The first two nominations for the 2023 AFLW Rising Star have been revealed, with young guns Ally Morphett of the Sydney Swans and Ella Roberts of the West Coast Eagles named.
Ally Morphett starred for the Swans when they defeated Greater Western Sydney to record their first-ever AFLW victory.
Morphett, 19, began her second season in the red and white in style with 18 disposals, one goal and 29 hitouts.
Analysis, local footy and the biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are the home of footy shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>
She slotted the opening goal which began the historic performance for the Swans, but it meant so much more to her than just meets the eye.
Morphett is a barely recognisable player compared to last year, having worked really hard in the off-season to improve her fitness.
Ally Morphett and Ella Roberts have been nominated as the AFLW 2023 Round 1 Rising Stars. Credit: Jason McCawley/Daniel Carson/Getty Images
“Coming off my first season, from the Giants, I put on a fair bit of weight going into my first season at Sydney and halfway through the season, I realised that my fitness wasn’t up to speed and wasn’t at the level it should be at,“ Morphett told 7NEWS.com.au.
“So I had a conversation with (coach) Scotty (Gowans) halfway through the season and kind of just opened up and said I can’t run out a full game.
“We had to make a few adjustments with interchanges off the bench and game time.
Score review controversy highlights glaring AFLW issue
Fallout from AFL goal controversy takes sad turn
“We had a long conversation for my season exit meeting, and I pretty much promised him that I would go away in the off-season and work 10 times harder to get to where I should be at, because if I want to be a professional athlete, then I’m going to try 110 per cent.
“I went back home to Wagga for a few months and started running with my dad and came back to Sydney during that pre-season period and continued running.
“I ended up losing about 10kg, and that really helped me coming into Round 1 with just so much confidence that I had done all that hard work.
“It can be a massive weapon for me just knowing how hard that I’ve worked and that I can rely on that.
“I’m completely shocked by it (the nomination), to be honest, and I’m extremely happy about it.”
The victory over the Giants came after a winless debut season last year.
“When we got that win on Sunday afternoon, it was just such a relief,” she said.
“We’ve been working pretty hard in our off season and pre-season, and we’ve been training for a good six months and obviously coming into the new facilities, we have great facilities here, so everyone’s just more invested to come in and do the extra recovery, do the extra education and extra craft and skill sessions.”
Sydney players celebrate their win over GWS. Credit: AAP
Roberts starred in the West Coast Eagles’ unsuccessful attempt to keep Fremantle at bay in the Western Derby.
Roberts won the Derby Medal after finishing with a game-high of 24 disposals and five clearances.
“I feel very honoured to get the Rising Star nomination, I think getting it early in the season is going to be a good confidence builder and enable me to back my ability on the field,” Roberts said.
“Obviously disappointed with the game result, but we took a lot of learnings out of it and are going to be ready to go for Gold Coast next week.”
The AFL has also confirmed changes to the eligibility criteria for the 2023 AFLW Rising Star.
Previously, players were ineligible to be nominated if they had been nominated previously, irrespective of how many matches they had played.
The AFL have made changes to the eligibility criteria for the 2023 AFLW Rising Star this year, with players eligible to be nominated should they meet the below:
They are under the age of 21 on 31 December; andHave not previously been nominated for the Rising Star award unless they have played a total of 10 or fewer matches at the beginning of the season, and;Have not previously won the AFLW Rising Star award.
The league says the reason for the changes will add depth to the Rising Star pool and provide scope for those players who had limited exposure to the AFLW system during Season Seven due to balancing school commitments.
Disgraced premiership coach makes AFL return in surprise role
Beloved AFL doyen quietly battling serious health condition
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.