2023 AFLW Draft preview: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD was active in this year’s AFLW Trade Period as the Magpies looked to move up the draft order to secure a couple of top talents. The Magpies were without a coach throughout the period, with Steve Symonds departing at the end pf the season, but have brought in a few important players and set up a strong draft hand.


In: Annie Lee, Kalinda Howarth, Muireann Atkinson (Category B), Mikayla Hyde, Pick 9
Out: Sophie Casey, Joanna Lin, Imogen Evans, Olivia Barber (delisted), Tarni Brown, Ash Brazill (traded), Pick 11, Pick 48, Pick 68

Draft Selections: 8, 9, 29

Collingwood moved on four players via delisting and another two were traded including international cross-code star Ash Brazill (Fremantle) and father-daughter Tarni Brown (Carlton). The Magpies sprung a surprise on the final day bring in Dockers small forward Mikayla Hyde to add some excitement to the forwardline along the supremely talented Kalinda Howarth. Carlton defender Annie Lee also adds some skill to the back half of the ground and will fill the role left by Brazill and Sophie Casey.


Collingwood has back-to-back picks at eight and nine, so it is easy enough to discuss both together. The Magpies will need to see what Carlton does first, with the Blues likely to go for either speed, or grab the defensive tall for needs. From a needs perspective, Cleo Buttifant is one the Pies will likely take a close look at, able to fill that tall running half-back who is strong in the air and has elite athleticism.

From a best available standpoint, expect the Magpies to follow the trend of the need for speed, with Mikayla Williamson one in the mix. Collingwood has not been afraid to look interstate for its talent, with Peel Thunder midfielder Kaitlyn Srhoj one who provides that outside run and aerial ability as a point of difference to the Magpies’ midfield mix, while Jessica Rentsch is another with explosive speed who can play outside.

Collingwood might well opt for some speed on the outside, but then also some pressure around the ground, with Central District forward/midfielder Elaine Grigg someone who brings that in spades. She will come under consideration at these picks having nominated nationally, while another player high on upside with outstanding athleticism is Lions Academy’s Evie Long. She might not have the runs on the board compared to some others, but the talent is there and the upside is enormous.


It is tipped Collingwood will pick up two best available and one needs selection, with that depending on how the first seven picks drop. For Pick 29 which will be the Magpies’ third and final selection in the draft, they will consider adding some height to the team given the ageing or departing key defensive stocks, as well as slightly undersized key forwards.

If they do not pick up Buttifant with a first rounder, then a similar type is South Australian Alissa Brook. She provides great aerial prowess and also has the development left in her to be an athletic tall with offensive attributes. The Magpies would consider someone like Jemma Rigoni though expect her to head to the Dees following a bid match.

In attack, Sturt speedster Zara Walsh is a player with good upside and provides height in attack, while powerful key forward Sophie Butterworth is a contested marking option. From the medium sized players, Sarah Grunden and Isabel Bacon are two names who fit needs, with Grunden being a high IQ half-forward, and Bacon being an explosive defender/wing.


Collingwood will be a fascinating watch in this year’s AFLW Draft, holding its first top 10 pick since 2018, and not just having one, but two, and back-to-back as well. It means the Magpies do not need to guess once it gets to their pick, taking the two players they want and then waiting until Pick 29. Carlton is the danger team for the Magpies, with the Blues’ pick seven potentially dictating what Collingwood does with its two selections.

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