Future in Focus: Bottom-age Allies to watch

WHILE all eyes will be on the 2023 AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls at the upcoming national carnival, there is an abundance of talent across all the states and territories who could impress at the championships. Clubs are looking more and more into the future similar to the men’s competition, and will be keeping an eye on the 2006-born prospects.

In what is set to be the strongest draft crop to-date, the amount of incredible players and top-end picks looms as a goldmine for clubs thinking 12 months ahead. We will dive into a state-by-state breakdown of some players to keep in mind.

We start with the Allies, and while the squad is yet to be announced, we look at those players who have impressed across the Coates Talent League and respective state competitions.



The NSW-ACT football pathway is steadily growing, and while initially it was well behind others, the likes of the Sydney Swans Academy and GWS GIANTS Academy are starting to develop that fledgling talent into some exciting prospects.

One such player is hard-running winger, Ella Parker. The Swans Academy member impressed across her three matches at Talent League level this year, and has gone back to the UTS Bats and is a key player in the side which is currently sitting second in the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division. She is a developing talent, but takes the game on and can fill multiple roles and hit the scoreboard.

The GWS GIANTS have impressive depth in their Academy, with one such impressive talent being Ashley Patton. Not a high accumulator, the half-forward/midfielder has class personified and is a nice user of the ball. Standing at 171cm, she is a name to keep in mind for 2024.

Murray Bushrangers midfielder Tamika Rourke is another to keep in mind, having impressed in a tough Coates Talent League season. She has shown off her athleticism and willingness to take the game on which catches the eye.

The other name to remember is tall midfielder Ellie Hall, who starred as a double bottom-ager for the Bushrangers last year, and looked good in early trials for the GIANTS, but unfortunately tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) earlier this year and will miss the season.

Northern Territory:

Remember the name Tatyana Perry. One of the most exciting players to come out of the Top End, Perry has all the traits to be an unbelievable player. She is a natural midfielder who can play inside and outside, and also in defence. Incredibly, she has that rare trait of stopping time around her as she disposes of it cleanly. Still lightly built, she has elite skill and decision making to go with her natural athletic gifts, and could well be the top pick out of the Allies.

Her partner-in-crime is elite endurance runner Emma Stark who is a name familiar with most AFLW followers as the youngest field umpire in history at the elite level, after umpiring the Essendon-Hawthorn clash at Marvel Stadium. She runs a 17-plus yo-yo and often plays off a wing, but can slot in up forward, or through the midfield. Only 163cm, but is as an exciting talent at the sport as she is at officiating it.


The Apple Isle is always building towards multiple draftees, and it looks to have plenty more over the coming years. The most capped talent for 2024 is defender Mackenzie Williams who is averaging 19.3 disposals, 5.8 marks and 4.6 rebound 50s at Coates Talent League level, the most of any Devil. She boasts a high footy IQ, can intercept anything that comes her way, and a booming kick to-boot. She will be looking to iron out the efficiency of said kick, but has the traits to be not just a rebounding defender, but a big-bodied midfielder as well.

Alongside Williams is tall defender Ella Nast who has looked comfortable at Talent League level for the Devils this year. In her past two weeks. Nast has averaged 15 disposals, five marks and five rebound 50s, and looks good from an intercepting point of view as well.

However perhaps the one with the highest upside is 175cm forward, Ava Read. As light of a key forward as one will see, Read has had some big games for the Devils, booting seven of her eight goals in three of her eight games. A confidence player who has high footy smarts and goal sense with eye-catching athleticism, she is one who could improve greatly 2024.

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