Coates Talent League Player Focus: Willem Duursma

GIPPSLAND Power bottom-ager Willem Duursma kicked off his 2024 Coates Talent League season in style on Friday, contributing strongly to the Power’s 16-point win over Dandenong. The 191cm utility thrived in a relatively new role on the wing, showcasing all the upside he is already renowned for.

Willem is looking to become the fourth Duursma sibling to make it to the elite level via Gippsland’s pathway region, after elder brothers Xavier and Zane, and sister Yasmin. Already the tallest of his clan, when it’s all said and done, he may well also be regarded as the most talented.

Also a high level basketballer, Duursma is considered a very early pick one contender in the 2025 AFL Draft for his versatility, athletic upside, and notable skill. He’s the type of player who makes things look easy, and did so at times as our Round 2 Coates Talent League Player Focus.

Willem Duursma

Height: 191cm

Weight: -

DOB: 21-06-2007


2024 Coates Talent League: Round 2
Dandenong Stingrays 14.9 (93) def. by Gippsland Power 16.13 (109)

#7 Willem Duursma (Gippsland Power)
Stats: 21 disposals (13 kicks, 8 handballs), 7 marks, 5 inside 50s, 2 goals


Duursma started the match on the wing where he had an early impact. His strong application of forward pressure resulted in an affected Dandenong kick, which led to a Gippsland goal. His speed and agility were on display as he won a great ground ball and sped away from his opponent, pushing forward from centre wing. 

Clean possession in one-on-one contests, good evasion, and open lead options meant Duursma continued to be involved early on. His run and zip in transition is clearly among his strong suits, as his athleticism and composure came to the fore in key moments. 

After a four-minute spell, Duursma’s focused shifted towards a more defensive assisted role at half-back, cleaning up spillages as the ball got out the back of a contest. While he spilled a couple of marks after leaping too early and getting underneath the ball, Gippsland was never really punished. Most likely, he was blowing out the cobwebs in his first game of the season.


The second term was more of the same from Duursma. His handballs were clean and hit targets, he applied great tackling pressure, and showcased strong work rate which he has the stamina for. 

He attended two consecutive centre bounces in the middle of the quarter where he contested the ball well. While he was sucked into the contest a couple of times, he looked damaging with his speed on the outside.

A lot of open chances meant he gave the Power plenty of options and opportunities, and stopped a great counter attack with a rundown tackle in the corridor. Overall, a consistent and hard working first half.


Duursma’s abilities continued to shine out on the wing, where he could utilise his ability to cover ground and impact in each third.

Although, a run past the ball as well as a turned over kick in the middle of the ground meant he was sent for a spell for five minutes in the middle of the quarter to catch his breath.

After reentering the game, he regained the strong midfield pressure he had presented to that point and won yet another hard ground ball with clean hands. What followed was a bounce and a shrugged tackle to highlight his flair at 191cm. 

Good aerial awareness and a strategic stoppage presence resulted in reward for effort with a nice goal in another influential quarter from the wingman. 


Duursma took a more defensive approach to start the final term, with a couple of intercept marks helping relieve pressure.

At the other end of the ground, he was again rewarded with a goal for his strong running efforts between defence and attack. He leapt to the side of his Stingrays opponent to claim the ball, leading to an easy goalsquare conversion directly in front. 

Another centre bounce attendance and good ball use resulted in Duursma and Gippsland finishing the game out nicely, coming away with a hard fought 16-point win to start the season. 


Willem unsurprisingly seems to possess the same talents of his elder siblings (Xavier, Yasmin, and Zane) with his quick legs, natural athleticism and great game awareness altogether making him a deadly winger for the Power.

Duursma’s range and raw skills at 191cm make him a versatile prospect, not only in the air, but also in terms of game speed, contest strength, and free flowing defensive and forward pressure. All in all, he is a weapon in all parts of the ground. 

While he made a couple of turnovers in marking contests and miskicks to mainly two-on-one contests, its seemed Duursma was merely washing off the rust coming out of preseason and he quickly got into a good groove.

Overall, a very consistent and well fought game for Duursma as a bottom-ager. He could well end up being the best player in the Duursma clan, and potentially the top prospect in 2025 at this incredibly early stage.

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