AFLW Draft 2020: The top prospects
AFLW Draft 2020: The top prospects

Ultimate guide: Meet the top AFLW Draft prospects

As Northern Knights teammates Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan get set to perhaps be taken with the first two picks, the preparation for Tuesday night's fifth AFL Women's draft has been like no other.

But the shutdown of Victoria's state league and the Under 18 national championships due to COVID-19 didn't stop clubs from getting a little inventive.

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Ellie McKenzie, left and Alyssa Bannan are the likely top-two picks in the 2020 AFLW Draft. Picture: Julian Smith
Ellie McKenzie, left and Alyssa Bannan are the likely top-two picks in the 2020 AFLW Draft. Picture: Julian Smith

 

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE TOP PROSPECTS AND FULL DRAFT ORDER

 

Many of the draftees were interviewed via video chats with in-person catch-ups not allowed under Victoria's restrictions, with the usual in-home meetings replaced by screens.

Psychological testing was foregone for many players, as did in-person medical testing with data from the AFLW Academy proving even more valuable than usual.

Most draftees will only meet their new coaches in the flesh this week, when voluntary pre-preseason training sessions begin.

The league had a record number of nominations for this year's AFLW draft, with more than 600 players putting their name forward for a 2021 list spot, meaning just one in 10 players nominated will be selected on Tuesday night.

 

 

"This year's pool is stronger than ever before," Melbourne women's list boss Todd Patterson said on Monday, with the Demons holding two first-round picks.

"We have seen the impact young talent can have, and we're confident that our selections will help us remain a contender in the short term and for years to come."

Richmond - which remains without a senior coach - will have the first selection in the state-based draft, after a winless season earlier this year.

Players nominate for the state in which they wish to be drafted, and if they are not, can confer with clubs in regards to moving.

No Under 18 championships was held due to COVID-19 restrictions, with AFLW All-Star matches played in all states except for Victoria and NSW.

Tasmania’s AFLW U18 All-Stars matc took place in Launceston last week. Picture: Steve Bell/AFL Photos
Tasmania’s AFLW U18 All-Stars matc took place in Launceston last week. Picture: Steve Bell/AFL Photos

League boss Nicole Livingstone told the Herald Sun last week that the AFL remained committed to the game and executing a full season which is currently slated to begin in February.

"Women's football is still very much something that the clubs are invested in and fully committed to," she said.

"While it might look a little different to other years, different is not bad. The clubs are still 100 per cent committed to AFLW, and so too from AFL Commission to executive all the way through.

"We recognise the value that AFLW brings, to not only Australian rules football, but to the community."

 

'IT WOULD BE AN HONOUR': MEET THE LIKELY NO. 1 PICK

 

CROWS REVEAL DRAFT PLANS

The Crows will use Tuesday night's AFLW draft to not only add to its midfield depth, but to find a key-position forward as the club looks to return to the top of the AFLW ladder.

Adelaide goes into the draft with three selections: the No. 4 pick in the first round followed by picks 45 and 47.

Crows head of football administration Phil Harper said the club's priority with its first pick would be to secure the best young talent out of the local SANFLW competition.

"Whilst the last two years we've taken six or seven players out of the SANFLW each year, we've had to leave behind high-quality players, and the local competition's produced around 18 AFLW players in the last two years, which is a lot," he said.

"This year, we'll probably take three players from the local competition, but there may be another five or six who get drafted from the SANFLW.

"There's a tsunami of young girls coming through who can seriously play the game and it's exciting times and there are more we really like in the next couple of years as well so the future of women's footy looks bright."

South Adelaide's Teah Charlton is on Adelaide’s radar. Picture: Nick Hook Photography
South Adelaide's Teah Charlton is on Adelaide’s radar. Picture: Nick Hook Photography

 

Adelaide's philosophy to draft the best young local player means the likes of teenage mid-forward Teah Charlton, 18, from South Adelaide and North Adelaide's key defender Amber Ward, 19, would be on the Crows' radar.

Panthers ruck/forward Indy Tahau would certainly be on the Crows wishlist, but she has nominated for the Queensland portion of the draft and is almost certain to be picked up by either Brisbane or Gold Coast.

Regardless, Harper said the Crows would also be looking to add to their key-position player stocks in the forward line.

"We've got a lot of running players but haven't got a lot of key position players," he said, adding that giving the midfield more depth would also be a priority.

This means the likes of Norwood midfielder Matilda Zander and North Adelaide's leading goal-kicker Ashleigh Woodland could be drafted.

As would West Adelaide's Rachelle Martin - the sister of Crows 2019 AFLW premiership player Hannah - who was brought in as a top-up player by injury-ravaged Adelaide in 2020 and played round one for the reigning premiers.

Richmond holds the coveted No. 1 pick, followed by Western Bulldogs and West Coast.

The Tigers are widely tipped to take Northern Knights midfielder Ellie McKenzie with their top pick.

THE TOP PROSPECTS

Ellie McKenzie

Northern Knights/Vic Metro

Expected to be taken in the top couple of picks. A powerful midfield/forward double who is explosive in the middle and is experienced, having played NAB League since she was 16. Averaged 19 disposals and five marks before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Her brother Tom was a rookie at North Melbourne.

 

Ellie McKenzie, right, is considered a chance to be the No. 1 pick. Picture: Julian Smith
Ellie McKenzie, right, is considered a chance to be the No. 1 pick. Picture: Julian Smith

 

Alyssa Bannan

Northern Knights/Vic Metro

Another member of the strong Northern Knights contingent. A powerful target in attack who is also handy when the ball goes to ground. Considered a likely top-three pick, who says the COVID-19 shutdown helped her to focus on the mental side of her game and physical conditioning while finishing Year 12.

Tyanna Smith

Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country

Threw herself firmly on the radar of AFLW clubs in her bottom-age year in 2019, claiming the 'Rays best-and-fairest award and an All-Australian berth at the Under 18 championships. Averaged more than 25 touches and six tackles in the three games before the 2020 NAB League season was cancelled.

 

Jess Fitzgerald

Northern Knights/Vic Metro

An 18-year-old midfielder who won the NAB League best afield medal in the 2019 grand final, playing alongside last year's top pick Gabby Newton. The St Mary's junior has spoken with every Victorian club and certainly made her presence felt before the 2020 season was suspended with a 28-disposal, two-goal showing.

 

Darcy Moloney

Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

The Falcons skipper is a midfielder who has handy speed, but her ballwinning ability is a particular strength. Gathered 28 and 25 disposals respectively in the first two games this year, with her ability to be the link a noted asset.

 

 

Geelong Falcon Laura Gardiner is expected to be taken high in the AFLW draft on Tuesday. Picture: Peter Ristevski
Geelong Falcon Laura Gardiner is expected to be taken high in the AFLW draft on Tuesday. Picture: Peter Ristevski

 

 

Laura Gardiner

Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

Talk about starting with a bang. Gardiner kicked off her 2020 NAB League campaign with a 38-possession game against Gippsland. Yes, 38. She then topped it off with another 31 the following week. Ballwinning, tick. Game sense, tick. Gardiner is expected to go in the first round.

 

Alice Burke

Sandringham Dragons/Haileybury College

Already taken as a father-daughter selection, Burke will don her dad Nathan's famous No. 3 guernsey at the Saints. The pair have already joked that there could be a bit of tactical secrecy on the home front, with Nathan at the helm of the Western Bulldogs. Alice, who turns 18 next month, is a midfielder/defender whose ball-use is one of her real strengths. Played soccer as a junior before turning her hand to football, winning two Sandringham best-and-fairest awards.

 

Tarni Brown

Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro

Has been selected as a father-daughter pick for Collingwood. The daughter of Pies great Gavin, she originally played basketball before making the switch to football and looks right at home in the midfield.

 

Tarni Brown has already been confirmed as a Magpie as a father-daughter selection. Picture: Getty Images
Tarni Brown has already been confirmed as a Magpie as a father-daughter selection. Picture: Getty Images

 

Isabella Eddey

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro

Eddey, 17, is noted by AFL talent ambassador Kevin Sheehan for her "silky sills" in the midfield and forward of centre. He also said her work in traffic is one of her strengths, and that she "can be dangerous up forward with footy nous around goal".

 

Maddison Levi

Bond University, Queensland

Dominated at the Queensland combine over the weekend, breaking records for the running vertical jump (left foot) and the 20m sprint. Has represented Australia in Rugby 7s and at 177cm, is a tall-forward who can win the ball overhead.

 

Sarah Verrier

Peel Thunder, WA

A handy defender who could go straight to the Eagles with pick three. Has represented Western Australia in the past two Under 18s championships, and has a long football background. Trained with Fremantle over summer.

 

Annise Bradfield

Southport, Queensland

Played state league for Bond University with her consistency in particular noted. Missed combine testing due to injury, but her strength in contests cannot be ignored. Has been part of both the AFLW Academy and the Gold Coast Suns Academy programs.

 

Stephanie Williams

Dawin Buffalos, NT/Geelong Falcons

The 18-year-old has made a name as a powerful forward. Originally from the Tiwi Islands, Williams shares assets with fellow Tiwi products Daniel Rioli and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti with her speed, agility and goal sense all strengths. Has moved to Geelong College and was part of the AFLW Academy, and is considered a strong chance to be taken inside the top-10.

 

 

Queensland's Zimmorlei Farquharson dominated at the sunshine state combine. Picture: Jerad Williams
Queensland's Zimmorlei Farquharson dominated at the sunshine state combine. Picture: Jerad Williams

 

Zimmorlei Farquharson

Calamvale/Yeronga, Queensland

Farquharson also impressed at the weekend's Queensland combine, breaking the record for the agility test. Has spent three years in the sunshine state's Under 18 team and is handy both in attack and with her tackling pressure. Is noted by Sheehan as capable of "providing some real x-factor up forward".

 

Isabella Lewis

Claremont, WA

A dominant midfielder who Sheehan says has "blistering speed" and is "very strong in the contest". Has also been a member of the AFLW Academy, but her WA combine was hampered by an ankle injury. A strong ballwinner whose attack on the ball is second-to-none, and is brutal in one-on-one contests.

 

Daisy D'Arcy

Hermit Park, Queensland

The Townsville midfielder grew up playing rugby 7s and soccer, before turning her hand to football at which she is excelling. Her creativity is a particular asset, as is her agility at stoppages as highlighted in testing results from the weekend's Queensland combine.

 

Indy Tahau

South Adelaide, South Australia

The 174cm South Adelaide ruck/forward has nominated for the Queensland portion of the draft and both the Lions and Suns would be keen to pick up the athletic 18-year-old who posted the second-ever fastest time for the 20m sprint at the AFLW Combine - an eye-watering 3.24 seconds.

 

 

Indy Tahau's switch from rugby union to AFLW has paid off. Picture: Roy VanDerVegt/AAP
Indy Tahau's switch from rugby union to AFLW has paid off. Picture: Roy VanDerVegt/AAP

 

 

Ashleigh Woodland

North Adelaide, South Australia

The SANFLW's 2020 leading goal-kicker, North Adelaide's Ashleigh Woodland, impressed at the Combine with a vertical jump of 54cm - ranking her fifth all-time. The 21-year-old played four games for Melbourne in 2019, but home-sickness brought her back to SA and the Crows could pick up the mid/forward as an option to play alongside the likes of Erin Phillips.

 

Sarah Hartwig

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro

A strong defender who has spoken with every Victorian club ahead of Tuesday night's draft. Her intercept marking is a key strength and she can also slip into the midfield and do some damage.

 

Teah Charlton

South Adelaide, South Australia

An 18-year-old midfielder/forward who was named All-Australian at under-18 level and was part of the AFLW Academy. She was a member of the South Adelaide SANFLW premiership team in 2019 and has averaged 18 disposals per game in the 2020 season. At 169cm, Charlton's athleticism has caught the eye of recruiters, who rate her as one of the best young footballers in SA.

Amber Ward

North Adelaide, South Australia

The 19-year-old North Adelaide prospect has a booming kick, which she put on display at the AFLW SA Combine last month. A member of the Roosters' 2020 SANFLW premiership team, the key-defender was a part of the SA and Central Allies teams at the AFLW under-18 championships in 2018 and 2019. Nominated for the AFLW draft last year and is hoping second-time's a charm.

Rachelle Martin

West Adelaide, South Australia

Martin - the sister of Crows 2019 AFLW premiership player Hannah - was brought in as a top-up player by injury-ravaged Adelaide in 2020 and played round one for the reigning premiers. But playing for West Adelaide, the 21-year-old was voted the SANFLW's 2020 joint best and fairest player alongside Crows star Anne Hatchard. The Crows were impressed with the midfield work of the 153cm utility in her one appearance, which could see her land on their list.

 

 

Rachelle Martin in action for the Crows as a top-up player. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images)
Rachelle Martin in action for the Crows as a top-up player. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images)

 

 

Matilda Zander

Norwood, South Australia

The 21-year-old small midfielder (160cm) is known for her speed and agility and is a prolific ball-winner. Could find herself picked up by Collingwood, particularly since her former Norwood coach, Steve Symonds, now heads up the Magpies. And he knows her game well.

 

Mimi Hill

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

The leader of the Chargers in 2019, Hill's leadership has been evident from a young age. She is a defender/midfielder whose hard running is highlighted by Sheehan, who describes her as a "creative player in setting up the play with excellent vision and clean, quick hands".

 

Daisy Walker

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro

Sister of North Melbourne's Will, Daisy is a defender/midfielder who averaged 16 disposals - more than eight of those contested - before the NAB League was suspended earlier this year.

 

Olivia Barber

Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country

A key forward with ruck ability from Lavington who came to footy via basketball. At 182cm, Barber possesses a strong overhead mark, and kicked 16 goals in 11 NAB League matches in 2019. Notched All-Australian selection last year in her bottom-age season.

 

Isabelle Pritchard

Western Jets/Vic Metro

Took up footy in 2016 and hasn't looked back, making the shift this year from the midfield to the backline. Has been a member of the AFLW Academy and is keen to work on her midfield craft, averaging 22.7 disposals and 7.3 tackles in the first three rounds of the 2020 NAB League season.

 

 

 

THE DRAFT ORDER

Round 1

1 Richmond

2 Western Bulldogs

3 West Coast

4 Adelaide

5 Melbourne

6 St Kilda

7 Gold Coast

8 Brisbane

9 GWS

10 Geelong

11 Western Bulldogs

12 Carlton

13 North Melbourne

14 Fremantle

15 Melbourne

16 Western Bulldogs

 

Round 2

17 Melbourne

18 West Coast

19 Collingwood

20 Geelong

21 Geelong

22 North Melbourne

23 Gold Coast

24 St Kilda

25 Collingwood

26 Collingwood

27 Geelong

28 Carlton

29 GWS

30 Fremantle

 

 

North Adelaide’s Ashleigh Woodland is a chance to be picked by the Crows. Picture: SANFL
North Adelaide’s Ashleigh Woodland is a chance to be picked by the Crows. Picture: SANFL

 

 

Round 3

31 Collingwood

32 West Coast

33 Collingwood

34 St Kilda

35 Melbourne

36 Carlton

37 Brisbane

38 Brisbane

39 Geelong

40 St Kilda

41 Melbourne

42 GWS

43 Richmond

44 North Melbourne

4 5 Adelaide

 

Round 4

46 Fremantle

47 Adelaide

48 Melbourne

49 North Melbourne

50 Gold Coast

51 St Kilda

 

Round 5

52 Richmond

53 West Coast

54 Gold Coast

55 North Melbourne

 

Round 6

56 West Coast

57 Gold Coast

 

Round 7

58 Gold Coast

 

Round 8

59 West Coast

60 Gold Coast

 

Round 9

61 Gold Coast



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