AFLW Draft Bolters | Four names to remember

AS the AFLW Draft Combines approach and the draft itself edges closer, we cast our eye over four players who have stepped up in 2023. In the traditional sense of the word ‘bolter’, it indicates a player who has come from relative obscurity or with low external expectations to defy those and put their hat in the ring to be drafted.

The four players chosen are those who were not selected for the AFLW Under 18 Championships, but have done enough to earn Draft Combine invites. For the purpose of this, we have not included the same players from our over-age draft prospects.

>> Earning a second shot: Over-age Draft Combine invites

Lucy Cronin (Oakleigh Chargers)
10/05/2005 | 177cm | Defender

One of the most impressive players this season outside of the national carnival, Cronin really built into her season after returning from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Her form arguably did not hit its straps until post-carnival which is why Cronin missed out, but her last few Talent League games have been nothing short of sensational. Athletic with a long kick and able to play both offensively and defensively, she is one to remember for the upcoming draft.

Lilu Hung (Aspley Hornets)
07/06/2005 | 176cm | Forward

The tall forward is a good size to play a variety of roles at the top level, but was limited to just the one game at QAFLW level due to injury. Incredibly a vice-captain at the Hornets before her 18th birthday, Hung had to watch from the sidelines as her team made the grand final. Her defensive pressure and contested marking stands out, and though exposure is a question mark given her limited games, she has shown enough over the last few years to earn a Draft Combine invite.

Annabel Kievit (Waratah)
22/09/2005 | 175cm | Utility

One of the highly touted Northern Territory prospects for a number of years, Kievit had a ripping NTFL Women’s season with Waratah, sharing in the club best and fairest for the 2022-23 season. That award came after winning the Rising Star in 2021-22, though injury setbacks have limited her matches at a high level since. She is a fierce competitor who can match players of all sizes in the air and at ground level and has even shown off her great vertical leap when rolling into the ruck.

Mia Zielinski (Sandringham Dragons)
21/07/2005 | 178cm | Forward

More of an old school full-forward last year, Zielinski kicked 11 goals in seven games as a bottom-ager, proving to be a strong contested mark and reliable booming set shot kick. Her endurance was an area to work on, and Zielinski has been gradually working to get up the ground more this season, culminating in a Draft Combine invite. With fewer key position forwards in the draft crop, Zielinski could be a valuable pickup for a club seeking a marking option.

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