SANFLW 24 to Watch in 2024: Ruby Ballard

BACK for another year, Rookie Me Central’s 24 to Watch in 2024 returns and this time around, the focus is on underage players, being those who are yet to have an AFLW Draft chance. For the list of 2024, it will range between players who are predominantly 2006 (top-age) and 2007-born talents likely to take the SANFL Women’s by storm or set themselves up for the future.

She might be short in stature, but like her sister Abbie, Ruby Ballard packs a punch whether she plays inside 50 or between the arcs. Though bearing some similarities to her sister – particularly in her defensive pressure and smarts, Ballard also has some differentials to her sister which she has shown over the last couple of seasons.


DOB: 07/11/2006
Height: 155cm
Position: Forward/Midfielder
Club: West Adelaide


Coming into her top-age season, Ballard remains a player to watch, particularly in regards to her state level campaign. She played all three games last year, predominantly forward, and clunked three marks per match from 11 disposals, an incredible effort for a 155cm talent. She brings plenty of defensive heat around the contest, also averaging 2.7 tackles at the same national carnival, but her ability to keep the ball moving forward (3.0 inside 50s per game)) and also convert her chances (two goals) were on show.

A team-first oriented player, Ballard is perhaps a little more well rounded than her sister at the same age, and while Abbie was known for her deadly left boot, Ruby is more even across the board and developing at a fast rate. They share their love for tackling, with Ruby laying a massive 66 tackles from 11 SANFLW games last season, an average of six per match for the Bloods.

Strong overhead for her size, Ballard can outmuscle taller opponents in the air or at ground level and has the potential room for growth in her execution. A hard worker who covers the ground brilliantly well, Ballard has the traits to slot into multiple positions. She might be short, but like her sister has shown at the elite level, if you are good enough, you’re tall enough, and Ballard has the tricks and smarts to take her game a long way.


>> Shae Archbold (South Adelaide)
>> Asha Dufour (West Adelaide)
>> Coby Morgan (Norwood)
>> Esther Schirmer (South Adelaide)
>> Emma Kilpatrick (West Adelaide)
>> Lily Baxter (South Adelaide)
>> Grace Martin (Woodville-West Torrens)
>> Laela Ebert (North Adelaide)
>> Steph Tredwell (West Adelaide)
>> Matilda Wilmore (Glenelg)
>> Charli Hazelhurst (Norwood)
>> Chloe Tonkin (West Adelaide)
>> Imogen Trengove (Woodville-West Torrens)

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