The rapid growth spurt that turned draft hopeful into hybrid beast


A LATE, rapid growth spurt has resulted in Jess Doyle's clever hybrid playing style.

The New South Wales draft hopeful and member of both the NAB AFLW and Sydney Swans Academies played most of her junior career with Pittwater as an in-and-under midfielder.

Now standing at 170cm, Doyle plays a high forward role for AFL Sydney side Manly Warringah, combining the best of both worlds. 

TOP PROSPECTS Bios, highlights, more

So quickly did she grow, Doyle had to spend a brief period on the sidelines to let her body rest and adjust.

"I played midfield in juniors, because I love running, but as I've gotten older, I've moved to the forward line. I like starting high on the field and pushing into the middle and helping them out," Doyle told

"A couple of years ago, I grew quite quickly, and I was getting Sever's disease in my heel (inflammation of the growth plate cartilage), so I had to stop playing for a bit. 

"I was always the little one who would always get under the players to get the ball. I still do it, but I feel like now I [have a greater focus on] overhead marks because I am taller."

Sydney draft prospect with plenty of X-factor

01:27 Jul 6. 2021. 6:00 AM

Jess Doyle is a product of the Swans Academy and a draft hopeful in 2021

Despite barracking for North Melbourne, she looks up to GWS-turned-Geelong forward Jeremy Cameron, fittingly a mobile, hard-running forward himself. Star Giants midfielder Alyce Parker is another hero, for her ball-winning ability and work ethic.

Growing up in Avalon in Sydney's northern beaches isn't exactly football heartland, but Doyle still developed a love of the game through her family.

HUNTING A LICENCE Everything you need to know about Swans' bid

"I grew up around footy a lot, my dad played and my older brother still playing. I watched it all the time on the tv with my family. I was playing netball at the time and I wasn't sure which one to pick, so I thought, why not give both a go and see how it goes?

"Anyone can play football, small, medium, any height. I was a bit small back then, so netball really wasn't taking me anywhere. So I thought I'd give AFL a go, and I loved it, it was every sport all together."

It's been a big year for Doyle, who kicked two goals while captaining the Swans academy under-19 side in an exhibition match win against NAB League side Geelong Falcons.

AFLW Draft Prospect: Jess Doyle

00:29 Jun 13. 2021. 10:26 AM

Check out the best highlights of Jess Doyle

She also made her VFLW debut with Williamstown, playing two games in May and being named her side's best against Hawthorn.

"Watching all this (AFLW) happen, it's grown so much, and to see people on tv – when I first started, I was always watching the men's. And seeing women play as well, it's something I can do as a career," Doyle said.

"Melbourne has always been the home of footy, but in Sydney, it's more like rugby and soccer. But I think it's grown heaps. 

"I play with some Giants girls (Lisa Steane, Erin McKinnon, Emily Goodsir and Libby Graham) at my Manly Wolves team, which is really cool. I'm a question person, so I'm always asking them things, trying to find out what it's all about."