Will 2024 be the first AFLW Super Draft?

COULD 2024 be the first ever AFL Women’s Super Draft? It is question that will no doubt be discussed amongst clubs and pertinent draft watchers alike, and at this stage, all the signs are pointing to ‘yes’. But what exactly makes a Super Draft? What does it mean, and what can we expect?


A Super Draft is often the term used to describe a draft crop that as a whole that is not only rich in top-end talent, but also has depth of value. Each year there will always be future stars, as well as bargain picks, but heading into the following season, one often knows roughly the top 20 – give or take – even if they end up sliding up or down depending on injuries and season form.


Put simply, the talent available is phenomenal. Not just at the top-end, but the depth as well. When constructing the annual players to watch for the next year, usually there is a group of ‘locks’ and then the ‘projects’ or ‘maybes’.

Effectively, a ‘lock’ is a player that is clearly among the best players going around, they have shown it for some time and a general consensus among clubs would have that player in the top group of talents. A ‘project’ or ‘maybe’ are the players who have shown talent – not always consistently – or have traits that with the right development could elevate their games into the ‘lock’ category.


The best way to judge a draft through any sport is with hindsight. Therefore, the only way to really compare is by looking back on what a draft crop from a year has been able to achieve. Though there is minimal data to compare to, it is worth casting the eye back to 2017, which was the first proper draft after the initial foundation draft.

Of that draft, Monique Conti (51 games, four All-Australians, five club best and fairests, one premiership and best on ground that day, and one AFLW MVP) is far and away the pick of the players. Her Calder Cannons teammate Chloe Molloy (47 games, two All-Australians, two club leading goalkickers, one Rising Star and best first year player, and one club best and fairest) has also lived up to her top draft selection.

Aside from them, only two other top-agers – Isabel Huntington and Kalinda Howarth – have earned All-Australian gongs from that draft. Huntington has had her injury concerns and would have added to her CV which included a Rising Star and club leading goalkicker award.

Of the top 25, 12 were top-age players (born in 1999). Fast forward to even 2020 – just three years later – and 24 of the first 25 were top-agers, showing the development that had been put into place by then. In last year’s draft, 63 of the 87 players were top-age or over-age draft prospects.

The best indication of a Super Draft is one where the next crop of talent – top-agers or in this case 2006-born – will rule the roost of the AFLW Draft. Generally clubs will look to bolster their young talent through the draft, and where there are holes in the draft crop, those same clubs will fill with mature-age prospects. In 2024, there are far less holes and an even spread across the board.


To put it in perspective, 12 months ago when creating the 23 to Watch in 2023, there were 16 ‘locks’ from that group of 23. It meant going about trying to find the remaining seven, which is usually a tough task given the evenness of the draft crop. When adding in the ‘projects’ or ‘maybes’ the list came to 26, so only three narrowly missed out.

In 2024, in trying to do the same exercise on the latest Game Sense Podcast, the group of players who would have been either ‘locks’, ‘projects’ or ‘maybes’ came to 36. That is, 36 players who could be considered among the top 24 next year.

Ultimately, it means 12 of those will not make it into the final 24 to Watch in 2024 list. But what it does mean is that the draft crop is even and at a high standard, which makes it clear to fans who clubs may opt to more heavily focus on the draft following Season 9 than ever before.


The balance of power lies across four of the main states, and already a couple have been awarded MVPs of their states as bottom-agers. The remainders are well on their way as well. Though far from set in stone, the top pick at this stage would be Havana Harris.

The Gold Coast Academy tall is 180cm, but explosive like few before her, and she not only can play as a ruck and key forward, but also a midfielder. That versatility combined with her athleticism makes her the frontrunner in an admittedly stacked field.

Gippsland Power’s Ash Centra is an elite kick and decision maker with ball-in-hand, and it will be a theme of the top players in next year’s draft. Boasting a penetrating boot and able to play anywhere, she is superb in the air, clean at ground level and is able to dominate at any level.

Two others right in contention are midfielder/forward India Rasheed and defender/midfielder Zippy Fish. Like Centra, both are sublime ball users. Rasheed has a potent left foot, is strong overhead and has a nice burst to get out of stoppages. Progressing from being an X-factor up forward, she produced some outstanding midfield performances to win South Australia’s MVP.

Fish is smaller than her contemporaries at around 160cm, but clocked a time of 3.14 seconds in the 20m sprint in the preseason. That was easily the fastest of any player across the country, so with her ability to hit targets at full tilt and win it on the inside and outside, she is the best of the sub-170cm players. She’s already a Lou Knitter Medallist for best on ground in the WAFLW Grand Final as well.


Not far behind Centra are a couple of Vic Country bottom-agers in Bendigo Pioneers’ Lucia Painter and Geelong Falcons’ Sara Howley. Painter had her season derailed due to injury, but won Vic Country’s Under 16s MVP – in the same team as Centra – and can play on all three lines. Howley is a natural ball-winner who has shown she can play inside or outside.

Carlton fans will enjoy hearing that the other midfielder in that top-end Victorian group is father-daughter eligible Sophie McKay. Smooth-moving and as classy as she is tough, McKay is one who will lead the Vic Metro midfield next season.

No doubt she will combined with Oakleigh Chargers key forward Emma McDonald, who has booted seven goals in two games as a bottom-ager at this national carnival, and is the other prominent Metro bottom-ager.

Across the nation, Central District’s Georgia McKee is one who has not been forgotten despite an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. An incredible Under 16s year, McKee missed all of 2022, but boasts elite athleticism and skill which makes her right up there in terms of top talents.

In Queensland, Tara Harrington will become a full-time midfielder in 2024 and be hot on Harris’ heels in terms of the top-end talent in the Sunshine State. Also up north, Northern Territory’s Tatyana Perry is arguably the most promising talent so far out of the Top End. In the west, Molly O’Hehir continues to build, and while she is clearly and incredible player now, still has room to grow her game.


There appears to be a great mix of talls and smalls across the board, with Victoria boasting nine of the 24, while South Australia (six), Western Australia (four), Queensland (three) and Allies (two) round out the 24.

There is still much to play out and with the final AFLW Under 18s match, the Under 17s All-Stars Futures clash and finals series across three states still to be played out, it is not locked in. But there are at least 10 tall or key position players who measure in at 175cm or above, giving clubs plenty of variety for next season.


The 24 in 2024 will appear in the AFLW Draft Guide later in the year, and be published via the website. It will mark the third edition of the article, with the first being 22 in 2022. As the only completed one, a total of 20 players out of the 22 were drafted 12 months after publishing. For the 23 in 2023, it will be a wait and see, but two – Matilda Scholz and Darcie Davies – have already been drafted.


The 2024 AFL Women’s Draft looms as the first Super Draft in the competition’s history. Over the years there have been plenty of talented players stepping up to the top level and making an impact early. For next year’s crop, the anticipation and depth of the group as a whole is one to savour, and in both top-end talent and depth, it will be one that tops all before it.

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