Medium Defender


Johanna Sunderland

height: 165cm


D.O.B: 14-07-2005

Leagues: Coates Talent League Girls, AFLW U18 Championships

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary


Jo Sunderland has produced a remarkably consistent couple of seasons at Geelong Falcons, being that reliable intercepting and rebounding defender. Though more of a safe player with ball-in-hand, it also works to Sunderland’s favour, with the 165cm talent able to ensure maximum possession retention and holds her own in marking contests.


+ Reading the play
+ Skills
+ Consistency
+ Intercepting
+ Rebounding
+ One-on-ones


- Offensive game
- Versatility


Sunderland is a player who has a really solid all-round base from which clubs can develop, with her natural footballing ability standing out. She is clean with the ball, good at reading the play and can intercept well, taking the ball from a danger zone to the safety net up the field. She has a high focus on retention and usually hits those short, sharp passes or finds a target in space to continue the transition.

Sunderland burst onto the scene as a bottom-ager last year where she played the rebounding role out of full-back to perfection, averaging 17.4 disposals, 2.1 marks, 2.1 tackles and 5.8 tackles. The Geelong Falcons defender was almost always found with the ball driving out of defence, or switching options in the defensive 50 after assessing the downfield situation.

With Sunderland, a club knows exactly what she provides. She is not going to be that damaging ball user through the corridor or will necessarily go on bursting multi-bounce runs, but she will be safe to distribute the ball down the ground. Athletically, Sunderland is just okay without being explosive, but she plays her role well.

The top-ager has a good understanding of the fundamentals of the game, and plays her role to a t. She has been limited in her positioning over the years, only playing as that rebounding back who often takes kickouts. What stands out about Sunderland is just her sheer consistency with what she has to do, and execute it.

Unlike some in this year's draft crop where a best position is unknown or potentially untapped, Sunderland has a well-defined position, and one that she knows she can do well. Though she was not initially invited to the AFLW Draft Combine, she earned a late call-up no doubt due to her body of work.

At the elite level, Sunderland is tipped to play a similar role, and would have no problems doing that against more senior bodies. Often she is mopping up, or adding an extra number at the contest to provide that clearing kick. She showed on the big stage of preliminary finals she could largely quell top prospect Alyssia Pisano in marking contests with her positioning and one-on-one ability as well.

Overall, Sunderland is a player who does well defensively and can provide some drive from defence, usually to safety. She may not be the most damaging player on the offensive end, but she holds her own and plays the team role each and every week.


As a late inclusion to the AFLW Draft Combine, Jo Sunderland has her fans. Clubs would be considering her later on in the draft as a safe, reliable defensive option who is more readymade than most to step up to the elite level and perform. Sunderland has put in a body of work over the last couple of years and is in a position where moving up to the AFLW is a possibility.

Intercept marking
Reading the play
Offensive output

Coates Talent League Girls

2022Geelong Falcons10435139170017005460813.04.417.
2023Geelong Falcons1426220437004600124801410.14.414.

AFLW U18 Championships

2023Vic Country Girls1562168660116027.
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