2023 AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Midfielders

AS the 2023 AFL Women’s Draft edges closer, we take a look at some of the key players who could shape the draft by each position. The series concludes taking a look at the most populated position, the midfield where we break it down into pure mids, and then dual position players.



Brooke Barwick (Tasmania Devils / Tasmania)
29/07/2005 | 157cm | National

The tenacious small is an all-round star, but our top ranking from the pure midfielders. Though she only stands at 157cm, Barwick is more than capable of filling a midfield void at a club in time, with her inside-outside balance superb, and her skills and decision making going hand-in-hand with her defensive pressure. One in contention for the top pick.


Kaitlyn Srhoj (Peel Thunder / Western Australia)
10/07/2005 | 174cm | National

The West Australian can play inside or outside and has a point of difference compared to other midfielders with her aerial work. She is so strong overhead, finds space well and continually competes across the ground. Srhoj was best-on in the Under 17 Futures game last year and does have a habit of stepping up in big games which is why she looms as a potential top 10 pick.


Brooke Boileau (South Adelaide / South Australia)
28/01/2005 | 169cm | South Australia

Kayley Kavanagh (Calder Cannons / Vic Metro)
07/06/2005 | 169cm | National

Though there are no shortage of clearance midfielders, the two above the rest are Boileau and Kavanagh. Both players had huge 2023 seasons after not being considered among the best players 12 months ago, but certainly proved their worth this year.

Boileau plied her trade at SANFL Women’s level for South Adelaide, earning Team of the Year honours, as well as All-Australian representation at the national carnival. Kavanagh also won All-Australian honours to go with her Vic Metro MVP. Both are terrific on the inside with a huge contested ball-winning ability, and boast great defensive pressure and clean hands.


Sophia de Castella (Giants Academy / NSW-ACT)
20/08/2005 | 165cm | National

Mackenzie Ford (Tasmania Devils / Tasmania)
27/04/2005 | 163cm | National

Meg Robertson (Dandenong Stingrays / Vic Country)
06/06/2005 | 169cm | National

Amber Swan (Lions Academy / Queensland)
17/03/2005 | 164cm | National

Jasmyn Thompson (Tasmania Devils / Tasmania)
29/10/2005 | 163cm | National

There are plenty of hard-running talents in the AFLW Draft crop who also have that touch of speed about them. The above five will likely be able to fill other roles at the top level, but predominantly move through the midfield.

Robertson is eligible as a father-daughter to Carlton, while Thompson finished top five in the 2km time trial at the AFLW Draft Combine. Ford has that explosive speed that catches the eye, while Swan is quick, and de Castella has a high endurance following in the footsteps of her father, marathon runner Robert.


Tyla Crabtree (GWV Rebels / Vic Country)
09/04/2005 | 161cm | National

Olivia Morris (Swans Academy / NSW-ACT)
06/09/2005 | 166cm | National

Asha Turner Funk (Swans Academy / NSW-ACT)
29/04/2004 | 167cm | National

Kiera Whiley (Western Jets / Vic Metro)
07/04/2005 | 172cm | National

Predominantly used on the inside, the four above are strong players of various heights and use that to their advantage. Crabtree is by far the smallest of the four, but packs a punch and is clean on the inside with a tenacious attitude. Her hands are as quick as anyone else’s going around.

Morris is similarly a pure inside ball winner and member of the AFLW Academy just like Whiley, with the latter also a smooth mover out of stoppages and clean by hand or foot. Turner Funk is similar and as an over-ager did not put a foot wrong in an ultra-consistent national carnival for the Allies.



Piper Window (Glenelg / South Australia)
30/07/2005 | 166cm | South Australia

Our top selection across the entire draft, Window nominated South Australia which limited her to two clubs. Barring a shock trade she will head to Alberton to add to the incredible young talent at Port Adelaide, with the SANFL Women’s Best and Fairest winner above all others on consistency, power and contested marking for midfielder/forwards.


Ella Slocombe (Claremont / Western Australia)
06/12/2005 | 165cm | National

Elaine Grigg (Central District / South Australia)
23/12/2005 | 161cm | National

Bryde O’Rourke (Bendigo Pioneers / Vic Country)
28/11/2005 | 175cm | Victoria

A couple of top 10 picks and a father-daughter prospect outline those with the most upside in this year’s AFLW Draft. Slocombe is a forward who developed into a midfielder with explosive speed and great skills. Grigg has the defensive pressure and work rate to apply herself inside, outside or up forward, the latter of which is where she is set to play at AFLW level.

O’Rourke nominated Victoria to make life easier for Geelong where her father Ray played two games in 1967. Though a somewhat of a surprise when it was found out just as nominations opened, the Bendigo Pioneers tall is one that the Cats along with all clubs would have been tracking this season for her upside.


Mel Staunton (Giants Academy / NSW-ACT)
24/01/2005 | 167cm | National

Josie McCabe (Suns Academy / Queensland)
18/04/2005 | 174cm | National

Both Staunton and McCabe often start on-ball then push forward and hit the scoreboard with some similar traits. Though not quick, both burst through would-be tacklers and set up scoring opportunities for their team. Staunton is a medium size and incredibly strong, while McCabe is essentially a tall midfielder who can rest forward and clunk big grabs.


Jacinta Baldwick (Lions Academy / Queensland)
14/11/2005 | 168cm | National

Tamara Henry (Western Jets / Vic Metro)
05/07/2005 | 170cm | National

Mylee Leitch (East Fremantle / Western Australia)
21/01/2004 | 160cm | National

Three unique options in the AFLW Draft who are perhaps best used as forward-leaning players who can rotate into the midfield, Baldwick, Henry and Leitch have all shown potential for upside. Baldwick had a wonderfully consistent season playing both forward and midfield in the Lions Academy, Queensland and Coorparoo to really elevate herself into draft contention.

Henry has some of the strongest hands overhead, and while not consistent, has plenty of upside and a powerful kick. She gained more midfield minutes for the Western Jets as the season went on. Leitch is a year older than her peers but had a strong over-age season after recovering from an early injury to play a key role in the Sharks’ WAFL Women’s flag.



Mikayla Williamson (Dandenong Stingrays / Vic Country)
08/05/2005 | 173cm | Victoria

After playing as a defender for her first one and a half seasons at Dandenong Stingrays, Williamson largely become a hard-running midfielder this year. She can play off either flank though, and with explosive speed and an elite endurance base, looms as one of the top pick’s in this year’s AFLW Draft. Her fundamentals could improve, but her raw athleticism is incredible.


Isabel Bacon (Sandringham Dragons / Vic Metro)
11/04/2005 | 172cm | Victoria

Jessica Rentsch (GWV Rebels / Vic Country)
10/11/2005 | 171cm | National

Georgia Stubs (Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro)
16/07/2005 | 167cm | Victoria

Holly O’Flaherty (Lions Academy / Queensland)
20/06/2004 | 164cm | National

There is no shortage of speedsters in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft, particularly those who can rotate from defence to midfield. Rentsch is the pick of this group, with the Vic Country GWS-supporting talent one of the players in contention for a top 10 pick. She finished her year with 27 disposals and three goals with her confidence sky high after breaking her leg 12 months earlier and successfully recovering from that injury.

Bacon was a newcomer to football and turned it on as the season went on, with her physicality and defensive pressure to match her explosiveness off half-back. Stubs also has outstanding speed, finishing second in the 20m sprint at the AFLW Draft Combine and rotating between defence and midfield for the Eastern Ranges. O’Flaherty is one of only a few over-agers to earn a Combine invite off the back of some sustained form in Queensland.


Chloe Adams (Geelong Falcons / Vic Country)
13/12/2005 | 163cm | Victoria

Jaime Henry (Swan Districts / Western Australia)
05/10/2005 | 173cm | National

Two of the strongest midfielders despite standing 10cm apart are Adams and Henry who have both been able to spend parts of their careers at half-back. Adams only went there this year to add another string to her bow. The Vic Country co-captain and Geelong Falcons captain had a great season, showing her clean hands and contested ball-winning appetite.

Henry started her career as a tall defender, and though she might lack speed compared to some others, has outstanding footy nous and understanding of the game. After playing as a midfielder for Western Australia last year, she held that position at WAFLW level and is a natural clearance expert when in there with a neat left foot.

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