2023 AFLW Draft review: Hawthorn

SNAGGING a couple of Dandenong Stingrays who drifted, the Hawks will be pretty thrilled with the pair of players they picked up in the draft to complement their trio of Eastern Ranges and Demons duo. After selecting Laura Stone, Jess Vukic and Hayley McLaughlin as pre-listings prior to the draft, the Hawks traded back in order to secure Eliza West and Casey Sherriff, but still manage to draft Mikayla Williamson with Pick 17, and teammate Sophie Butterworth with Pick 45.

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

Williamson was tipped to be selected inside the first half dozen players in the AFLW Draft, but once she slid past the Western Bulldogs, and Melbourne went for a bolter, it was evident she would reach the Hawks who had been super keen on her pre-draft. Adding explosive speed and elite endurance to the mix, she will likely play off a wing – though is capable to starting on-ball and being a second possession winner – while also rotating off half-back. She brings defensive pressure as well as a high metres-gained to any side she plays in, and co-captained Vic Country which showcased her leadership at the elite junior level.

Sophie Butterworth (Dandenong Stingrays / Vic Country)
11/12/2005 | 181cm | Key Forward

Joining up with Williamson and former Stingray Mackenzie Eardley, Butterworth provides a key marking target inside 50 for the Hawks. Though her draft range was wide, there was every chance the Hawks pulled the trigger on her at the Williamson selection, so they would be over the moon she was still available at Pick 45. She had some injuries issues in 2023, but fought through them bravely to be one of the more potent goalkickers in the Talent League Girls competition. A strong mark and a booming set shot kick, her left foot is what stands out when she plays, and has the smarts to play as a deep or high forward depending on the team structure.


Hawthorn would be thrilled with its two selections in the draft, adding more teammates to the mix, and another key forward option. Both players can push for immediate selection, and put pressure on the current best 21 which is ideal for the club moving up the ladder. They got great value for their picks, and identified holes to fill through the draft.

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