Zara Walsh

height: 173cm


D.O.B: 12-03-2005

Leagues: SANFL Women's League, AFLW U18 Championships

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary


Zara Walsh returned to SANFL Women’s football this season and quickly adapted at Sturt, where she earned a place in the South Australian AFLW Under 18 Championships side and showed her ability. The explosive forward has areas to refine, but her understanding of the game inside 50 and added defensive pressure makes her a valuable player.


+ Explosive speed
+ Leading patterns
+ Forward craft
+ Footy IQ
+ Defensive pressure
+ Upside


- Ground balls
- Composure
- Consistency


Walsh was playing local level last year and made the decision to return to Sturt after being a Double Blues junior. The top-age talent quickly adapted to the SANFLW level, and was able to hold her place throughout the 2023 season.

Though Walsh only kicked the two goals across her eight games, it was her mix of defensive pressure and creativity inside 50 that caught the eye. Only twice she hit the double-digit disposal mark, but her impact-per-possession was far greater, and she averaged a tackle for every kick.

That form translated onto the national stage, where she slotted into a star-studded Croweaters forwardline and averaged 10.3 disposals, 3.0 marks, 3.0 tackles, 1.7 inside 50s and 1.0 goals per game. A good size at 173cm, Walsh has the speed that dazzles, with her first few steps often burning off an opponent with ease.

Once goalside, Walsh is hard to stop, and it showed with the fast-paced nature of the national carnival, coupled with the dominance of South Australia, and Walsh kicked more goals - three - in less games than the SANFLW. The additional space also played into her hands, as she was able to lead out and present, as well as double-back and provide an option over the top.

At times, Walsh's speed can be her own undoing though. At the rapid rate she often arrives at the ball, she will either overrun it or not quite take it cleanly which opens the door for the opposition. If she can become cleaner with her ground ball takes and more composed once she has it, Walsh could become an even more damaging forward.

From an overall traits perspective though, Walsh has that desirable balance of athleticism with smarts, which is often difficult to find in many raw forwards. The consistency element of her game is not a huge concern given it was her first season back at the sub-elite level, and she showed by year's end she could more than compete with the best from across the nation. Her form at the AFLW Under 18 Championships in particular gave a great indication that Walsh was not far off the mark, and deserving of an AFLW Draft Combine invite which she duly received for her strong top-age season.

Given her willingness to provide pressure around the ball carrier and in close when required, Walsh will have plenty of fans across the country. A Port Adelaide supporter, the Sturt young gun has opted for a national nomination to give herself best chance of being picked up.


Though like many she is no guarantee to be drafted, Zara Walsh’s upside is evident. What she has shown in a short space of time across multiple levels speaks to a rate of development that can continue on a linear trajectory. With greater access to elite facilities and a top level environment, the forward’s room for improvement is vast.

Defensive pressure
Footy IQ
Forward craft
Ground balls

SANFL Women's League

2023Sturt Women's32225413003201101284.

AFLW U18 Championships

2023South Australia Girls2011319122090151336.73.710.
Zara Walsh Articles
View All