South West AFLW Watch: Bunbury’s Ella Smith to make AFLW debut for West Coast Eagles this weekend

Headshot of Carly Laden
Carly LadenSouth Western Times
The West Coast Eagles AFLW team have trained at Mineral Resources Oval in Lathlain. Pictured - Ella Smith
Camera IconThe West Coast Eagles AFLW team have trained at Mineral Resources Oval in Lathlain. Pictured - Ella Smith Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

Bunbury’s Ella Smith is set to finally take flight when she jets to Victoria to make her AFLW debut.

The former South Bunbury Tiger has been named to debut in the West Coast Eagles’ round six match against Hawthorn, taking place at the Skybus Stadium in Frankston on Friday.

After joining West Coast as a train-on player, Smith was recruited as a priority signing at the start of the season to boost the Eagles’ midfield depth.

It follows a breakout year in 2021, when Smith captained Claremont in the WAFLW and led her team to the finals, eventually capping off the season by claiming the Dhara Kerr Medal as the competition’s Best and Fairest.

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Smith previously told the South Western Times making it to the AFLW was “just a big dream come true”.

“I’ve been working towards this for the last few years now and it’s definitely awesome to be a part of it now and the group is so warm and welcoming,” she said.

“It has been such an awesome transition already. I’ve been a train-on player for the past couple of years and I was there for the West Coast Academy as well, so I have definitely seen the club develop and it’s just so exciting to fully be a part of it.

“We’ve had a couple of training sessions so far and the standard the girls are setting is just second to none so I’m really excited to be part of that and drive those standards as well.”

After putting on strong performances during training sessions, Smith’s versatility is set to provide West Coast options in the midfield and forward lines.

Defender Beth Schilling will also come back into the side this weekend, after spending the last two rounds on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

After being named in the team to face the GWS Giants back in round three, Schilling tweaked her ankle during the captain’s run and did not travel to Sydney.

Margaret River’s Ella Roberts has been named to play in the ruck.

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