Tall Defender


Cleo Buttifant

height: 174cm


D.O.B: 03-05-2005

Leagues: Coates Talent League Girls, AFLW U18 Championships

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary


Cleo Buttifant is this year’s AFLW Draft bolter, coming from relative obscurity to be one of the most eye-catching players running around. After transferring from a touch background, Buttifant showed off her explosiveness and strength in the air for the GWS GIANTS Academy and Allies throughout the course of the season. While there are fundamentals to improve on, her raw talent has her among the top talls in this year’s draft.


+ Acceleration + Aerial ability + Reading the play + Offensive drive + Upside + Aggression


- Kicking consistency - Decision making


Buttifant is a name who would have been scarce on draft boards 12 months ago, with the touch football player really breaking through in the Aussie rules code. She started the year for the GWS GIANTS Academy and caught the eye with her aerial ability and natural play reading from the defensive half. Though she has spent time through the midfield for the Turvey Park Bulldogs, Buttifant settled into a centre half-back role at Talent League level.

In her two games for the orange and charcoal, Buttifant averaged 17.0 disposals, 3.0 marks, 4.5 inside 50s and 4.5 rebound 50s. Her aggressive nature, both in her tackling and playstyle showed a raw innate ability that could be unleashed on the AFLW. Though some areas of her game are still raw, Buttifant has a lot of eye-catching traits.

In particular, her aerial ability is a standout feature. She can leap high, pluck contested marks or drop into the hole to intercept, then explode away down the field. At times she would be better to take the extra few seconds to assess her options, but the touch background has her naturally wanting to take grass and get metres for her side.

Her high-risk, high-reward run-and-gun style would have impressed a lot of AFLW clubs and given them a glimpse into the future. She backs herself with confidence and will do the defensive team things as well as the eye-catching runs from half-back to half-forward.

Perhaps the most impressive area that has come on so quickly given she comes from a different sporting background, is being able to read the ball in flight. She positions herself well, can mark and take off, or if the ball gets to ground, she is athletic enough to grab it and take off.

From an athletic standpoint, there is not too much to build on, with her vertical leap rated elite in preseason, and her agility and 20m sprint also above average. In her more recent testing event for the Draft Combine, Buttifant improved on those numbers, and has built her endurance over the course of the year as well.

As mentioned, her kicking consistency and decision making are areas of improvement, and that should be of little surprise given her limited time in the elite Aussie rules pathway compared to others. Considering her height, athleticism and confidence to break the lines, Buttifant is a player that quite a few clubs will be keen to get on board, with the GIANTS no doubt keen to keep her at home.


In an open draft, Cleo Buttifant would be among the top 20 prospects going around, and clearly one of the better talls in the crop. Though not quite key position height, her athleticism allows her to play taller, and then she has had that midfield experience too. She might be a work in progress, but the work she has already put in, along with her natural gifts, make her a highly touted AFLW Draft prospect.

Aerial ability
Offensive output
Reading the play
Decision making
Kicking consistency [reference to execution]

Coates Talent League Girls

2023GIANTS Academy29534600500990214.52.517.

AFLW U18 Championships

2023Allies Girls3210421028171002990310.73.314.
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