Leagues: Vflw, NAB League Girls
Williamstown’s Sophia McCarthy is a key forward who kicked a goal in nine of 13 games this season despite the Seagulls struggling to tick over the wins. She might not be the most mobile player, but she is a strong contested mark, good at positioning herself at marking contests, and able to influence games through her goalkicking. Still only 20, McCarthy is a blank canvas for a club looking for a key forward for the future.
Sophia McCarthy has been a reliable scoring threat for Williamstown in her debut VFLW season, earning the key forward an AFLW Draft Combine invite. The 179cm prospect came out of the Murray Bushrangers where she showed traits as a forward, averaging around half a goal a game across three seasons.
Since stepping up to the VFLW, McCarthy has scored 10 goals from 13 matches and been a player who can be that goal-a-game type. Keeping in mind the Seagulls only had the two wins for the season, McCarthy was able to kick a major in nine of her 13 games, including a two-goal haul in the Round 6 victory over Port Melbourne.
McCarthy is very much a stay at home type forward, only breaking through to double-digit disposals on two occasions. She is very strong in the air though, positioning herself well on the lead and one-on-one, and is able to pull down contested marks - as well as consistent uncontested marks - with ease. Her consistency in hitting the scoreboard has leant itself to becoming one of the better VFLW key forwards, and is more readymade than a tall coming straight out of a NAB League program. Having just turned 20 before the AFLW Draft, McCarthy has plenty of time to iron out areas of her game she could improve, such as her speed and potentially versatility.
Though not the quickest player going around, McCarthy's aerial ability ensures she has an advantage on that front, and she is not afraid to attack the ground balls, even if that too is an area to improve on. Her leading patterns, forward craft and positioning in the marking contests make her a valuable player for that role, and she has done it across the course of a full season. With time, clubs will be able to mould a player of her size to become even more versatile and have an impact up the ground.
Not only did Sophia McCarthy kick a goal in nine of 13 matches, but she also took at least two marks in nine of her 13 matches.