2023 AFLW Draft preview: Gold Coast

GOLD Coast would have been disappointed with its final game of the year, bowing out in the elimination finals against Sydney, but the Suns can take plenty from an improved season. The season not only brought a return to the post-season series, but a lot of change during Trade Period with three players coming in, and among 10 names departing the club.


In: Ella Smith, Katie Lynch, Charlotte Wilson, Pick 35, Pick 44, Pick 59, Pick 53, Pick 55
Out: Kaylee Kimber, Tahlia Meyer, Claire Ransom, Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster (delisted), Kalinda Howarth, Alison Drennan, Bess Keaney, Giselle Davies, Lauren Ahrens, Jasmyn Smith (traded), Pick 14

Draft Selections: 35, 44, 53, 54, 55, 59

Gold Coast heads into the AFLW Draft off wholesale changes from the off-season period with four delistings and six players traded out, including no less than four best 21 players. Among them, key midfielder Alison Drennan, vice-captain Bess Keaney and tall forward Kalinda Howarth will be big losses for the Suns, while young gun Jasmyn Smith moved to the Dogs for more opportunities. They did bring in defenders Katie Lynch and Charlotte Wilson, while adding inside midfielder Ella Smith from the Lions to replace Drennan on the inside.


Gold Coast traded out its first selection in Pick 14, and also lost its second selection due to signing top-age talent Darcie Davies prior to Season 8. Davies would have been a potential top 10 pick, so the Suns won out there, but now enter the draft at 35, which is the 12th selection of the second round.

That pick was important to receive back as it means that if Brisbane nominates any player from the Suns Academy, Gold Coast can match with the Lions’ first pick being 20. That being said, chances are that Gold Coast will stick to its Academy with Sienna McMullen the obvious choice for the selection.

A talented and smooth-running winger with plenty of upside, she has fantastic athleticism and decision making, and played off half-back at times through the national carnival. An AFLW Academy member who will have all the tools to impress at the elite level.


Gold Coast has five list spots open to fill leading into the AFLW Draft, which means at least Picks 44, and the three consecutive picks from 53-55 will be used. Likely that Kiara Bischa is the first one via a bid, which providing she survives a bid from the Lions in those first rounders, will make it to the Suns. A tall defender who was a popular player at the Suns Academy this year, she played a variety of roles and improved as the season went on.

Suns Academy and Queensland skipper Josie McCabe nominated nationally but should be there to at least match a bid for the later three selections, while Lions train-on player Tshinta Kendall is an unattached Queensland talent who has nominated nationally. The former rugby 7s player is explosive with high upside.

Former Lion Ava Seton is a readymade inside midfielder who could fit the void of those departures, and one of the top players throughout the QAFL Women’s this season. Similarly, Steph O’Brien is a readymade Round 1 player if the Suns overlooked her age and slotted the Zielke Medallist into the side in just about any position.

Though nominating nationally, Annabel Kievit played for the Gold Coast Suns Academy in the past, with the Northern Territory utility one who the Suns will have kept a close eye on, alongside other NT prospects, T’Sharni Graham and Kyanne Campbell.


Gold Coast has a stack of top end talents from the Suns Academy to pick up, with a star winger and tall defender among those set to make the transition to AFL Women’s level. Though the Suns do not enter the draft until Pick 35, they have plenty of options they can go for with links to the Academy and overall Queensland pool.

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