Allies GirlsAllies GirlsMidfielder


Sophia de Castella

height: 164cm


D.O.B: 20-08-2005

Leagues: Coates Talent League Girls, AFLW U18 Championships

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary


Sophia de Castella is a powerful inside midfielder with a strong defensive game and room to grow for the future. The daughter of world champion marathon runner Robert de Castella, it should come as no surprise that the GWS Giants Academy member and Allies representative is a hard runner who pushes herself from contest to contest. Still developing fundamentals in her game, de Castella showed enough for clubs this year to earn an AFLW Draft Combine invite.


+ Work rate
+ Power
+ Defensive pressure
+ Endurance
+ Contested work


- Four-quarter consistency
- Fundamentals


The Canberra-based de Castella started off her sporting journey as a rugby player, but moved across to the oblong-shaped ball code with friends. A Collingwood fan by nature, de Castella was able to come away playing all three Giants Academy matches in the Coates Talent League Girls competition, and two of the three games for the Allies at the AFLW Under 18 Championships.

Having less exposure to the elite junior pathway, de Castella has the athletic traits to match it with opponents, but 2023 has been about learning the fundamentals. Ultimately aspects such as her skills and decision making can still further develop, but they have improved since the start of the season.

From a strengths perspective, de Castella strips back the game to its basic foundations of see-ball, get-ball. Her power inside the contest allows her to win the hard ball, and though not a consistent high production player, can hold her own within games. Her instincts of winning the ball offensively translate to her defensive prowess, laying tackle averages of 7.7 and 5.5 at Talent League and AFLW Under 18 Championships level respectively.

Running a sub-eight second 2km time trial - which should come as no surprise given her lineage - de Castella is likely to start as more of a defensive forward if selected in the AFLW. She has the running capacity to fill in and play any role required, but while she is still learning the game, de Castella would primarily be best suited to a style that leans on her defensive work.

In the Allies' loss to Queensland, de Castella had a massive start to the game, seemingly everywhere before fading out. It was not a work rate issue, but more so the opposition taking control and using its experience to limit first possessions to the Allies. As a primary first-possession winner, de Castella will get her hands dirty and look to use her power to test opponents.

As a while, de Castella is definitely a raw prospect with room for growth. Though she is not the finished product just yet, she has made nice strides throughout 2023 and gained an AFLW Draft Combine invite for her troubles.


In preseason, de Castella’s preference was to stay in her home state, and though travel is inevitable coming from Canberra, an ideal spot would be following the Giants from the Academy to AFLW level. If de Castella does miss out on being drafted, she would be a perfect candidate to be an over-ager next season and have another preseason under the belt with fundamental learnings.

Contested work
Defensive pressure
Work rate

Coates Talent League Girls

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AFLW U18 Championships

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