ON the last day of 2021, and just a week out from the AFL Women's commencing, we take a look at 10 players to remember for the 2022 AFLW Draft. Here is any early look at who we think are those who have impressed over the past couple of years. We have also named a host of players to keep in mind who are close to the top group, or those who could improve over season 2021. These are our early 2022 AFLW Power Rankings.
Ella RobertsWestern Australia Girls
The Peel Thunder forward who is capable of playing further afield has earned the top pick going into 2022. Coming off an Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the Under 19s Championships as a bottom-ager, Roberts is one who still has plenty of upside and is a late-year birth as well. There is little that Roberts cannot do, and despite all the offensive damage she can inflict on opposition defenders, she works just as hard defensively.
Hannah EwingsSouth Australia Girls
A promising talent whose 2021 year ended early after an unfortunate ankle injury, Ewings has long been touted as a top prospect. Winning the Breakthrough Player Award in the SANFL Women’s as a 15-year-old, Ewings has power and strength, able to compete against much bigger opponents. Her penetrating boot is incredibly damaging forward of centre, and she attacks the contest with vigour. After missing last year’s championships due to injury, expect a huge 2022 from the midfielder.
Jasmine FlemingOakleigh Chargers
Three games is all it took for the dual sport athlete to make it as the top Victorian tipped heading into 2022. Her right foot is arguably the most deadly both from a technical and impact standpoint, and she has rare athleticism to boot. Despite having to juggle a couple of sports, the talented midfielder produced a ridiculous three-game stint to win a flag with the Chargers, and is one of the most exciting prospects coming into 2022.
Montana HamVic Metro Girls
The tall midfielder is a name who has been on the radar for many years, and she has performed consistently over many seasons. Taller than nearly all of her fellow midfielders, Ham is strong inside and able to boot the ball further than most as well. Capable of playing as a tall forward and strong overhead, Ham has the potential to play in multiple key roles, but her clearance work and body use is what sets her aside. One who consistently finds the ball on a string.
Paige ScottGWV Rebels
The enigma of the list, Scott can rip the heart out of any opposition defence. The GWV Rebels forward is one of those players that would give defenders nightmares because they could do everything right for three quarters, and then she comes out and kicks four in a term to win the game off her own boot. Leading the goalkicking at the Under 19s Championships as a bottom-ager, Scott is so strong overhead and at ground level, and she is capable of the unthinkable. If her consistency within games improves, watch out.
Amber ClarkeDandenong Stingrays
The Dandenong Stingrays speedster was robbed of a Under 19s Championships and finish to the NAB League Girls season after injury early in the first game of the championships. With elite athleticism – in particular her acceleration – Clarke has played everywhere on the ground over the past two years. The last 12 months she has settled between forward and midfield, which is where she can get goalside and burn off any opponent, or burst out of a stoppage with no hope for the opposition. A full season could bring even more eye-catching moments.
Sofia HurleySandringham Dragons
Most of the midfielders on this list are smooth-moving skilful types, and Hurley is no different. Her ability to glide out of a stoppage with a speedy first few steps is outstanding, and her evasion is just as impressive. She can go forward and set up scoring chains, and play inside or outside. Her inside athleticism and her outside ball use is terrific, and alongside a number of talented Sandringham Dragons prospects, expect Hurley to continue to improve in 2022.
Charlotte BaskaranVic Metro Girls
A player who could easily rise higher on the list by year’s end, Baskaran has elite skills, and showcased them when playing off half-back and then the wing in past years. In 2021, Baskaran went inside, and whilst she was not as efficient, she still had high impact, and is incredibly damaging when given time or space. Her hands in close are terrific and her footy IQ is far greater than most of her peers, which is why she ticks so many boxes and is one who has a bright future.
Alana GeeQueensland Girls
Many people might not have seen too much of Gee over the last 12 months with the talented Gold Coast Suns Academy prospect only able to play the one Under 19s Championship game. However her traits and output stack up against the best going around, with her mix of skill and athleticism very eye-catching. Gee can burst out of a stoppage and hit targets inside 50 with regularity, and play anywhere on the field. Another one who could rise much higher with more games against quality opposition.
Claire RansomAllies Girls
Another outstanding, classy player, Ransom is the top prospect coming out of Tasmania this year. She ticks the box of athleticism and skill, and is often utilised as that second possession winner in midfield to take off and then hit targets by hand or foot. A dual-sided athlete, even her non-preferred touches are efficient, and her preferred side touches are high-impact. She will have a big role in 2022 and may increase her contested ball-winning work, but given time and space, Ransom can do as much damage as anyone going around.
West Adelaide talent Keeley Kustermann is the next one to keep an eye out for, with the balanced midfielder/defender more than capable of being a Top 10 talent. She rarely wastes a disposal and is as calm as they come with ball-in-hand. Dandenong Stingrays' tall Mackenzie Eardley is another right in contention, capable of playing up either end and reads the play with ease. South Fremantle ruck Lauren Wakfer is the next best West Australian to keep an eye out for in 2022, coming on in leaps and bounds in 2021, whilst Gold Coast ruck Giselle Davies is another tall who has had an upward trajectory over the past 12 months. For NSW-ACT, Cynthia Hamilton won the Allies' MVP last season and is the top region from the state. Other AFLW Academy talents who are in the mix from Victoria include Bendigo Pioneers' Octavia Di Donato and Sandringham Dragons' Bridie Hipwell who have proven to have plenty of highlights throughout their NAB League Girls career thus far. Rounding out the Academy are Northern Territory's top prospect J'Noemi Anderson, Brisbane Lions Academy's top talent Ella Smith, Sydney Swans' young gun Dakota Mason, and West Australian exciting forward Ash Reidy.
There are plenty of players outside the AFLW Academy who deserve mentions as ones to watch next season. Eastern Ranges' Mia Busch, Murray Bushrangers' Keeley Skepper and Dandenong Stingrays' Emily Shepherd are three of the top names to remember for 2022. Swan Districts' Tara Stribley is a smooth-moving wing for Western Australia who has put together some outstanding seasons at WAFLW level, whilst up in Queensland, midfielders Imogen Evans (Gold Coast) and Charlotte Mullins (Brisbane) are others from the Northern Academies to remember. South Australian Amelie Borg also played at the Under 19s Championships as a bottom-ager last year.
The 2022 AFLW Draft should be an exciting crop of youngsters, with plenty of depth in the group that could easily stretch out some starring talent into the 30s. With the footy returning earlier than usual, the young stars will be looking to make their mark from January onwards, so keep an eye out on Rookie Me Central for all the coverage.