Octavia Di Donato
Leagues: Vflw, Coates Talent League Girls, AFLW U18 Championships, AFLW U17 Championships
Octavia Di Donato is an all-round skilful player with clean hands and good decision making, who lifted her production numbers in 2022. She is as versatile as they come, being able to play on every line and have an impact, standing at 172cm. It might make clubs uncertain about her best role at AFLW level, but Di Donato ticks a lot of boxes.
After missing out on the 2022 AFLW Draft, Di Donato opted to go to Carlton VFLW where she has played in the Blues’ first two matches. In Round 1 against Port Melbourne, Di Donato collected 14 disposals and took four marks, before finishing with 10 disposals, two marks and two tackles against Geelong in Round 2. As one of the most versatile players, Di Donato remains a consideration for the AFLW Overage Draft, nominating for the national pool.
Octavia Di Donato is a player with plenty of talent and almost an ideal prospect to bring into your AFLW club. Though there would be heated debates over her best position at the top level, Di Donato does not have too many flaws to her game. She is a pinpoint kick, possesses clean hands, makes good decisions and has a high footy IQ that allows her to play on all three lines.
Though Di Donato started off as a defender coming through the Bendigo Pioneers program she graduated to play midfield, and then even spent time forward. Her best traits are her skills and decision making, that allow her to hit those neat in-board passes to open up the play, and she can also run and carry when required. She could be mopping up in defence, rolling along a wing, and then being a spare option resting forward, though with her smarts, being behind the ball is more impactful for her team.
The big question mark will be exactly where she plays at the top level, with perhaps a half-back or wing role in line for her given her strengths. She has others that might be ahead of her in those roles because they have specialised in them, though she has been more than capable at both. What Di Donato has not done a lot of is win the contested ball, with her inside game usually consisting of being a second possession winner, receiving by hand then taking off and disposing of it cleanly.
That was further illustrated at the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships, where she won just 30 per cent of her disposals in a contest, and two thirds of her touches came from handball receives. Still, it plays into her strengths and that is exactly what a club would be looking to do at the top level. Di Donato is not a player to bring in to win the hard ball, she is a polished player who can impact going inside 50.
Of the draft combine invitees, Octavia Di Donato ranked in the Top 10 for disposal efficiency at the AFLW Under 18 Championships with an average of 67.6 per cent.
Coates Talent League Girls
AFLW U18 Championships
AFLW U17 Championships
|2021||Vic Country U17s||20||6||26||3||0||0||2||0||1||3||2||0||1||20.0||6.0||26.0||3.0||0.0||2.0||0.0||92|