Zoe Prowse and Tayla Harris compete for the ball during round six, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ZOE PROWSE has shaken off surgery on her Achilles tendon over the off-season to play an integral role in Adelaide's qualification for a preliminary final.

The 20-year-old has been thrown in the deep end this year, standing up in defence in the absence of Sarah Allan and Najwa Allen (hamstring injuries, with the latter also receiving a three-week suspension).

"I had surgery on my Achilles, so unfortunately [the off-season] was a bit focused on that. Recovery wasn't as long as expected as it was only partially torn, so I was back for the start of the proper pre-season," Prowse told AFL.com.au.

"It's been pretty good, I'm pretty happy with the improvement I've had. It comes to the backline, we're all in it together, I couldn't be able to do anything without them. Having people like Sarah Allan and Chelsea Biddell as role models, they're really helping.

"[Allan] was still around and helping us, and I was pretty confident in the rest of us. We've got a pretty impressive squad, so we knew it would be all good."


Prowse was drafted as a ruck from Sturt with pick No.17 in the 2021 AFLW Draft, the first selection in the South Australian pool.

Facing a backlog of Crows rucks, she was redeployed in defence late last season, brought into the side for round 10 and the finals series in a brand new position.

"Playing ruck is different at this level. I'm a bit small (177cm) and not as strong, but I've found my feet in the backline and I really enjoy it, so planning to stay there," Prowse said.

"Being able to play in those finals was pretty exciting, and it definitely made me work really hard in the off-season.

"After surgery, I focused on my fundamental skills, my clean ground balls and those sorts of things."

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

Adelaide's backline coach this year has been former player Marijana Rajcic, who retired at the end of last season.

Rajcic took maternity leave a few weeks ago, giving birth to son Tomi with partner and Crows skipper Chelsea Randall.

"She was an incredible player and was our voice in the backline, so to be able to have her as our coach has been great," Prowse said.

"Even after having Tomi, she's still helping us, she's still around, she's just absolutely incredible and couldn't ask for much more."