Leagues: AFLW, NAB League Girls, AFLW U18 Championships, AFLW U17 Championships
Ella Smith is the younger of the two namesakes that earned AFLW Draft Combine invites, with the Brisbane Lions Academy leader putting together a consistent 2022 season. Juggling her football commitments with a passion for rowing, she has a lot of terrific inside traits, and while she has some other areas such as in-game explosiveness and hitting the scoreboard as ways of improving, she has put together a strong body of work.
One of only three Queensland AFLW Academy members, Ella Smith is a tough inside midfielder who has been learning the ropes of a wing role this season. Smith became synonymous with winning the hard ball and firing out handballs, or quickly bombing it from a stoppage. Her accumulation was as good as anyone’s, and she can rack up the ball in high numbers really quickly.
In 2022, Smith spent more time on the outside for Queensland, and then when she did roll inside, was a beast around the clearances. At times she can unassumingly keep ticking over the stats without a lot of influence, but that is largely due to her lack of metres gained. She wins the ball, but rather than use her explosiveness, will quickly dish off, which is an area that Smith herself said she was looking to utilise more often. Along with that, Smith could also hit the scoreboard more often to add another weapon to her game.
Smith’s strengths are plentiful with her inside game, particularly her contested ball-winning and clean hands among her top traits. She won the ball in a balanced capacity at champs, collecting an even spread of hard balls, loose balls and handball receives to try and put into practice her run and carry. Though her kicking is still an area of improvement as well, she is able to influence through her hands, and that helps her fulfil her role on the inside.
In the top handful of Queensland prospects this year, Smith lead from the front with the Brisbane Lions Academy, whilst also juggling her other passion - rowing. It meant she could only play two of the AFLW Under 18 Championship matches, then returned to represent the AFLW Academy. If Smith can continue to implement and exercise more of her running game - which she has the potential to do - then she will be all the more impressive with ball-in-hand.
Ella Smith recorded the second most disposals (39) of those players who only played two games at the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships.
NAB League Girls
AFLW U18 Championships
AFLW U17 Championships