2024 SANFLW Player Focus: Esther Schirmer (South Adelaide)

USUALLY a lockdown defender or a player who is able to play a negating role rather than an offensive one, South Adelaide top-ager Esther Schirmer produced a huge effort in the Panthers’ win over Glenelg on the weekend.

The draft-eligible defender clunked an incredible 12 marks – three contested – from 17 touches to be everywhere in the defensive half of the ground to stop the normally high-scoring Bays from kicking a goal in the match.

Esther Schirmer

Height: 177cm

Weight: -

DOB: 08-06-2006


2024 SANFL Women’s Round 5
South Adelaide 4.3 (27) defeated Glenelg 0.5 (5)

#23 Esther Schirmer (South Adelaide)
Stats: 17 disposals (10 kicks, 7 handballs), 12 marks (3 contested), 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50


Schirmer’s day started in an omen for the rest of the match, taking a mark in the defensive 50 and providing a neat short pass which proved effective. Not a massive ball-winner at the best of times, Schirmer is never short of defensive elements in her game.

In the sixth minute, she pressured an opponent via a tackle in the sixth minute, then won it herself and dished off the handball to a teammate on the outside of the defensive 50 contest. Moments after that effort, Schirmer took a safe mark in the pocket and did well to dispose of it cleanly.


Her second quarter really ramped up with the defender taking a strong intercept mark and then hitting the lateral pass in the defensive 50. Her work on Chloe Harding one-on-one midway through the term was outstanding as she worked her under the ball, took the mark and dished off by foot to a teammate.

Even outside the aerial contests, Schirmer was having an impact. She pushed up the ground to hold a high line and pressure an opponent inside her own attacking 50, then was found on the last line in the dying minutes of the half. She went back with the flight to clunk a goal-saving mark in the goalsquare and cleared the ball to the safety of the defensive 50 line.


Once again Schirmer started a quarter with a good mark, this time in the fifth minute where she won it in the middle and quickly dished off by hand to Nikki Nield. She would get a handball receive herself at half-forward later in the term and ran inside 50, though not usually one to have a shot on goal decided to hand off to an unsuspecting Brooke Boileau.

Though it looked like at the time that it had messed up a potential goal, the Panthers worked it forward, got it to Emily Brockhurst who kicked her third major of the contest. By the final break, Schirmer was up to 12 disposals and among the bigger ball-winners in the match.


Ready to finish off strong, Schirmer’s best was saved until last, starting with another goal-saving mark on the last line in defence. She was clean by foot, and then a few minutes later by hand, mopping up in defence well. She laid another strong tackle at half-back in the fifth minute to lock the ball inside the defensive 50 and allow the Panthers to set up defensively.

In the second half of the term, she clunked several marks including a great contested one on the wing. She took an intercept mark just inside the defensive 50 and chipped off laterally, then picked up a handball receive and gave off to the next player in the chain by hand. Her final involvement was a one-on-one with Poppy Scholz, and though she did go to ground, did well stopping her opponent taking it cleanly.


Schirmer starred in the Panthers’ win over Glenelg and is a player who seldom makes mistakes. Usually one to play a role on an opposing forward, Schirmer is not always the most damaging user, but she is reliably clean. She takes the safest options for ball retention for her side, and allows her team to set up both forward and behind the ball.

Her 17-disposal, 12-mark effort was clearly the best of her games thus far, and while she did intercept and provide rebound, it was often either deeper in defence with short kicking or handpasses, or higher up the field holding that high line.

She looms as a potential draft prospect, with a point of difference being her ability to shut down opponents, boasting good closing speed and a strong aerial presence, as shown by her performance on the weekend.

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