Marnie Robinson’s star continues to rise in 2023
Marnie Robinson in action during the AFLW Academy training session at The Hangar on January 20, 2023
Marnie Robinson has been on the talent radar for a few years. As she hurtles towards draft age, the 17-year-old Novocastrian has a defining and busy 2023 ahead as she looks to hone her skills and build fitness before getting her chance to join the elite AFLW ranks.
In addition to playing with the UTS Bats in AFL Sydney’s premier division, Robinson will train twice weekly with the Swans Academy, be part of the AFLW Academy, work in hospitality at McDonald Jones Stadium (Newcastle) and complete Year 12 at St Philip’s Christian College.
Robinson has been a force in juniors for Newcastle City, which is reflected in her Swans Academy selection since she was 12 years old. Last season brought with it a major footy change for her, electing to play for UTS Bats in AFL Sydney extending her beyond the local competition she knows so well.
The then 16-year-old playing made a huge impact on the Bats as an integral part of its backline. The team won nine matches (up from three in 2019, the last full season before 2022) and will be expecting to play finals footy this year.
“Sydney’s a bit more professional than the Hunter Central Coast,” she said of making the move from juniors in Newcastle to one of the country’s strongest women’s community leagues. “The standard is higher because there are more teams and players, there are AFLW players involved, so it is a high.
“The first time I got the ball,” she continued, “I was laid out, so I realised how much faster the game is than what I was used to.”
Robinson plays hard at the ball, with her physicality being a feature of her game. Originally a midfielder, it was only until 2022 when she started playing at centre half back and elevating her game to another level.
AFLW Academy and beyond
Robinson plays hard at the ball, with her physicality being a feature of her game. Originally a midfielder, it was only in 2022 when she started playing at centre half back and it elevated her game to another level.
This improvement brought with it AFLW Academy selection – a program for 17-year-olds who will be eligible for the 2023 AFLW Draft, following the 2023 AFLW season (season 8). The AFLW Academy program is designed to prepare talented young players to enter elite football programs. Exciting times.
Last weekend was the first high performance training camp, where the squad of 30 AFL Academy players met as a group for the first time (Robinson joining following NSW players Melanie Staunton, Olivia Morris). Held at Essendon’s home, The Hangar (Tullamarine) and Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium (Kardinia Park), Robinson fit in well with her talented cohort with her kicking and fitness a standout.
A leader on field, Robinson plays is a general in defence. Her footy IQ is through the roof after a life in representative and Academy squads. She takes instruction from her coach and teammates and is a fast learner. Robinson’s skills are excellent and she’s had a big 12 months of fitness, following a program designed for her by the Swans Academy.
If Robinson has a good year, you sense she could be pencilled in as a draft prospect ahead of the 2024 season. “Obviously, I want to make the AFLW,” Robinson says about the prospects of being an elite footballer. “I’d be happy to go to any club, but as an Academy player, I want to go to the Swans.”