2023 AFLW Draft review: Melbourne

FOR a contending team, Season 7 premiers Melbourne certainly hit the off-season hard, looking to turnaround a finals series where the Demons came up short. Able to position itself high up in the draft after moving on a number of players, Melbourne snagged the best small in the draft in Alyssia Pisano with Pick 5, as well as two of her Eastern Ranges teammates later on in ruck Jacinta Hose and defender Delany Madigan, draft bolter Ryleigh Wotherspoon and father-daughter selection Jemma Rigoni.

Alyssia Pisano (Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro)
01/07/2005 | 162cm | Small Forward

The top ranked Victorian in our Power Rankings on the board, Melbourne grabbed a steal with Pick 5. Pisano joins a forward line with Kate Hore and Eden Zanker which is a nightmare for opposition defenders, as the Eastern Ranges left-footer kicked 38 goals in the Talent League Girls competition this year. One with a deadly kick and a unique goal sense, she will have an immediate impact and pile on the majors in Season 9. Incredibly her feats this season came off an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last season.

Ryleigh Wotherspoon (Sherwood Magpies / Queensland)
10/04/2004 | 170cm | Medium Utility

Wotherspoon was the ultimate AFL Women’s Draft bolter, having been kept under the radar by Brisbane as a train-on for some time, before the cat was let out of the bag on draft day that Melbourne was keen on the 19-year-old. Keen was an understatement, as the Dees used Pick 12 on the athletic utility, who has played at both ends of the ground and boasts terrific power and athleticism in the way she plays.

Jacinta Hose (Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro)
05/09/2005 | 181cm | Ruck

One of the feel-good stories of the 2023 AFL Women’s Draft. The talented Hose was a potential top 20 prospect for this year had it not been for an ACL injury, her second consecutive one. It means she will likely sit out next season, but is a long-term talent with great athleticism, presence in the air and an ability to start out a career as a forward and push into the ruck with time and development.

Jemma Rigoni (Oakleigh Chargers / Vic Metro)
04/06/2004 | 172cm | Tall Utility

The daughter of Guy made her way to the Demons with their fourth selection as Melbourne survived a bid prior to its initial Pick 23 selection. Rigoni provides explosive pace and versatility, having played as a back, forward and wing, which allows her to slot in wherever is required. Like Hose and Pisano, Rigoni also was coming off an ACL injury, but had a really strong over-age season for both Oakleigh Chargers and Vic Metro, cementing herself as one of the top 30 prospects in this year’s draft.

Delany Madigan (Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro)
28/11/2004 | 174cm | Tall Defender

Taken with the last selection in the AFL Women’s Draft, the Demons picked up a third Eastern Ranges talent, adding to the massive haul from the Talent League club. Madigan is a strong defender who can take on big opposition forwards, having also tasted VFL Women’s football with Hawthorn. Returning to the Ranges for an over-age season, she played an unheralded role, but was rated highly internally for her defensive jobs.


Melbourne had an active off-season, picking up five players at the AFL Women’s Draft to restock its youth ahead of Season 9. The Demons have plenty of talent on their list, and filled holes across all three lines to look even scarier for opponents next year.

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