2022 AFLW Draft: Others to Watch – Queensland

THE 2022 AFL Women’s Draft is next week and already Rookie Me Central has completed profiles on all those available AFLW Draft Combine invites. In separate articles this week, we will go state by state and look at some other contenders for the AFLW Draft outside those with the invites. Next up is Queensland, with the state having a good national carnival with plenty of talents putting up their hand up.

Phoebe Baird (Aspley)

The hard-running winger is capable of playing in multiple positions, and showed glimpses of her ability to take grass and gain meterage for her side at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. An over-age prospect, Baird has a penetrative left boot that is effective when streaming don the ground, and though not a massive accumulator, still has eye-catching traits when she can impact.

Ella Calleja (Yeppon)

One of the most naturally gifted players outside the draft combine invitees, Calleja has the traits to be a really impressive player in the forward half at any level. She has some terrific athleticism, a high vertical leap, and generally uses the ball well when given the chance. She still has to iron out some consistency – including clunking some of her incredible marking attempts – but has a high upside for the future.

Courtney Browne (Yeronga South Brisbane)

The running talent is tough as nails and is not afraid to take the game on. Standing at 173cm, Browne and her twin sister Sarah were important players in the Brisbane Lions Academy lineup. Browne does not win a lot of the footy and can get into more ball-winning positions, but she does damage when she has it through the metres she takes, as well as the defensive pressure she applies on opponents.

Caitlin Thorne (Bond University)

Another over-age player out of the Queensland program, Thorne featured in all three of her state games. She is someone who has a high competitive nature and attacks the ball hard, particularly when playing in the defensive half of the ground. At 171cm, Thorne can play a multitude of roles, and she averaged almost five tackles per game to go with her 10 touches at the national carnival.

Laura Blue (Coorparoo)

Rated highly by her club, Blue has been in contention for past AFLW Drafts, and had another solid season this year. Averaging 17.5 disposals and only dipping into single digits once, Blue is a reliable force behind the ball, often clearing it well and nearly always by foot. Her Round 11 QAFL Women’s game of 28 disposals, six marks and three clearances was a highlight as she showed she can get her hands on the ball.

Akayla Peterson (Southport)

The Port Melbourne talent and former Carlton utility played her first game for the Sharks back in Round 11 since her VFL Women’s season ended. Having had a good 18 months of football, Peterson is a readymade option for a club such as Gold Coast. She is capable of getting it done in the air and at ground level, and with experience across multiple state leagues, is more than capable of stepping up.

Christine Okesene (Yeronga South Brisbane)

A player who has been touted as an AFLW Draft prospect for some time, Okesene is a natural leader, and also a player who provides great attack on the contest. She is hard to beat in the air, and is just as fierce at ground level. A perfect example of her ability came in the Round 11 clash against Aspley, where Okesene pulled down nine marks from 15 touches. The hard runner also has a booming kick.

Abby Hewett (Aspley)

The Wilston Grange turned Aspley talent has a lot of likeable traits across the board. Her ball use at the contest and around the ground is impressive, and she has that eye-catching burst out of a stoppage allowing her to take control at the clearances through quick hands or a powerful kick. She is still working on building her overall production, but was unlucky not to be picked up last year.

Mikayla Martin (Maroochydore)

At some point sheer production numbers win out, and it is hard not to consider Martin for the upcoming AFLW Draft. Martin has been a shining light for Maroochydore all season, only dropping below 20 disposals once, and picking up 25-plus disposals in her past five matches (31.6 disposal average). Throw in a mind-boggling 9.8 marks as well a 5.0 inside 50s, and Martin is as readymade as they come.

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