Zoe Prowse in action during Adelaide's clash against Richmond in round two, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

REPLACING a three-time All-Australian defender is no mean feat, but it's a challenge Adelaide's Zoe Prowse has risen to this season.

When news broke about Sarah Allan's high-grade hamstring injury on the eve of the season, concerns were raised over the Crows' ability to slow opposition scoring. After all, Allan had been the defensive architect behind the club's three premierships and a key organiser of one of the best teams the competition has seen.

Concerns were unfounded, however, as 20-year-old Prowse has taken on that key defensive role with aplomb, guided by reigning All-Australian Chelsea Biddell.

Finding her place back in the side late last season, playing round 10 followed by all three of Adelaide's finals, Prowse was the obvious choice to pair with Biddell this year with Allan unavailable.

Standing at 177cm, she has the ability to nullify opponents both in the air and on the ground, which has seen Prowse match up on the likes of Paige Scott, Ashleigh Saint, and last weekend splitting time between Tara Bohanna and Jac Dupuy.

Prowse is averaging 5.4 intercepts, 2.8 marks and 9.8 disposals this season, effectively replacing Allan's 4.9 intercepts, 1.8 marks and 8.4 disposals per game last season. Meanwhile, she sits third at the Crows for defensive-half pressure acts and second for intercepts, behind only Biddell.


Importantly, Prowse is part of a defensive unit that has improved on last season, in which the Crows reached a preliminary final. They are intercepting more, and repelling the footy out of their defensive 50 at a higher rate.

Adelaide's reshaped defence


Avg. Points Against

Avg. Intercepts

Avg. Rebound 50s

Avg. Inside 50s conceded

Rebound rate (%)

2023 (RDs 1-5)






2022 (S7)






As a result of that increased rebound rate, Adelaide has conceded both a lower shot efficiency (29.3 per cent), and goal efficiency (12.9 per cent) this season, meaning it is not allowing opponents to generate consistent scoring opportunities when in attack.

What is even more impressive, and partly thanks to Prowse's development in that key defensive role, is that the Crows are yet to concede more than two goals to a single player this season. In a year where bags of goals have been kicked at a higher rate than ever before, this has been essential to Adelaide's tight defensive performances.

And all of this becomes particularly important this week, as the undefeated Crows prepare to face the undefeated Demons.


Not only has Melbourne won its past 14 games, it is averaging record numbers in attack this season including 79.8 points, 15 marks inside 50 and 9.4 goal assists per game. Much of this is thanks to the forward spread the side boasts, but nullifying one Demon in particular will be especially important.

This is where Prowse's role becomes vital once more. Likely to be tasked with limiting Eden Zanker, who typically plays as Melbourne's deepest forward, Prowse has the athleticism to go with Zanker both in the air and on the deck.

Although Prowse has largely flown under the radar this year, she will be one of the most important Crows come Saturday afternoon, and it is just one more challenge she has the opportunity to rise to.