Leagues: SANFL Women's League, AFLW U18 Championships, AFLW U17 Championships
Piper Window has one of the most eye-catching 2023 seasons. The powerful midfielder/forward elevated her game from being a very good player and obvious top 10 talent to arguably the best available player in the “live” AFLW Draft. With blistering speed and power underpinning her incredible athletic game, she ticks just about every box except for her kicking which is coming along.
+ Explosive speed
+ Contested marking
+ Inside game
+ Defensive pressure
From the very first game of the SANFL Women's season, it was clear that Window was going to take her game to another level. By the end of the year, the Glenelg AFLW Draft prospect was unanimously seen as the best player in the competition for that year, and the umpires agreed, handing her the league best and fairest.
Unlike fellow South Australian top stars Lauren Young and Shineah Goody who were snapped up by Port Adelaide as pre-listed Next-Generation Academy players, Window is a Crows-tied talent and therefore available in the draft. Tipped to head to one of the South Australian clubs, Window is a player who has a full kit bag of tricks.
Her athleticism stands out and almost literally jumps off the page. From her explosive speed, to outstanding agility or evasion and impressive leap, Window has all the aspects that make her such a threat to opposition players. So much so that fellow AFLW Academy player Jaime Henry once said that allowing Window front position at a stoppage meant you were effectively conceding a clearance if the tap went her way given Window's breakaway speed.
Perhaps terrifyingly for opposition players, Window also has a high endurance base, so she can provide repeat efforts and impact games for long into the fourth quarter. Her ability to start forward and clunk a contested mark, or roll through the midfield and add a point of difference makes her such a unique prospect in this year's draft.
While Young and Goody have been the two frontrunners over the last two seasons, Window has been keeping pace with them and had some remarkable games. Strong in the air or at ground level, she is a player who is really hard to move or tackle, as she stands up and can still deliver the ball to a teammate by hand or foot.
The big knock on her game - perhaps the only one of major concern - is her kicking, and that has come along throughout the season. Though there is work to be done, clubs are not so much worried about that, especially given her extraction work and ability to dominated up forward then convert on the scoreboard. With a little more composure and a tweak to her technique - which she has been working on - she could sharpen up that element of her game.
No doubt 18 clubs would have Window's name near the top of their AFLW Draft boards, as they can overlook what she can't do considering everything she can do. Not only is she a superb offensive player, she is just as goo defensively, and will provide fierce tackling pressure at ground level. One area she had to improve in her bottom-age year that has come along in season 2023 was her groundballs, and Window showed across the course of the SANFLW season that she was cleaner below her knees under pressure.
At the AFLW Under 18 Championships, Window averaged 17.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.7 clearances, 3.7 inside 50s and 6.0 tackles, while winning the SANFLW Best and Fairest with 20.3 disposals, 3.1 marks, 6.1 clearances, 4.0 inside 50s and 7.9 tackles. Those latter kind of numbers are fantastic for a player of her age, in a senior state league competition.
Everything combined, Window is our top ranked player who will be available in this year's AFLW Draft on the night, and it is easy to see why. With all her strengths, she has put together a fantastic few seasons and looms as one who can impact early on in her AFLW career.
All things considered, Piper Window is a prestigious talent. From her all-round athletic game to her powerful presence both inside midfield and up forward, she ticks just about every box. While AFLW clubs will be aware of her deficiencies by foot, they will overlook that and fans will be able to enjoy what she can do on a footy field like the entire SANFL Women’s has this year.
SANFL Women's League
AFLW U18 Championships
AFLW U17 Championships