SOUTH Adelaide’s Matty Roberts is one of his state’s best draft prospects for 2021, and is ready to crack the Panthers’ League lineup having trained with the senior side during preseason. The AFL Academy member has been a key part of South’s Under 18 setup for a couple of years now and is also set to skipper the St Peter’s First XVIII. On-field, Roberts is a midfielder-forward who runs hard and makes good decisions with ball in hand, finds plenty of it, and can also hit the scoreboard.
Draft Central correspondent Tom Wyman chatted to Roberts at the recent South Australia preseason testing event for a question and answer (Q&A) special.
Q: How do you think you tested?
A: “I thought I tested not too bad. Obviously I could do better in some things but I thought it was pretty good.”
Tell us a bit about yourself off-field
“I grew up in the town of Strathalbyn. I have a younger brother, Tyson and my parents Brenton and Sally. I grew up on a farm just out of Strathalbyn, went to school in ‘Strath’ up until Year 9 and now I’m boarding at St Peter’s in Adelaide and going into Year 12 this year.”
What has your footy journey been like so far?
“I started at Langhorne Creek in the Under 10s when I was about five and then progressed through the Under 10s, 12s, and 15s and then through South Adelaide’s pathway. Now I’m in the 18s program and have started training with the League team this season.”
Do you think you have what it takes to match it at League level?
“I think I can, I played in an A-Grade premiership for Langhorne Creek when I was 14, just going on 15. So I have memories from that year to be able to hopefully step up into the League this year.”
Is making your League debut one of your goals this year?
“That’s my main goal this year, to be able to play as many League games as I can.”
Describe yourself as a player
“I feel like I’m smart with the ball, I’m pretty composed with ball in hand and use it well most of the time. And I can impact the scoreboard when I go forward.”
Do you see yourself as more of a midfielder or forward?
“Sort of a mixture between both I think. I have pretty strong scoreboard impact when I go forward but obviously I like to play through the mid.”
Are there any players you can compare your game to?
“I like to look at Marcus Bontempelli. He’s a left-footer, a good ball user through the mid and can also go forward and impact there.”
How has it been juggling school and SANFL commitments?
“School’s been pretty accommodating with my South Adelaide training this year and I’ve been trying to stay on top of school work. I’m captaining the St Peter’s First XVIII this year so they’ve been really good, just making sure that I’m showing face and then obviously going on with my South Adelaide commitments at the moment. But they’ve been really good, helping me juggle both.
Image Credit: Nick Hook/SANFL