Jess Low is only four games into her AFLW career, but the young defender is already claiming scalps on some of the competition’s most dominant forwards.

Over the previous four rounds, Low has matched up on West Coast’s Niamh Kelly, GWS’ Cora Staunton, Richmond’s Katie Brennan and Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy.

In each of those battles, the smaller-framed Low has held her own against the more experienced attackers.

Low spoke to to break down her four weeks at the elite level. 

“I’ve really enjoyed every one of the first four games, the debut was really special with the home crowd and the atmosphere at Freo Oval was insane,” Low said.

“It was pretty unreal to run out with the Fremantle song and the drums playing.

“The past few weeks of the hub experience I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve had a couple of big roles on some key attackers but have loved being able to play my shutdown role for the team.”

Round 1 v Niamh Kelly (West Coast)
Kelly: 0 goals, nine disposals

“In the first week, I was up against Niamh Kelly and luckily I had a bit of an idea how she played since I was a train on with West Coast last year,” Low said.

“I had a good idea of what she could do, and I just had in the back of my mind that I couldn’t let her get out the back with too much space because she’s extremely quick.”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 08: Jessica Low of the Dockers in action during the round one AFLW match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at Fremantle Oval on January 08, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

Round 2 v Cora Staunton (GWS)
Staunton: 2 goals, 7 disposals (note Staunton’s two goals came when playing on a different opponent)

“I was surprised to get Cora Staunton, I’ve watched her in the past and decided that I needed to have a similar strategy to what I had with Niamh and not let her get any space,” Low said.

“She can really kick those goals quickly around her body.

“I was pretty nervous, but once I get to the ground, I’m generally fine because you just slip into a routine.

“I had all the rest of the backline around me who are so supportive, so it never feels like it’s one-on-one, it always feels like it’s five-on-one.”

Round 3 v Katie Brennan (Richmond)
Brennan: 1 goal, 12 disposals (note Brennan’s goal came when she was playing through the midfield

“Katie Brennan was probably the hardest, because I was not prepared for how strong she was and she is quite fit, so she is always dangerous,” Low said.

“I only ended up playing on her for about the first quarter because she was pretty much in the midfield after that.

“That game taught me not to get too fixated on who I’m playing on because it might change and I probably struggled when it did change.”

Round 4 v Chloe Molloy (Collingwood)
Molloy: 0 goals, two disposals

“The last one was Chloe Molloy, I did a bit less preparation for Chloe and just took in what Lisa Webb (backline coach) and Trent Cooper had outlined in the vision,” Low said.

“I tried to concentrate on what I would do rather than what Chloe would do, so that probably helped because I got to the ball first more than I had in previous weeks.”

00:24 Mins
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Crowning Moment | Rd 4 v Collingwood

Jessica Low receives the nod for this round's Crowning Moment after her second effort run down tackle.

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Low credited her fellow defenders, particularly vice-captain Ange Stannett, as her biggest supports on and off the field.

“Probably from day one Ange has taken me under her wing,” Low said.

“I think she used to play a bit of a shutdown role and she has been super supportive with advice.

“I think one of the biggest strengths of us as a backline is our communication and how we work together. We feel pretty close and we know that the other person is going to run and support us no matter what happens.

“It’s been pretty re-assuring to have that group around me.”

Senior coach Trent Cooper said the confidence placed in Low stemmed from her battles against Gemma Houghton throughout the pre-season.

“We had great confidence that she was going to perform well based on her pre-season form,” Cooper said.

“Jess played really well for Claremont last year, and over the pre-season we had some injuries to some of our key backs like Emma O’Driscoll and Janelle Cuthbertson, who couldn’t train for parts of the pre-season.

“In match sim, it meant Jess got caught playing on Gemma Houghton and did a really good job, which gave us the confidence that she could play on that taller, athletic kind of player.”

Cooper says the versatile Low may be used in other roles throughout the season.

“She’s been playing as a lockdown defender, but we can also use her in different ways when the match-ups allow it, we think she can give us a great run and carry off half-back,” Cooper said.

“We can also use her in the midfield which she showed against West Coast in the pre-season practice match, so we couldn’t be happier with her first four weeks.

“We’re looking forward to potentially seeing a different side of her than we have in the first four rounds as well.”

04:51 Mins
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'That round one spot is where everyone's working towards' | Jess Low

Jess Low spoke to before training about where she sees herself fitting into the team and what role she will be playing moving forward.

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