Midfielder, Forward


Mel Staunton

height: 168cm


D.O.B: 24-01-2005

Leagues: Coates Talent League Girls, AFLW U18 Championships

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary


Mel Staunton has not played as much football at a high level compared to others, but she has made the most of her opportunities when she has. The AFLW Academy member only played the three Talent League games and AFLW Academy match, but showed off her strength and power from the contest.


+ Physicality
+ Footy IQ
+ Contested work
+ Strength
+ Competitiveness
+ Kicking penetration


- Limited exposure
- Explosive speed


Staunton was a name somewhat of a surprise in the AFLW Academy when it was initially named, having not played for the GIANTS Academy or Allies in 2022. It was soon evident what the coaching staff had seen in the Ulladulla Docker who quickly made her mark upon debut for the GIANTS Academy in the Talent League.

The GIANTS Academy member kicked a goal from 20 disposals and laid six tackles against Tasmania Devils, before backing that up with a 25-disposal, three-mark and 1.3 performance a week later against Gippsland Power. She would finish her three-game Talent League stint averaging 20.7 disposals and 5.3 tackles, showing her wares as both a strong inside midfielder and a dangerous forward.

Staunton is not quick and does lack that explosive speed that many with similar games have, but what stands out in her bursts from midfield is the fact she is incredibly powerful and strong. Often shrugging off would-be tacklers, Staunton can run herself into trouble at times, but the sheer will to breakthrough players catches the eye.

Outside of her athleticism, Staunton is a natural inside midfielder, winning it in close and also up forward when resting there. She is strong one-on-one and with a penetrating kick that allows her to hit the scoreboard from long distances. Adding to the fact Staunton has a natural competitive nature and hates being beaten and she will do everything in her power to help her team win.

Despite not playing the AFLW Under 18 Championships, Staunton earned the GIANTS Academy Player of the Year at the recent best and fairest awards night, recognition for her work at the start of the season. But her work in the orange and charcoal was not her only success, standing up for the AFLW Academy on Marvel Stadium to win best on ground against the Under 23 All-Stars.

That performance put her name up into lights, and while her on-field time was essentially cut after that, Staunton showed that at her best, she can match it with the nation's top players. Her footy IQ is one element of her game that helps her do just that, and has made the transition from local football to the elite junior level easier.

Understanding the game both through midfield and when up forward helps Staunton have an impact wherever she goes. Though she might not have the explosive speed of others, her strength and power holds her in good stead, and if she can get more continuity into her game and build up her experiences, she can develop quickly in an elite system.


As the GIANTS Academy Player of the Year, one would expect that her club-tied Academy is her most likely destination, though she will have others interested across the nation after her form at Marvel Stadium. She is one who will likely feature later in the second round onwards, but has the potential to go higher if a club sees that upward trajectory in her game.

Contested work
Footy IQ
Kicking penetration
Limited exposure

Coates Talent League Girls

2023GIANTS Academy2735624001600126239.011.720.

AFLW U18 Championships

2023Allies Girls000000000000000000000
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