2022 AFLW Draft Power Rankings: May

AFTER unfurling our first 2022 AFLW Draft Power Rankings in March this year, Rookie Me Central has released an update post-championships with plenty of changes amongst the list. Some players have risen into the Top 5, Top 10 or Top 30, whilst others have drifted out. Sometimes it may not be form, it could be others jumping up, but as always, it is a tough decision to rank players in a specific order. For this Power Rankings we have written bios for our Top 30, with an additional 10 names who are on the precipice of that group. Please note: Rankings are the opinion of the individual author, and not based around AFLW ladder positions, given the AFLW Draft remains a state-based draft.

The Power Rankings
  • Ella Roberts
    #1
    Ella Roberts
    Peel Thunder Women's | Outside Midfielder

    THE COMPLETE PACKAGE

    The Peel Thunder tall forward burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old in the WAFL Women’s slotting some crucial goals in the grand final to get her side over the line for its first of two flags. Roberts has only played one match for Peel Thunder since breaking her ankle in a basketball match prior to the preseason. In that one game, she collected 13 disposals, took three marks, laid four tackles and booted a goal with a touch of class around the ground.

    Though plying her trade as a forward, Roberts showed she can push up the ground and really dominate on a wing, picking up 31 disposals in the Sandgropers final match against Vic Metro in last year’s championships. Though not having the preseason behind her this year, expect her to still strut her stuff on the biggest stage, and she is the most complete player across the AFLW Draft crop. Her offensive and defensive ability is well balanced, and she can equally control play at ground level as she can in the air. With an innate ability to take the game away from the opposition, Roberts is expected to be tagged pretty much every time she walks out on the WAFLW field.

    March rankings: #1

    Past month:

    Roberts claimed back-to-back MVPs for Western Australia, and though she did not claim the overall Championships MVP, she did grab a second All-Australian jumper. Throughout the carnival, Roberts averaged 22.7 disposals, 6.0 marls, 2.7 tackles and booted four goals from the three games, spending time through the midfield as well. The clear standout prospect from an overall perspective. Was the next best on ground behind Ham in the AFLW Academy showcase, and had 22 disposals and six clearances, the most and equal-most on the ground, whilst booting 1.3 from numerous chances inside 50.

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  • Hannah Ewings
    #2
    Hannah Ewings
    North Adelaide Women's | Inside Midfielder

    POWER AND SKILL

    Hannah Ewings has enjoyed a full preseason this year after her 2021 AFLW Under 19 Championships were ruled out following an unfortunate ankle injury in the SANFL Women’s. One of the most promising young guns to come out of the SANFL Women’s competition, Ewings won the Breakthrough Player Award in her first season, and has caught attention since debuting at the age of 15. Winning a premiership in that first year with the Roosters and holding her own alongside current Crows star Anne Hatchard in the midfield, Ewings has a rare blend of power and skill that makes her equally unique and special as a talent. With Port Adelaide coming into the AFL Women’s next season, the Power will be keen to pick up the Roosters young gun, but the Crows will be counting their currencies to get their hands on the Whyalla teenager.

    Ewings is an equal parts midfielder and forward, who has gradually earned more midfield minutes as her career has developed. Around a 70-30 split as it stands, Ewings has enjoyed a strong return to the Roosters outfit, being best afield in a number of games for North Adelaide. Her strength and power to burst from a stoppage or shrug off a would-be tackle catches the eye as much as her booming kick that can go beyond 50m. Though she has missed a few more shots on goal this season she would normally nail, she is the type of player that North Adelaide coach Krissie Steen trusts to go one-on-one in the goalsquare and she almost dragged them across the line against West Adelaide in Round 1.

    March rankings: #2

    Past month:

    Earning All-Australian honours and being the pick of the top-agers from the Croweaters, Ewings slotted into a forward pocket booting six goals across the three games – though should have been credited with seven. Otherwise she averaged the 21.3 disposals, 4.7 marks, 3.3 clearances and 3.3 inside 50s, showcasing her power and strength, as well as her foot skills. Though she did not play in the AFLW Academy showcase, she fronted up for North Adelaide as the Roosters battled to keep top spot, racking up a mammoth 34 disposals, 10 clearances, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal.

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  • Montana Ham
    #3
    Montana Ham
    Vic Metro Girls | Inside Midfielder

    POWER AND SIZE

    Montana Ham is renowned for her brute strength and clearance-winning ability amongst the Victorian prospects. Like Jets teammate and fellow AFLW Academy member Charlotte Baskaran, Ham is one who has been touted as a top talent for many years, and is in her fourth season with the Jets in 2022. Few can match her high-volume ball winning ability, and she has a trademark clearance knack where she wins the ball from the ruck and through power, takes a few big strides to bomb it long inside 50. Though the pinpoint accuracy is still an area that Ham can continue to work on, the advantage she gives her side through both clearing the contest and getting the ball deep inside 50 is almost unrivalled from that point of view. What she has improved on throughout the season was her ability to use the ball by hand to get it out to teammates on the outside, and best utilise her strength inside the contest, and allow others extra freedoms to run.

    Ham is a player who could easily be the first Victorian player taken this year given she is just a touch under 180cm and playing as a midfielder. Sometimes taller than rucks, Ham can even fill in to that role and shark it from a stoppages, but her best work is done reading the ball off hands and booting it clear. Though not quite having the skill and finesse that Baskaran has, Ham does have the sheer strength and power that makes her near-impossible to try and stop when she is bursting through opponents. Her long raking boot is one that few can match, and she has even played as a forward in her early days. Ham is as readymade as they come to step up to the top level, playing for Vic Metro in the AFLW Under 19 Championships last year, bypassing the Under 17s competition.

    March rankings: #6

    Past month:

    The last rankings came before Mon went (pardon the pun) Ham, having a ridiculous finish to the 2022 NAB League Girls season, and dominated the AFLW Under 18 Championships. Ham’s numbers across both competitions were incredible, with the Western Jets tall averaging 24.1 disposals, 3.4 marks, 5.2 tackles and 6.0 onside 50s, whilst she split her time between midfield and forward at the championships to average 23.3 disposals, 5.0 marks, 5.3 tackles and a goal per game. Bolted into the top Victorian pick and is right up there with the top two, having won the MVP at yesterday’s AFLW Academy showcase against the Under 23s side.

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  • Jasmine Fleming
    #4
    Jasmine Fleming
    Oakleigh Chargers | Balanced Midfielder

    THE ELITE RIGHT FOOT

    Possessing a right foot that can cut opposition defences to shreds, the dual-sport athlete is seemingly on track to focus on her football and be among the first players picked in the Victorian pool come the AFLW Draft. A highly-touted cricketer and daughter of Australian cricket legend Damien Fleming and Australian netballer Wendy (nee O’Donnell), Fleming has been a late bloomer from a footballing sense in the sense she only made her debut in the final game of the 2021 NAB League Girls season, Playing two more matches – both finals – she won a premiership with the Chargers last season, and has backed up her performances with a sensational 2022. A midfielder who predominantly plays inside but can rest forward, Fleming can hit targets off her right foot over any distance, and with superb technique.

    Though relatively new in terms of the NAB League program compared to others, Fleming has had no issues catching the eye with her sheer ball-winning, clearance ability and scoreboard impact on the regular. She does have some areas to work on such as her left foot and handballing under pressure, but Fleming’s dominant foot is the best there is. Fleming is also one of the most difficult players to try to contain, and though oppositions have managed to limit her influence somewhat, she just finds a way to get on top. With expansion sides coming in such as Hawthorn – who will keep a close eye on the Box Hill cricketer – Fleming will be highly sought after, and given her lesser experience, would be viewed as one with high upside for the future.

    March rankings: #4

    Past month:

    Fleming averaged 22.5 disposals, 4.5 tackles, 5.5 clearances and 5.5 inside 50s across two games at the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships. Despite missing Vic Metro’s final game against South Australia, Fleming was incredible in both her matches, which has seen her maintain her spot in fourth overall. She was also the only top-ager to make the All-Australian team off the back of two matches.

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  • Alana Gee
    #5
    Alana Gee
    Queensland Girls | Balanced Midfielder

    RARE VISION & BALANCE

    The first of three Queenslanders in the Top 20, Alana Gee is simply an outstanding talent. The Mackay AFLW Draft prospect ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to an overall profile, with her speed, athleticism and skill among the best going around. Impressively, Gee is well balanced with ball-in-hand, but if there was one trait that really stands out, then it is her vision. Gee has outstanding 360-degree vision that enables her to assess options and make the right decisions with ball-in-hand, and can also control kicks on the outside of her boot.

    Gee is the standout prospect from the Sunshine State this season, capable of winning the ball on the inside and bursting away, often utilised as the second possession winner at the stoppages. She can equally start on a wing and then receive or win the loose ball, then go forward with a high-volume of inside 50s. When given any time or space, Gee can pinpoint passes with great efficiency and is very similar to Baskaran in that way. Though under pressure, she is still continuing to build that aspect of her game, but when she takes it on she is hard to contain. Though touted as a Top 10 talent coming into the year, her couple of performances have seen her rise even more to be cracking into the Top 5.

    March rankings: #5

    Past month:

    Unsurprisingly earning MVP honours for Queensland and landing on a wing in the All-Australian team, Gee held up against the best players in the country. She averaged 24.0 disposals, 3.7 marks, 3.0 tackles, 4.0 clearances, 4.0 inside 50s, 2.0 rebound 50s and booted two goals playing on all three lines. A truly versatile talent with massive upside.

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  • Charlotte Baskaran
    #6
    Charlotte Baskaran
    Vic Metro Girls | Balanced Midfielder

    FOOTY IQ AND DECISION MAKER

    The second of two Western Jets players inside the Top 10 of our AFLW Draft May Power Rankings, Baskaran has long been a name touted at the top end of the 2022 AFLW Draft. Debuting as a 14-year-old and now into her fourth season in the NAB League Girls, Baskaran has gone from strength to strength. She has always been a sublime user of the ball on the outside, starting off as a half-back and then a wing. When moving inside, Baskaran was still ultra-impressive, but admitted her decision making in contested situations was something she wanted to improve in 2022. Without a doubt she has done that in spades this year, being arguably the best decision maker under pressure in the NAB League Girls.

    Though only standing at 162cm, Baskaran just makes every possession count. She rarely wastes a disposal, and has football IQ far superior to that of her opponents. When in possession, she seemingly has more time than many others, and when in space can pinpoint passes with ease. Though she is a touch undersized for the inside, she has proven she can not only play there, but succeed as well. In 2022, Baskaran has also been able to work hard forward and kick goals, matching that of her defensive ability to lay plenty of tackles. If a club is looking for a readymade talent and natural leader, few emerge better suited than the Jets captain, who has hardly put a foot wrong this season and stands out for her sheer consistency among her incredible traits.

    March rankings: #3

    Past month:

    Baskaran is very unlucky to slip to sixth overall, but it is more the three moving up above her rather than her doing anything wrong to drop back. Baskaran the midfielder is such an incredible player with few flaws, though she did find it a lot tougher playing in a less familiar position of forward, which is what separates the others above her. She still averaged 16.0 disposals, 3.3 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s and laid 12 tackles per game, but it is evident she is a midfielder or running defender to best utilise her strengths.

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  • Amber Clarke
    #7
    Amber Clarke
    Dandenong Stingrays | Medium Utility

    SPEED & VERSATILITY

    Like the Western Jets, Dandenong Stingrays have two players inside our Top 10 players in the country, starting with the lightning quick Amber Clarke. Having plied her trade as a defender back in her Under 16s year and using her trademark speed then to catch the eye, Clarke has since developed her craft up the other end as a damaging forward. Touted as the quickest player in the NAB League Girls, Clarke is unstoppable when she gets goalside, and can burst away from any opponent, leaving them in her wake. With defences knowing this, she can also draw free kicks from opponents trying to illegally hold her back, which also happens when in the midfield. The on-ball role is something Clarke has increased this season after getting a taste for it in her bottom-age season.

    Clarke had one of the fastest starts to the NAB League Girls competition in 2022, kicking bags of five and four goals in two of the Stingrays’ first three weeks. Remarkably, this included her spending plenty of time in the midfield, and resting forward, but in resting, Clarke kicked snag after snag. The talented goalsneak has not always nailed the ones she should, but has the licence to have a crack from just about anywhere because she certainly has the radar and capacity to hurt opposition sides on the scoreboard. With incredible upside thanks to her versatility and athleticism.

    March rankings: #7

    Past month:

    Clarke had a big finish to the NAB League Girls season, earning Best on Ground in a losing grand final effort against the Jets. Alongside her achievement on the biggest stage, Clarke did her best for Vic Country at the AFLW Under 18 Championships, averaging 13.0 disposals, 2.7 marks, 2.7 tackles and 3.7 inside 50s. She only managed to kick one goal in a forward line that struggled bit still showed highlights, backing up why she also won the NAB League Girls Best and Fairest.

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  • Zarlie Goldsworthy
    #8
    Zarlie Goldsworthy
    Allies Girls | Midfielder

    CONTESTED CONSISTENCY

    Few could lay claim to a debut NAB League Girls season quite like Zarlie Goldsworthy, with the Albury talent having an incredible year. The midfielder/forward has racked up numbers that few could dream of, averaging a remarkable 24.9 disposals, 4.2 marks, 9.0 tackles, 6.0 inside 50s and more than a goal and a half per game average. On debut alone, the Murray Bushrangers talent slotted 4.4 from 33 disposals and five marks to earn herself our Player of the Week. Though having only kicked multiple goals once more – against Geelong Falcons the following week – Goldsworthy has kicked a goal in every single match she has played this year, and also not dipped below 23 disposals in any game aside from her final match.

    Sometimes statistics can lie, but in the case of Goldsworthy, the numbers are very much an indication of her impact on the game, and she has been an incredible force through the middle bursting from a stoppage, or when forward taking a contested mark. Her contested work sets her aside from many other players, standing at a medium height of 169, she is also a mid-November birth, indicating further upside. As a kick-first player, Goldsworthy can continue to work on the execution going forward, but taking that one area of improvement out, she meets basically every other expectation. Goldsworthy is one who might not have been on many radars coming into the year, but off the back of a huge preseason, enjoyed a massive year.

    March rankings: #8

    Past month:

    Goldsworthy finished the year off with the same consistency she started, and though her NAB League Girls season unfortunately finished early due to concussion with a goal post, she showed she could match it with the best in the country. Despite her numbers being lower at the national level – largely due to more time spent forward, Goldsworthy was still good enough to earn MVP honours for the Allies.

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  • Mackenzie Eardley
    #9
    Mackenzie Eardley
    Dandenong Stingrays | Key Position Utility

    THE ATHLETIC TALL

    The first genuine key position talent in the AFLW Draft Power Rankings, Mackenzie Eardley is far from a conventional tall. Though she possesses all the skills required to succeed up either end, the 181cm athlete is far more than just a marking machine. She has deceptive speed, just clocking a millisecond behind teammate Amber Clarke at the NAB League Girls Preseason Testing Day, and though she does not always have the luxury to show it on field – often under pressure in defence – she has the ability in her kitbag. Eardley has grown through the Stingrays program as a rebounding defender who is able to position herself well and intercept at will. Though over the last 12 months, she has been able to develop her forward craft, and even spend time in the middle such is her unique versatility.

    For a 181cm player, Eardley has superb kicking skills over multiple distances, and as co-captain of the Dandenong Stingrays, she possesses natural leadership as well. In 2021, though she missed a couple of games in the NAB League Girls, she finished off the season strong, and has been able to have the luxury of pushing up the ground in the second half of matches and showcasing her offensive abilities too. Able to sidestep opponents and sell some candy, Eardley can play multiple roles, and he hands overhead are great, as are her ground ball abilities. Though she will have to compete against bigger bodies at the top level, her footy smarts and skills will be able to adapt to the top level.

    March rankings: #9

    Past month:

    Eardley finished the NAB League Girls season with an average of 14.1 disposals, 3.3 marks, 4.6 tackles and 4.0 rebound 50s, which translated into the AFLW Under 18 Championships. In a struggling Vic Country team, Eardley was one of the best, earning All-Australian honours at full-back, and averaging 12.3 disposals, 1.7 marks, 4.0 tackles and 4.3 rebound 50s. The clear standout tall in the draft.

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  • Sarah Goodwin
    #10
    Sarah Goodwin
    Glenelg Women's | Medium Defender

    ELITE USER

    One of the big improvers in 2022 is South Australia’s Sarah Goodwin, with the Glenelg premiership player really stepping up this season with some phenomenal efforts. Goodwin showed promise as a bottom-age player in the SANFL Women’s benchmark team last year. In 2022, Goodwin has owned the half-back flank for the Bays, and her skill by hand or foot is among the best in the AFLW Draft. Unlike many players at her age, Goodwin does not just look to take the easy, long down the line kicks, but actually dares to dream with slicing inside 45-degree passes to open up the game. She is damaging with her disposal, and can accumulate the ball with ease against senior opponents.

    Goodwin has been an outstanding talent off half-back, and the way she can add strings to her bow in the future is with more contested roles. She is a player who will likely remain on the outside or off half-back thanks to her skills and run, but could always add strings to her bow. Regardless, she has some outstanding eye-catching traits, and her athleticism combined with her natural footballing ability make her one of the more naturally-gifted players going around in the AFLW Draft crop.

    March rankings: #16

    Past month:

    Goodwin has bolted into our Top 10 after reaffirming that her game would stand up against the best of the best aground the country. At the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships, Goodwin averaged 19.0 disposals, 3.3 marks, 4.0 tackles and 2.7 rebound 50s, playing her usual high attacking role off half-back. It earned her All-Australian honours, and that skill, decision making and vision was all on show on a national stage. She missed the final round match for the Bays due to injury, but will be looking forward to a big SANFLW campaign with Glenelg.

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  • Sofia Hurley
    #11
    Sofia Hurley
    Sandringham Dragons | Balanced Midfielder

    EVASIVE AND FIERCE

    Another side with two AFLW Academy members, Sandringham Dragons’ Sofia Hurley is a great example of how a player can be impactful on both the offensive and defensive ends. From an offensive standpoint, Hurley can win the ball at the coalface, go forward and send the ball inside 50, and do so through evasive techniques out of the stoppages. She uses the ball well going forward when given time and space, which is why opposition sides often try and close her down and limit that time to enable her to use her foot skills. Though her kicking under pressure is still an area she can work on, she is clean by hand and able to distribute the ball to teammates.

    From a defensive standpoint, Hurley is a high-volume tackler, averaging a massive 10.9 tackles in season 2022 in the NAB League. Each year, Hurley has lifted her output even further, and she is a kick-first player who is often under pressure when she wins it, but tries to get herself out of trouble. She kicked two goals against the Northern Knights this year, though hitting the scoreboard is another string she could add to her bow, with three of her four career NAB League Girls goals coming in the space of three weeks. Overall, she is an exciting talent with a nice balance of traits and the capacity to run all day.

    March rankings: #11

    Past month:

    Hurley maintains her spot on the precipice of the Top 10 after a very nice AFLW Under 18 Championships with Vic Metro. Earning All-Australian honours on the wing, Hurley was amongst the best few Metro players on several occasions, and averaged 22.7 disposals, 2.7 marks, 6.3 tackles and 6.0 inside 50s to be a crucial link player going forward.

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  • Rylie Wilcox
    #12
    Rylie Wilcox
    Carlton VFLW | Wing

    SKILLFUL WINGER

    A forward who has graduated up to the wing for the Northern Knights, Wilcox is one who provides plenty of dash, working high up the ground to help link into attack. Her finishing and execution are areas of improvement for the talented teenager, but her run and carry, as well as her footy IQ makes her a high impact player and one with potential to develop even further. She has missed a little bit of football with a rib injury through the NAB League Girls season, but was fit enough to play with Vic Metro.

    Though a very outside player, Wilcox is similar to Goodwin in the sense that she has the perfect traits to play that outside role. She runs and carries, can hit the scoreboard, or at the very least, can set up her teammates. Wilcox has terrific skill, is creative and has rare traits for this draft class that is filled with so many talented inside players. A real point of difference, it would not be a shock to see Wilcox earn a spot inside the Top 10 by the time the AFLW Draft rolls around.

    March rankings: #23

    Past month:

    Another huge mover inside the Top 20, Wilcox moves up 11 spots in the Power Rankings after an outstanding AFLW Under 18 Championships. Earning an All-Australian jumper on the interchanger, the Vic Metro small averaged 16.0 disposals, 3.0 marks, 4.3 inside 50s, 2.0 rebound 50s and booted two goals in an all-round even effort for her side.

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  • Charley Ryan
    #13
    Charley Ryan
    Dandenong Stingrays | Midfielder

    VERSATILE BALL-WINNER

    One of he more impressive talents in this year’s NAB League Girls season was Dandenong Stingrays’ Charley Ryan. The third Stingray to make the list, the talented midfielder has had more than her fair share of impact forward of centre. Boasting a five-goal haul against Gippsland Power playing through the midfield but being clinical in front of goal, Ryan slotted eight goals in seven games this season, and was a critical part of the runners-up’s setup. One of the many Stingrays who can roll through the midfield or rest forward, Ryan is smart, clean and good overhead, though can equally win the ball in congestion and fire it out to teammates on the outside.

    Ryan is one of the better ball users in the Stingrays program, able to hit targets over multiple distances, and can use the ball in multiple situations be it coming out of the defensive half, bursting from a stoppage, or leading out from the square. Her versatility not only on-field, but also with ball-in-hand, separates her from a number of other prospects. Though she is still building ares of consistency within her game, when Ryan is on-song, she is very eye-catching and is more than capable of doing a lot of damage both herself and through her teammates, to the opposition defence.

    March rankings: #17

    Past month:

    In one of the more disappointing championship stories, Ryan came from the field midway through the first Country game, and missed not only the rest of the championships, but the NAB League Girls finals series as well. Ryan recorded 14 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s to be a clear best-on for Country prior to her injury. One who looked so impressive and comfortable on the big stage, you can expect once she is fully fit she will push for first round contention.

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  • Keeley Kustermann
    #14
    Keeley Kustermann
    South Australia Girls | Medium Utility

    BALANCE & POISE

    Every year there are players that just seem to do everything right, and have few flaws to their game. In 2022, one of those players is West Adelaide’s Keeley Kustermann. The rebounding defender spent more time in the midfield, progressing from last year’s AFLW Under 19 Championships with South Australia as a bottom-ager, to the SANFL Women’s now as a top-ager this season. Despite the Bloods being hit with plenty of obstacles such as injuries and Health and Safety Protocols, Kustermann has remained a constant in there. When watching Kustermann, there is little to fault about her game, and plenty to like.

    Like her state teammate Hannah Ewings, Kustermann has impressed at SANFL Women’s level since she was 15-years-old, and has gradually added more strings to her bow each year. With ball-in-hand, Kustermann is very composed, even under pressure , and she picks the right options and executes by hand or foot. Though many of the players above her on the list possess an elite trait, Kustermann is just strong across the board, and is one of those players who you can rely on do to the right thing time and time again. She played at the AFLW Under 19 Championships last season and impressed as a bottom-ager before sustaining an injury early in the third and final game of the Croweaters campaign.

    March rankings: #10

    Past month:

    Though Kustermann drops down a few spots, she still had a very consistent carnival, earning All-Australian honours off half-back. The West Adelaide talent picked up 16.0 disposals, 2.7 tackles, 2.0 clearances and 2.0 rebound 50s per game. Though not necessarily creating as much run and carry as those just above her, she has fewer flaws than many and is someone you can lock into being a very solid player across the board at the top level.

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  • Imogen Evans
    #15
    Imogen Evans
    Queensland Girls

    ALL-ROUND MIDFIELDER

    We have already mentioned a few players who just do very little wrong in their game, and Gold Coast Suns Academy captain Imogen Evans certainly falls into that category. The inside midfielder just ticks so many boxes with her ability to cover the ground, win the contested ball, work hard to spread and get it on the outside if need be, then use it well by hand or foot to open up the game and bring her teammates into the match. She possesses a good technique with her disposal, and she puts her body on the line time and time again with great courage. When assessing her profile as a whole, Evans is the type of player who can step up and play any role, and be sure to do it to a high ability.

    The one area that perhaps is a little lower compared to some other midfielders is her speed, but Evans has enough strength and power to stand up in tackles, and also create enough separation through her footy smarts to be able to win the ball and have enough time to dispose of it cleanly. Not afraid of contact, nor opposition pressure, Evans is composed with ball-in-hand and can rack it up over four quarters with a high endurance level. Though she missed eight months of footy due to border closures – she hails from the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales and was unable to compete in September’s Under 17 AFLW Championships with the Suns against the Brisbane Lions Academy – her three games this year have been ultra-impressive. Evans might be another player who missed out on the AFLW Academy, but certainly has the quality to be in there, and is among the most consistent talents in the country.

    March rankings: #14

    Past month:

    Good players know when to lift, and Evans is one of those players that can go to another level when her team needs her. Though her championships numbers do not leap off the page, she had some huge quarters where she almost looked unstoppable with the way she found space and won the ball going inside 50. Looking to iron out that consistency quarter to quarter, Evans averaged 15.0 disposals, 3.7 marks, 4.7 tackles and 2.7 inside 50s largely playing at half-forward then rotating into the midfield.

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  • Fleur Davies
    #16
    Fleur Davies
    SUNS Academy | Ruck Forward

    STANDOUT RUCK-FORWARD

    The best pure ruck-forward in the AFLW Draft crop is Gold Coast Suns Academy’s Fleur Davies. The sister of 2021 Suns draftee Giselle, Davies has had a steep rate of improvement over the past 12 months. She has become more impactful both at centre bounces and up forward, with the latter craft improving each game. She is no longer just an athletic ruck who can rest forward and hit the scoreboard, but Davies can genuinely be more of a permanent forward if there are other ruck options in the side. Though still a standout ruck with her athleticism and 185cm size, Davies has presented well over the last few games this year.

    In 2022, Davies has found the right lanes and pressed well, able to adapt to various kicks inside 50. What sets her aside in the comparison is her more natural forward ability and her incredible work rate that sees her still finding the ball in the dying minutes as she would as if she had just run onto the field. Her work rate, athleticism and leading patterns maker her a promising talent for the Suns, and it is no surprise to see the tall in the Academy, having already taken promising strides forward. As her consistency continues to improve, she can certainly further sharpen up her game, but from a foundational level, she has plenty of tools to be a really exciting player into the future.

    March rankings: #20

    Past month:

    Statistically some might look at her championship numbers and expect her to drop down the rankings, but instead she went up, because from the eye, she showcased traits that are incredibly transferrable to the next level. She presented around the ground, provided a target and impacted games, rarely losing one-on-one battles in the ruck. Overall she averaged 8.3 disposals, 2.3 marks, 10.3 hitouts and 2.0 inside 50s, but ignoring stats, she certainly had an impressive carnival.

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  • Octavia Di Donato
    #17
    Octavia Di Donato
    Bendigo Pioneers | Medium Utility

    VERSATILE PINPOINT PASSER

    As versatile as they come, Octavia Di Donato is a lovely user of the ball, and is able to find it in all thirds of the ground. Starting her career as a defender, Di Donato developed into a midfielder and has even spent time forward to try and hit the scoreboard. She has an even profile across the board, and though still able to work on quarter to quarter consistency, she has a lot of tools from her movement to her disposal, that make her damaging with ball-in-hand.

    Di Donato is one of those players who just does not make many mistakes, and can hit targets in all areas of the ground. She is often thrown onto a flank for representative duties, going from the top prospect at the Pioneers, to being one of many at Country. She lifted her ball-winning numbers in 2022, and is a player who could easily go first round in the Victorian pool based off her really consistent traits.

    March rankings: #21

    Past month:

    Di Donato finished the NAB League Girls season averaging 20.6 disposals, 2.9 marks, 4.0 tackles, 3.5 inside 50s and 2.0 rebound 50s across eight games. Coming into the championships for Vic Country, Di Donato largely played on the outside providing run in transition, managing the 12.3 disposals, 2.7 marks 3.7 tackles and 2.0 rebound 50s in a team under pressure

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  • Cynthia Hamilton
    #18
    Cynthia Hamilton
    Allies Girls | Inside Midfielder

    CONTESTED STAR

    Cynthia Hamilton is one of the few players who is still yet to play half a dozen matches in season 2022. Winning the Allies’ MVP award at last year’s carnival as a bottom-ager, Hamilton is hoping to join her sister Lexi in the AFL Women’s. She is tough, hits the contest hard, and can win her fair share of uncontested ball to match that of her contested work. She might be another player that can still sharpen up her kicking a touch, but her impact on the scoreboard and around the clinches is what makes her so damaging.

    In her first game against the Allies whilst representing NSW-ACT, Hamilton dominated, picking up 27 disposals, four marks, three tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s, three rebound 50s and booting a goal. She showed all the talent that earned her the MVP from the previous year, and though she did not quite have the same impact in her final two games, she showed moments and her traits are easily transferrable at the next level.

    March rankings: #24

    Past month:

    Hamilton averaged 15.0 disposals, 2.0 marks and laid 8.0 tackles per game across her final two championship games. Though not as dominant as her outing for NSW-ACT, it was enough to earn All-Australian honours on the interchange. Hamilton could nominate either Victoria or NSW-ACT at this stage, but either way she will be a quality pickup, moving up six spots in our rankings.

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  • Bridie Hipwell
    #19
    Bridie Hipwell
    Sandringham Dragons | Inside Midfielder

    HYBRID TALENT

    The second Sandringham Dragons player in the Top 20, Bridie Hipwell is a hybrid midfielder/forward who has some eye-catching traits and is capable of providing a presence around the ground. Though not a massive accumulator of the ball – Hipwell averages 13.5 disposals in her six games this season – she applies good defensive pressure with five tackles per game in the NAB League Girls. Hipwell has only kicked three goals this season, but is consistently the link in the chain going forward, with at least three inside 50s per game. Though Hipwell still has some areas to work on, she looks very impressive at full flight when bursting out of a stoppage and driving the ball forward.

    Looking beyond 2022, Hipwell is someone who could easily play as a lead-up forward or as a clearance midfielder, and she got a taste of the AFLW Under 19s Championships last year as a bottom-ager. The Sandringham Dragons talent is good one-on-one, and more than capable of pulling down a strong mark when in space, and though her kicks can often be rushed under pressure, she can at least put it to her forward’s advantage with her footy knowledge. As a whole, Hipwell is able to play in multiple roles, making herself very versatile, and a good size at 174cm.

    March rankings: #15

    Past month:

    Unfortunately for Hipwell, her championships lasted just one game, picking up 12 disposals, three marks, four tackles and booted a goal agianst Vic Country. Still earning a trip up to Queensland to support the team, Hipwell had a few overtake her at the championships, but is another with good size that could impact at the top level well.

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  • Lauren Wakfer
    #20
    Lauren Wakfer
    South Fremantle Women's | Ruck

    DYNAMIC RUCK

    Lauren Wakfer entered the 2022 year as one of two rucks in the AFLW Academy, and has certainly started in promising form for South Fremantle in the WAFL Women’s competition. She starred in Round 1 against a struggling West Perth side, and has been able to go forward and hit the scoreboard in her first two games. She slotted three goals in those games, then picked up a season-high 20 hitouts against Subiaco last round. Though challenged in the ruck against the Lions, Wakfer is more than just a stoppage player, capable of becoming a link in transition and offers herself as a target both on the offensive and defensive ends. The aspect that stands out the most is her athleticism for a tall, and at 180cm, she can impact the ruck against taller opponents.

    Wakfer still stood out in a struggling South Fremantle side last season, then really stepped up at the AFLW Under 19 Championships as a bottom-ager. In 2022, Wakfer has added more consistency to her game, finding double-figure disposals in each of her three matches, and when not in the middle, she is pushing forward to be a target, or working back defensively to be a safe kick-out option on the flanks. She is strong overhead and can pull down contested marks, though is more than capable at ground level too. At times she can rush her kicks off a step, but Wakfer is capable of rare feats by players her size, and she is certainly not out of the contest once the ball hits the deck.

    March rankings: #18

    Past month:

    When it comes to numbers, few talls could match Wakfer at the AFLW Under 18 Championships. She amassed averages of 12.3 disposals, 19.3 hitouts, 6.0 tackles, 3.7 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s and 2.3 rebound 50s, getting around the ground and being a target throughout. In the ruck, she battled against taller and equally athletic types, and played more full-time ruck than any of her opponents. Her carnival was capped off with All-Australian honours, and though she drops a touch, the main area of improvement would just be the kicking. Still the second best Western Australia prospect post-carnival.

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  • Claire Ransom
    #21
    Claire Ransom
    Allies Girls | Balanced Midfielder

    SMOOTH MOVER

    Tasmania’s top talent for 2022 is Claire Ransom, a balanced midfielder who has a knack for being evasive and opening up the game for her teammates. Possessing that ‘stopping time’ capability that a number of classy midfielders have, Ransom often gets herself out of trouble with a slick sidestep or spin. Though her game against Eastern Ranges was not up to her lofty standards and she did get caught or in trouble a couple of times, her ability to stand up when needed is clear. She is clean with ball-in-hand and can step into the stoppage or play off the outside, trying to drive the ball forward and help her team in transition. She is an offensively-minded player who is predominantly a second possession or handball receive talent, looking to breakaway from the congestion.

    Standing at 170cm, Ransom has averaged 19.4 disposals this season, and prior to her match against the Ranges where she spent more time forward, averaged five inside 50s per game. Ransom showed her tackling pressure in a few games this season, with games of six, seven and 11 tackles. Though still having areas to work on, Ransom just has that class and poise that make her such a smooth mover, and with further development at the elite level, will be a talent to keep an eye on over the next few years.

    March rankings: #12

    Past month:

    Ransom unfortunately finished her NAB League Girls season in a moon boot, but returned to play the AFLW Under 18 Championships. Though she had some good moments, she predominantly played forward of centre, with impressive games against NSW-ACT and Western Australia before a quieter game against Queensland. She drops a bit due to others rising, and though her overall 2022 was not as dominant as it could have been, she added more strings to her bow.

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  • Keeley Skepper
    #22
    Keeley Skepper
    Murray Bushrangers | Inside Midfielder

    PENETRATING LEFTIE

    The Vic Under 16s star has developed into a ball-winning midfielder over the past couple of seasons, and remains a valuable prospect in the NAB League Girls. The Murray Bushrangers talent has a powerful boot, and though not always able to find her accuracy to match her penetration, Skepper certainly covers a lot of ground with her booming kick. She is not afraid to tuck the ball under the arm and take off, and has even spent time playing in defence to add another string to her bow, which suits her running and long-kicking style. A natural inside midfielder, Skepper certainly has the traits that catch the eye. Having started her career as a midfielder, her work in defence in 2022 allowed her to set up plays from behind the ball.

    A player who steps up for the occasion, Skepper was deemed the MVP for Vic Country at the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships, and also played for the Under 23s side against the AFLW Academy, again playing in defence. Having really settled into that role, it looks to be the one Skepper will adapt to in the future at the next level, and she was certainly able to look a lot calmer with ball-in-hand behind the play rather than in front of it.

    March rankings: #29

    Past month:

    Skepper averaged 15.7 disposals, 2.7 marks, 4.0 tackles and 3.3 rebound 50s at the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships to take out Vic Country’s MVP Award. It meant she backed up her best-on for Country a couple of years back at the Under 16 Championships, and her NAB League Girls season where she had a career-high 23.4 disposals, 3.0 marks and around four inside 50s and four rebound 50s per game.

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  • Charlotte Taylor
    #23
    Charlotte Taylor
    Oakleigh Chargers | Tall Utility

    TOUGH AS NAILS

    Oakleigh Chargers’ Charlotte Taylor might have missed out on the AFLW Academy, but last year the promising bottom-age talent showed plenty to suggest she was going to be a prime mover in 2022. She played predominantly at half-back, and used her size to be able to play against talls or smalls. She is one of those rare taller inside midfielders, standing at 177cm and has picked up at least 14 disposals in each of her eight games for an average of 17.4 touches per game in 2022. A tackling machine, Taylor has laid an average of seven tackles per game this season, and produced 14 in the loss against Dandenong Stingrays. She works hard, and is not only a contested star, but a two-way runner who gets back to help her side’s defence.

    No doubt likely to feature prominently in the Vic Metro midfield, Taylor is versatile enough to play in multiple positions, and have the contested ability in the air and at ground level to be a matchup nightmare for opposition coaches. Like most players in this region, there are still improvements to make such as her execution by foot and occasionally doing too much with ball-in-hand, but she is a player who can make things happen. If Taylor is able to get a cleaner run at the stoppages through the AFLW Under 18s Championships, then she could well stake her claim even further and be one considered with high upside given her height and strength.

    March rankings: #13

    Past month:

    Similar to a few others on this list, Taylor did not do anything particularly wrong, with others just moving up due to key roles at the championships. Taylor played in the unfamiliar position of permanent forward, having really rested there whilst playing midfield this season. She still averaged 12 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s and a goal per game, and given her size and versatility, is a highly sought after talent this year.

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  • Taylah Gatt
    #24
    Taylah Gatt
    Dandenong Stingrays | Midfielder

    SLICK WINGER

    The speedy winger had a terrific NAB League Girls campaign, and though she is not a high accumulator, her metres gained per possession would easily be the highest in the league. Her eight touches seem like 20 such is her impact on the game. Though still raw and still ironing out a few things, her upside and natural talent is obvious. Gatt caught the eye from early on in the season and only got better, and whilst she has had some quieter games, did not look overawed at the championships.

    Against Vic Metro in particular, Gatt caught the eye on the wing, racking up 16 disposals, two marks and five inside 50s. Her disposal that day was not to her usual standard, but her ability to take grass with most touches is what stands out. She backs her speed and more often than not uses the ball well, and a good winger is hard to come by, which is why Gatt can fill that niche role.

    March rankings: #30

    Past month:

    In her two games with Vic Country, Gatt averaged 13 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s, and whilst some others stood out more, Gatt took the game on and her traits are what clubs look for in outside players.

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  • Jasmyn Smith
    #25
    Jasmyn Smith
    Queensland Girls | Balanced Midfielder

    EVASIVE UTILITY

    Jasmyn Smith is one of those smaller talents with plenty of upside, having improved rapidly in the past 12 months. Coming through the development pathway with the Gold Coast Suns Academy, Smith has always been a really slick kick, clean by hand and she is neat around stoppages. Whilst it was expected given the high amount of midfielders in the Queensland side she was going to play forward, Smith spent more time on-ball than a lot of her teammates, and it showed in her clearance work.

    Finishing the carnival with a massive 18 clearances in three games – ranked number one overall – Smith showed she is more than capable of rolling through the middle and winning the ball. She does it well by being in close and either sidestepping an opponent or shrugging out of a tackle, which can also draw a free kick if she does not get away. She finds space on the outside as much as she wins it on the inside, and has played in the small forward role as well. Though she impressed at the Under 17s Championships last year for the Suns Academy against the Lions, it was her top-age championships that have really seen her bolt into contention.

    March rankings: N/A

    Past month:

    After being on the precipice of the Top 30 in Match, Smith enters our rankings following a terrific AFLW Under 18 Championships. Smith averaged 17.7 disposals, 2.3 marks, 6.0 clearances, 6.0 tackles, 3.0 inside 50s and 1.0 rebound 50s in an all-round effort. Moving into number 23, Smith is the fourth Queenslander to make the list, and fourth from the Gold Coast Suns Academy. Her ground balls and whether or not the Suns will target midfielder/forwards will be the key to see how she fares at this year’s AFLW Draft.

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  • Mia Busch
    #26
    Mia Busch
    Eastern Ranges | Midfielder

    RELENTLESS REBOUNDER

    Another talented player who just ticks a lot of boxes overall is Eastern Ranges vice-captain Mia Busch. Plying her trade as a rebounding defender last season, Busch is clean with ball-in-hand, and is creative when she needs to be, to roam up and down the ground to win her fair share of possessions. The running half-back has developed into a consistent midfielder in 2022, and she stepped up in the absence of drafted captain Bridget Deed. Busch is a player teammate can rely on with ball-in-hand, and she is just really solid overall, winning the contested or uncontested ball, and trying to be involved in transitional players from defence to attack.

    It is no surprise that Busch has found her best form in her past three games with more midfield time. An important aspect of a running defender is their ability to remain accountable to their opponent, and Busch certainly does that, exemplified by averaging six tackles per game. Capable of being deployed as a midfield sweeper, Busch is one who will likely be a midfield long-term, but her defensive positioning and offensive run mean she is more than able to slot onto half-back at any level.

    March rankings: #19

    Past month:

    Busch had a pretty solid carnival with Vic Metro, recording 15.0 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.3 tackles, 2.0 clearances and 1.7 rebound 50s per game playing between half-back and midfield. She had a good finish to the year for the Ranges as well, and showcased her ability on the inside. Though she might have dropped a few in our rankings, it was more about others rising up at the championships.

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  • Charlotte Mullins
    #27
    Charlotte Mullins
    Lions Academy | Inside Midfielder

    BALANCED UTILITY

    Charlotte Mullins has been one to watch over the past couple of years, and when the Lions Academy member got her chance to utilise her strengths with Queensland, she excelled. One of the more impressive Queensland talents, and certainly competing with Ella Smith for the top Lions selection, the balanced midfielder had a championships to remember. She uses the ball well on the outside and is more impactful there, but she can go inside and be a force, laying plenty of tackles as she did for the Lions against the Suns and Western Jets this year.

    Mullins benefited from Queensland having so many midfield options, as she spent time in different roles, and was able to impact the game in each third of the ground. A player who has a lot of class when given time and space, she is one who has plenty of upside to work with for the future.

    March rankings: N/A

    Past month:

    Mullins performed strongly at the AFLW Under 18 Championships, averaging 15.3 disposals, 2.3 marks, 2.7 tackles, 3.0 clearances and 3.7 inside 50s. To give an indication of the impact she can have by foot, Mullins picked up 12 disposals – of which nine were effective – and most came from mopping up, with five inside 50s, and a massive 71.4 per cent contested rate.

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  • Sachi Syme
    #28
    Sachi Syme
    Norwood Women's | Midfielder

    CONSISTENT BALL-WINNER

    After an impressive SANFLW season, Syme stepped up to be one of the most impressive South Australians at the AFLW Under 18 Championships, especially considering she was playing a largely unfamiliar role up forward. Though she has rested there before, the predominant midfielder took on a lot more minutes inside 50, and she did well, impacting the scoreboard as well as setting teammates up. Syme is one of those players that just does not do much wrong, and she continues to impress at all levels.

    Unfortunately her season is now over that Norwood was eliminated from the finals, but Syme averaged 18.2 disposals at 86 per cent efficiency playing through the midfield for the Redlegs. She also managed the 3.2 clearances, 4.3 tackles and 2.8 inside 50s. Though not always a massive ball winner, Syme still had three games of 20-plus disposals, and had 15 or more in eight consecutive matches.

    March rankings: N/A

    Past month:

    Syme earned All-Australian honours for the Redlegs, landing on the interchange after a carnival average of 21.0 disposals, 2.7 marks, 3.0 tackles, 3.0 inside 50s and a couple of goals to her name. Now capable of playing both midfield and forward, Syme just ticks a lot of boxes across the board.

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  • Ella Smith
    #29
    Ella Smith
    Lions Academy | Inside Midfielder

    NATURAL ACCUMULATOR

    Few players get themselves into ball-winning positions like Brisbane Lions Academy midfielder Ella Smith. The inside midfielder cracks in regularly and has spent time inside, outside and in positions resting around the ground, but is effectively a midfielder. Sometimes she racks up the ball before anyone has even noticed, but her best work is done in close, with her quick hands and vision very good. For the Lions Academy, Smith had a massive 27 disposals in last year’s Under 17 Championships game, and another 22 against the Western Jets in the NAB League Girls.

    Though only able to play two AFLW Under 18 Championship matches due to rowing commitments, Smith averaged the 19.5 disposals, 3,0 marks, 2.5 tackles and 3.0 clearances. A reliable mark and someone who holds good field position, Smith is who just gets to the right spots and generally is able to use it well.

    March rankings: N/A

    Past month:

    As above, Smith’s carnival was very strong albeit two games, then she represented the AFLW Academy at Punt Road, where she held her own, picking up 15 disposals two marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Running at 50 per cent efficiency in that match and 33 per cent contested, Smith has had bigger games, but she just continues to crack in and tried to use her run to advantage.

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  • Kiera Mueller
    #30
    Kiera Mueller
    South Australia Girls | Medium Defender

    REBOUNDING MACHINE

    A rare over-ager featuring in the Top 30 this year, Mueller has well and truly deserved her spot with consistent play both through the SANFLW and then the AFLW Under 18 Championships. Mueller started building some great form for Sturt at the backend of last year having returned from injury. That form carried over into the  early rounds of the 2022 season, where Mueller did enough to earn her place in the State Academy squad again. From there, she played her familiar running half-back role, and has a lot of traits that will easily adapt to the next level.

    Mueller uses the ball incredibly well, she is accountable as well as offensive, holds the line well and gets up the ground when required, and has particularly been trying to drive the ball inside 50 more than past month in the SANFLW. An ever rebounding and intercepting presence in the back half, Mueller was able to impress at the championships, and though she did not win as much of the ball as she does at SANFLW level, it also seldom went there.

    March rankings: N/A

    Past month:

    Mueller averaged 11.0 disposals, 1.7 marks, and 4.7 rebounds for the Croweaters, but being in the South Australian defence, there was no shortage of supply back there. To cap off her regular SANFLW season, Mueller has averaged 16.7 disposals, 3.9 marks, 2.6 tackles, 1.9 inside 50s and 3.6 rebound 50s, running at 90 per cent disposal efficiency for the 2022 season.

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  • Lana Schwerdt
    #31
    Lana Schwerdt
    Norwood Women's | Midfielder
  • Laura Elliott
    #32
    Laura Elliott
    Vic Metro Girls | Medium Defender
  • Mia Austin
    #33
    Mia Austin
    Eastern Ranges | Tall Forward
  • Keely Coyne
    #34
    Keely Coyne
    Sandringham Dragons | Midfielder
  • Jamie-Lee Speakman
    #35
    Jamie-Lee Speakman
    GWV Rebels | Small Utility
  • J
    #36
    J'Noemi Anderson
    Allies Girls | Balanced Midfielder
  • Paige Scott
    #37
    Paige Scott
    GWV Rebels | Medium Forward
  • Abbygail Bushby
    #38
    Abbygail Bushby
    Swan Districts Women's
  • Amelie Borg
    #39
    Amelie Borg
    North Adelaide Women's | Key Defender
  • Zara Hamilton
    #40
    Zara Hamilton
    Allies Girls | Midfielder
In The Mix

There were more than 80 players initially on the list that got trimmed down to 40, but there will be an extended Power Rankings piece later in the week that will feature a number of mature-agers as well as those youngsters on the precipice on making the list. It is also worth keeping in mind that our AFLW Draft Guide will be available again for 2022, with more than 120 Player Profiles, indicating just how many talents there are. With four expansion clubs, there are plenty of spots up for grabs across the nation, making for an action-packed 2022 AFLW Draft.

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