Kayley Kavanagh

height: 169cm


D.O.B: 06-07-2005

Leagues: Coates Talent League Girls, AFLW U18 Championships

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary


Kayley Kavanagh shot up AFLW Draft boards this year following an outstandingly consistent season with both Calder Cannons and Vic Metro. Kavanagh started the year as a standard ball-winning inside midfielder, but added to her game throughout 2023 to finish the year as Vic Metro’s MVP and an All-Australian.


+ Inside game
+ Consistency
+ Production
+ Defensive pressure
+ Clean hands
+ Strength


- Scoreboard impact
- Kicking consistency


Kavanagh became one of the AFLW draft bolters this season after minimising her deficiencies and improving on her strengths. The 169cm midfielder started the year with a 28-disposal game against Sandringham Dragons, and it was an inkling of what Kavanagh was set to produce, as she recorded 20-plus disposals in all of her nine games.

Though often knocked for her polish - she herself noted her kicking particularly when on the move going forward - Kavanagh definitely improved on her execution throughout the year. The Cannons talent has always been a clean ball-winner on the inside, but was largely a 1-wood midfielder in terms of how she went about her football.

Throughout the course of the season, Kavanagh increased her work on the outside, getting to good positions and even becoming an option in transition, drifting to a flank or to the outside. She took four or more marks in six matches, including four of her last five games. That form was the result of her confidence growing from a superb AFLW Under 18 Championships.

Rewind a couple of months and Kavanagh was a late inclusion to the Under 23 All-Stars squad, having not even being initially named. Her form kept building though, securing a Vic Metro spot, then came from the clouds to not only play her role, but dominate in game one with a whopping 11 clearances and six inside 50s from 23 disposals in a big win over the Allies.

Her form rarely wavered and it saw Kavanagh win All-Australian honours and her state's MVP honour to cap off a truly remarkable carnival. Returning to the Talent League, she racked up a season-high 35 disposals and took six marks against the Falcons, and maintained her high level of consistency.

Along with her consistency and clean hands on the inside, Kavanagh has always been a strong defensive player, laying plenty of tackles. She averaged 4.9 per game in 2022, but that number jumped up to 8.3 for 2023, with her disposals (15.2 to 25.3) and marks (2.9 to 4.0) also making considerable rises from year to year.

Despite her inside game being her main strength, her outside game came along in leaps and bounds and gave clubs a glimpse of what she could be capable of at the next level. In the process, she went from uncertain draftee, to a player who would be difficult to leave on the board given what she offers between the arcs.

Kavanagh still has her areas of improvement, with that kicking still developing, particularly when under pressure or on the move, as well as having a greater impact on the scoreboard. She only kicked the three goals in her 11 Talent League games, so it makes another area that the onballer could further expand her game.

Overall though, Kavanagh had a top-age year which had few knocks on her consistency, with her form remaining strong across the six months. Unsurprisingly, she earned an AFLW Draft Combine invite, and though she is not an elite athlete, she is still solid across the board, and her inside work namely her clean hands and strength, hold her in good stead.


Kayley Kavanagh had a 2023 to remember, going from AFLW being a pipe dream, to more of a reality. Her progression throughout the year was outstanding, and she dug deep to work hard on her deficiencies and still improve her strengths. While she will likely still develop into an inside midfielder at the elite level, Kavanagh has the tools to cope well on the outside as ell. She should come into consideration from the second round onwards.

Clean hands
Defensive pressure
Inside game
Kicking consistency [reference to execution]
Scoreboard impact

Coates Talent League Girls

2022Calder Cannons556011523004100129186.97.514.
2023Calder Cannons15112727844009120351531113.711.525.

AFLW U18 Championships

2023Vic Metro Girls1835536332217017102036.011.717.
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