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AFLW: Draft preview

Sarah Black, AFL Media  October 18, 2017 9:47 AM

AFL 2016 Media - NAB AFLW Draft

Ebony Marinoff was Adelaide's first selection in last year's AFL Women's Draft

There will be 49 new players on AFLW lists by Wednesday evening.

The 2017 NAB AFL Women's Draft will get underway at 12pm AEDT on Wednesday in Melbourne.

There are three rough groups that clubs can draw from in the draft – top-age players from the under-18 competition (the traditional source of talent in the men's draft), state-league players who are above the age of 18, and players who were delisted from AFLW lists at the conclusion of the season.
 

As players are only offered one-year contracts, AFL Women's teams are more inclined to select older, ready-made talent in the draft than AFL men's sides. 

So, what type of player does your club need? And who's in the running to get drafted? 

Adelaide

What they need: A silky outside runner. The premiers have a well-rounded side, but lost the classy Kellie Gibson to Fremantle as a free agent.

Picks: 8, 16, 24, 32, 38, 42, 46

Top under-18 prospect: Jess Allan. 184cm rucks don't grow on trees in the women's competition, and Allan can also jump higher than most. Despite having ruck Rhiannon Metcalfe on its list, Adelaide can't afford to pass over Allan.

Top mature-age prospect: Ruth Wallace. The 24-year-old topped the Adelaide Footy League's goalkicking tally and was invited to the NAB AFLW Draft Combine.

Delisted player who could be re-signed: Heather Anderson. Played every game for the Crows in their premiership-winning season, before badly dislocating her shoulder in the Grand Final. 

Brisbane Lions

What they need: A genuine ruck. With the loss of Tayla Harris to Carlton, Sabrina Frederick-Traub will be required to spend more time forward, and the 172cm Sharni Webb can't shoulder the load by herself.

Picks: 7, 15, 23, 31, 37, 41, 45, 48

Top under-18 prospect: Gabby Collingwood. One of Queensland's best in the U18 championships, the midfielder can also swing forward. Has comfortably held her own in the QWAFL and was named on the interchange in the league's team of the year.

Top mature-age prospect: Renee Cowan. The 28-year-old defender was one of the best at the Combine – third in the vertical jump, equal-second in the 20m sprint and fifth in agility.

Delisted player who could be re-signed: Jade Ransfield. Did not play a game for the Lions, but rebounded in the QWAFL to finish as equal-leading goalkicker with 39 goals.

Fremantle

What they need: Key forwards. Fremantle struggled to post competitive scores, and the fact small forward Ashley Sharp and midfielder Kara Donnellan kicked the most goals for the team is telling.

Picks: 2, 10, 18, 26, 33, 40, 44

Top under-18 prospect: Traditional key forward Emily McGuire was unable to attend the Combine, but has regularly been in WA's best in national championship matches.

Top mature-age prospect: Ashton Hill. The 22-year-old captains West Perth and is a highly skilled inside midfielder who was invited to the Combine.

Delisted player who could be re-signed: Kira Phillips looked promising at times in the AFLW season but failed to fire. Was the WAWFL leading goalkicker this year with 38 goals from 11 matches.

Greater Western Sydney

What they need: Forwards of any description. The Giants had the lowest average score of the first AFLW season (22 points), with too much left to Phoebe McWilliams and Rebecca Beeson.

Picks: 5, 17, 25, 39, 43, 47, 49

Top under-18 prospect: Haneen Zreika is a highly competitive inside midfielder, but the Giants could have the steal of the draft after convincing WA forward Kate Bartlett to nominate for the NSW draft pool.

Top mature-age prospect: Pippa Smyth. The 22-year-old ruck/forward was a late call-up to the Combine and was eighth in the two-kilometre run, second in the running vertical jump, fourth in the vertical jump and first in the 20m sprint.

Delisted player who could be re-signed: Stephanie Walker only played three AFLW games, but the midfielder finished fourth in AFL Sydney's best-and-fairest count. 

The Victorian clubs

As the draft is state-based, the Victorian clubs will be drawing from the same talent pool.

Carlton

What they need: A quick outside midfielder. Former rookie Nat Exon was one of the finds of the first season, but has moved north to the Lions. Speed seems to be the only hole in Carlton's line-up.

Picks: 12, 28, 29, 36 

Collingwood

What they need: An inside midfielder. The Magpies really struggled in the middle of the ground, and while the addition of Jaimee Lambert will help somewhat, she could well play in the forward line covering Alicia Eva's role (who's now at GWS).

Picks: 3, 9, 13, 20, 21, 25 

Melbourne

What they need: Depth defenders. Melbourne is the most even side on paper, but can ill-afford to lose a key defender to injury.

Picks held: 6, 14, 22, 30

Western Bulldogs

What they need: Key forwards. The side was exposed horribly up forward when Katie Brennan was injured early in the season.

Picks: 1, 4, 11, 19, 27, 34

Also in the mix 

Top Victorian under-18 prospects: Isabel Huntington (key forward), Chloe Molloy (key forward, 19 years old but played TAC Cup), Monique Conti (midfielder) and Darcy Guttridge (defender)

Top Victorian mature-age prospects: Jenna Bruton (21 years old, midfielder), Sophie Abbatangelo (27, small forward), Ashleigh Riddell (21, midfielder), Sophie Alexander (24, key forward). All four were invited to the Combine.

Delisted Victorian players who could be re-signed: Tahni Nestor (Carlton, 26 years old, defender), Georgia Walker (Collingwood, 18, utility), Elise Strachan (Melbourne, 26, midfielder/forward), Lisa Williams (Western Bulldogs, 26, midfielder). Nestor and Walker were invited to the Combine, while Strachan and Williams had strong VFLW seasons.