at three of four for the term, though struggled to have any significant impact at stoppage.

The soggy conditions and wet pill were his downfall on a couple of ground ball attempts, and Curtin seemed to saunter around the ground until he started to get his hands on the ball, slowly growing in confidence. Though if all else proved difficult, at least his kicking was on point from the get-go.

Curtin clunked an intercept mark and moved the play on quickly at each opportunity, capping off the quarter with a beautiful forward 50 entry to hit Sam van Rooyen on the lead. All up, it was a steady start which yielded five disposals (all kicks) and a couple of marks.


Curtin came to life in the second quarter, racking up 10 touches to lead all comers at half time. He was present at four of six centre bounces and Claremont lost both of the restarts he was absent for, proving his importance in the midfield battle.

His wand of a left foot came to the fore with another lovely pass to the leading van Rooyen, as Curtin looked the most likely Tiger to lace out a forward target in poor conditions. He also displayed terrific composure on defensive 50 exits, drawing opponents and assessing his options before going by foot.

After starting the term with five kicks, Curtin ended with a handful of handballs and three came in one chain of possessions. The big-bodied ball winner bustled his way forward with repeat efforts, using his size and strength to gain metres. 

On top of his greater production level and clean work in possession, Curtin also improved his defensive application and showed more intent in the clinches. It was becoming apparent that the top-ager had found his groove, beginning to showcase the talent that everyone knows he has.

Dan Curtin celebrates a goal | Image Credit: Claremont FC


After dominating for large parts of the first half, Claremont began to fall behind in the contested ball stakes during term three and it showed on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Curtin added five touches to take his tally to 20 all up, often acting as the go-to receiver at stoppage.

The Royals were hot on his hammer, but Curtin adjusted nicely and tightened his handling to reel in half-volleys and take the ball one-handed under pressure. He continued to break tackles too, including one instance while resting up forward in the last few minutes.


As was the case in the first term, Curtin closed out the game with a quarter full of kicks, ending as the top disposal winner afield with 26. He also won a series of clearances to total 12 for the match, making for some serious stoppage impact – mostly around the ground.

Curtin again started in midfield but also spent another good stint in attack, where he had a wheeling shot from the top of attacking 50 sail through for a behind. Other than that, his kicking was sound and he rounded out a strong game with aplomb.


It seems Curtin has added another string to his bow, proving himself as a full-time midfielder on Saturday. He was pegged for plenty of time in attack this year but van Rooyen stamped himself as Claremont’s spearhead, and Curtin has been made to find form elsewhere.

The latest change in role resulted in arguably Curtin’s best performance for the season, and many are still of the impression that he plays his best football as a key defender. Though, at 195cm, he is clean on the inside as a primary tap target and uses the ball beautifully on his favoured left foot.

His athleticism is also impressive and while he didn’t shift gears all that often in the early stages, the talented teen began to use his size to burst forward of the contest and break from inside to outside. Once in space, Curtin’s kicking shines and he has obvious class.

As an on-baller, and even at either end of the ground, Curtin could perhaps compound his impact with more contested marking presence. The conditions made such acts difficult in Round 5, but Curtin didn’t seem to fly with much confidence or intent, and needs to do so to take games by the scruff of the neck.

Prone to a quiet game every now and then, it was clear that Curtin just needed a bit of confidence to elevate his game and begin to play like the top talent he is. Going forward, midfield minutes could be a handy pinch-hitting option, though Curtin’s potential as a genuine key position prospect is undeniable.

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