WAFLW Player Focus: Zippy Fish (East Fremantle)

ONE of the top AFLW Draft prospects for next year, East Fremantle bottom-ager Zippy Fish announced her big game potential with an incredible best on ground display in the WAFLW Grand Final. In arguably the best – or certainly most important – performance of her career, Fish was simply dominant through the midfield and all over the ground to be awarded the Lou Knitter Medal.

Amassing seven more disposals than anyone else on the ground and 14 more than anyone else on her team, Fish finished the day with 26 touches, three marks, seven tackles and four inside 50s. Aside from her outstanding statline, she created multiple goalscoring opportunities, and was the subject of our WAFLW Player Focus for the grand final.

2023 WAFLW Grand Final
East Fremantle 4.2 (26) def. Claremont 2.2 (14)

STATS: 26 disposals (16 kicks, 10 handballs), 3 marks, 7 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 frees for, 1 behind


It took only seconds for Fish to get involved in the game, starting in the middle and soccering it off the deck to her own advantage, before following up to get a handball away well driving it forward for the first inside 50. Less than a minute later she marked just outside the 50 and set a pinpoint pass to Chloe Reilly at the top of the goalsquare to set up the opening goal of the day.

After applying good pressure through the middle in the opening minutes, Fish won the ball and dished off a clean handball in the middle at the seven-minute mark, but her best was to come later in the term. At the 13-minute mark, she won the ball at speed and sidestepped an opponent. The traffic was a little too dense and her kick was smothered, but she then backed up with a tackle, winning a free kick.

With that free kick, Fish delivered another elite pass to Georgie Cleaver‘s advantage on the lead. Her final attempt at a touch was in the 15th minute, when Fish flew for a mark at half-back to intercept, but could not quite take it through contact. Her competitiveness in the air despite being a lighter body was admirable.


In the fourth minute of the term, Fish won the ball and was able to stand up in a tackle, getting the handball away cleanly. She would spend some time helping out in defence, kicking out of the defensive 50 off the left, albeit in a rare scrappy style.

At half-forward, Fish had a number of touches midway through the quarter, with a deep kick going inside 50 off a handball receive – which was intercepted – and then a quick kick along the ground forward which proved effective.

In the 11th minute, Fish won it and burst away, though was run-down and force to handball away quickly. Just 30 seconds later she put her body on the line and was crunched between two players. After a break, she came on and found the ball at a stoppage but was immediately dispossessed on the edge of half-time.


Finding her first touch in the back pocket off a stoppage, Fish was tackled but still got the handball away again, showing her clean and quick hands under pressure. In the seventh minute of the term, she marked at half-back and delivered a piercing ball down the ground.

Already having a couple of courageous attempts, Fish had another in a marking contest, going back with the flight, then won it off a spill and again produced an elite long kick to Reilly on the wing off a step. In the 11th minute of the term, she won the ball at half-forward and then at the next stoppage won it again to dish off to Larissa Versaci for a kick inside 50.

Almost hitting the scoreboard herself, Fish had an opportunity at the 14 and a half minute mark of the term, bursting from a stoppage and having to chuck it on her non-preferred left, before running onto it. She had a little more time than she thought though and blazed away with a flying shot that just went wide while Mylee Leitch was alone in the goalsquare.


Though Fish might have missed the opportunity late in the third term, she would quickly set up a goal to Leitch, winning it via hand off Anjelique Raison from a forward stoppage, throwing it on the left to snap around her body and hit up Leitch in front in the goalsquare. Her teammate would play on and kick the match-winning goal.

In the fourth minute, Fish marked at half-forward, played on by sidestepping her opponent then kicking to the space in the forward pocket. Shortly after, she went for a mark, could not hold it, but followed up with a handball. She won it back for a second effort and handballed away as she was bumped. An opponent accidentally soccered the ball out of bounds, and she also had the last touch which she kicked long down the ground.

After coming off for a break, she returned to the ground midway through the quarter and almost won a touch at a stoppage on the wing but it cruelly bounced away from her. In the 13th minute, she read the tap off hands brilliantly in defence and bombed it long out of the danger zone. She did that again in the final minute, able to kick 40m on her non-preferred in her last touch of the game.


Zippy Fish produced an outstanding performance on the biggest stage. She was indisputably the best on ground and showed why she is one of the top AFLW Draft prospects for next year. With speed and skill, Fish has a wide array of weapons at her disposal and is a headache – and will be a headache for years to come – for any opposition coach.

Though she is only small compared to some midfielders, she holds her own and is as courageous as they come. While Western Australia has a lot of gifted players in next year’s crop, Fish has well and truly elevated herself up above the rest and will be a prominent player in her state’s remaining two AFLW Under 18 Championship matches.

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