Zippy Fish in action during an AFLW Academy training session on January 19, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Draft Diaries is back, this year following Vic Metro's Sophie McKay and Western Australia's Zippy Fish in their final season of junior footy. Both are eligible for the AFLW Draft at the end of the year, ahead of the 2025 season, with McKay a potential father-daughter signing at Carlton. McKay's first chat was published last week.


Not just an incredible name, the West Australian is a genuine top-five contender at this year's AFLW Draft.

At the recent AFLW Academy game, one senior coach posed a hypothetical question to their list manager – bar finishing near the bottom of the ladder, what sort of trade would be required to land the pick needed to select Fish?

The list manager ruefully shook their head and replied with the name of the team's best player.

Just as elusive as her name suggests, the 160cm Fish has been starring for East Fremantle in the WAFLW for a few years now, playing either off half-back or through the midfield.

Zippy Fish in action during the Marsh AFL National Academy Girls vs U23 All-Stars match at Ikon Park on April 6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Fish – whose full first name is Zipporah, a name with biblical origins – was named best on ground in last year's senior women's premiership, just a month after her 17th birthday. 

She spent the first 11 years of her life in Newman, a town in the Pilbara about five hours' drive south of Port Hedland, and 13 hours north-east of Perth.

"My first sport was actually athletics. I played nearly every sport (while in Newman), then moved to Perth. I was doing athletics, changed over to soccer, then played basketball for a couple of years, and only stopped that last year," Fish told

"There was lots of sports (in Newman). Pretty much knew everyone in the town because it was so small. It was very relaxed.

"My footy career started about four years ago, I reckon. I was watching a couple of friends playing down at the local club, and I was like, 'Oh Dad, this looks like a bit of fun'.

"So I joined up with the Sharks, had a few training sessions then had my first game, and really enjoyed it from there.

"My preferred playing position is probably on-ball or half-back. I love to see the game from behind the play, I don't really like the ball coming at me, so much. I'm pretty fast and agile, and just like to run and carry."


Club and Academy officials have noticed a shift in Fish this year. Turning 18 in June and with the draft looming – once again likely to be in December – Fish wants to be among the first names read out.

Fish said West Australian Football Commission coach Beau McDonald has helped challenge her to improve her training, and is working alongside the likes of fellow Academy members Molly O'Hehir and Claudia Wright and 16-year-old star Evie Cowcher.

"I'm not sure if anything's shifted in my mindset, I've just realised this is my draft year and this is what I want to do, long-term," Fish said.

"I've been more focused at training, getting in my extra skills, extra running and all of that, to be the best I can.

"I want to be a bit more explosive out of the contest, work on my endurance a bit more and make it to every contest. And keeping up what I put down last year."

Zippy Fish in action during Western Australia's under-18 national championships clash against the Allies on August 13, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Graduating high school last year has helped Fish devote more time to training, and she works for the WAFC as a game development officer, running school clinics and carnivals.

She's also in the early stages of a teaching degree, unsurprisingly specialising in sport, and in any free time she can muster up, is enjoying exploring her home state.

"Usually we go down south or up north in WA, either down to Busselton or Margaret River, just for a weekend, even up to Geraldton," she said.

"The coastline in WA is really amazing."