2024 WAFLW Player Focus: Juliet Kelly (Claremont)

BOTTOM-age talent Juliet Kelly produced a breakout game for the Tigers in their massive win over East Perth on the weekend, rotating between half-back and midfield. Though best known for her feats behind the ball, she worked hard to get forward on this occasion, kicking two goals from 25 disposals and having a massive influence throughout the four quarters.

Not notably a huge ball-winner, Kelly returned from a two-game stint back at Rogers Cup level to equal her previous best on 25 touches against Peel Thunder back in Round 8. Her two goals were the first of her WAFLW career.

Claremont-logoClaremontMidfielder, Medium Defender

Juliet Kelly

Height: 173cm

Weight: -

DOB: 28-07-2007


2024 WAFL Women’s: Round 16
Claremont 15.14 (104) defeated East Perth 0.2 (2)

#33 Juliet Kelly (Claremont)
Stats: 25 disposals (15 kicks, 10 handballs) 7 marks (1 contested), 8 tackles, 3 clearances, 8 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 goals, 1 behind


Claremont simply dominated the opening seven minutes, piling on multiple goals and not allowing East Perth to get it past halfway. That made it difficult for Kelly to get involved playing off half-back, but she did feature with a mark at half-back at the seven-minute mark where she delivered a nice pass to the wing.

Kelly followed up that disposal by pushing into the middle and taking another mark, and switching to the other side of the ground. Shortly after she laid a great tackle on her direct opponent at half-back, Makayla Pugliese-Thompson.

Later in the term, Kelly had pushed up into attack as the Tigers held a high line, and after gathering at half-forward, got a clean handball away despite being tackled. In the 18th minute, luck proved a fortune as Kelly’s gut-running resulted in the teenager kicking her first WAFLW goal.

Running hard inside 50, Kelly got to the goalsquare just as Adele Arnup ripped it from heavy congestion just a few metres out, putting it to space where Kelly soccered it off the deck quickly to slot the goal. She moved on-ball at the next centre clearance too.


Once again Kelly started in the defensive half of the ground, and yet again it took a little while to get involved. In the ninth minute, the bottom-ager was moved on-ball and charged forward to put pressure on the opposition East Perth defence trying to rebound.

In the 10th minute, she laid a couple of strong tackles on the wing to lock the ball up and help her teammates set up behind the ball. A few minutes later, she took a strong mark one-on-one running forward and with an awkward lunging angle managed to take the mark and not break stride. She ran in but just pulled the kick to the right for a behind.

Kelly spent more time through the midfield, and had her fair share of stoppages, though her midfield craft is an area that could further develop at senior level, having largely spent her time off half-back this season with the odd stint through the middle.


It took until the eighth minute once again, with Kelly rotating up the field into the middle and then won a handball receive at half-forward and kicked inside 50 nicely. She spent considerable time on-ball and began to find more of the ball, marking at half-forward and able to kick to the hotspot midway through the term.

In the 13th minute while inside 50, Kelly was clever enough to keep the ball in front of her in the forward pocket and was tackled, but dropped behind the play to win the dump kick from an East Perth defender. Unfortunately she was pushed as she set her sights on goal and it bounced out of bounds.

Shortly after she had another chance via a snap around her body in the pocket but it was picked off, before winning a handball receive at half-forward and dishing off to a nearby teammate who was immediately tackled.

At times Kelly could look a touch reactive at stoppages, but did seem to adjust to the tempo around the ball through the third term. She won a handball in the last 90 seconds to extract it from the stoppage and then followed up with a strong tackle shortly afterwards.


While playing in defence, Kelly took a good mark on the defensive side of the middle, and though she momentarily slipped as she went to kick, she recovered and was able to compose herself to hit a nice target in the corridor.

Not long after, she won a ball off the ruck tap while acting as the sweeper, but was immediately tackled. She copped a heavy bump from an opponent midway through the quarter in a marking contest inside 50 and received a 50m penalty for her trouble. Her tight angle set shot became one from point-blank range in the goalsquare and the 17-year-old made no mistake.

Kelly was back at it further afield, winning a handball receive in the 11th minute only to be rushed into kicking off a step and was turned over. She finished the match with a couple of clean pickups off the deck and delivered quick handballs away for her last few touches.


Juliet Kelly is a promising player for next year in what looms as a stacked AFLW Draft crop for Western Australia. The Tigers young gun has been in and out of the Claremont side at times due to the strength and depth of the club, but Kelly showed on the weekend just how valuable she can be.

While her stoppage craft and adjusting to the level can be areas to work on over the next 12 months, her skill, decision making and clean hands really stand out. Kelly has a lot of terrific football traits, and with an elite tank – she won the WAFLW yo-yo test over the preseason – the bottom-ager will only get better.

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