2021 AFLW U17 Championships preview: Queensland

AN underage Q-Clash between Brisbane and Gold Coast Academies will kick off on Sunday afternoon in the first of two AFLW Under 17 Championship clashes between the sides. The second game will take place on Wednesday with a short turnaround, but both sides have plenty of impressive players to keep an eye on. Both the Lions Academy and Suns Academy will be coached by recently retired AFLW star Lauren Arnell in more of an exhibition clash than anything else.

From a 2022 AFLW Draft perspective, Alana Gee and Charlotte Mullins loom as the two prospects to really keep an eye on in the clash. Hailing from Mackay, Gee is a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, standing at 169cm. A balanced midfielder who can use either foot, her work rate in very impressive. Whilst she is a natural inside midfielder coming through the program, she showed an adaptability to roll into an outside position and even as a running defender in 2020.

Mullins is a versatile talent out of the Brisbane Lions Academy who has been plying her trade for Aspley in the QAFL Women’s competition. Mullins is a lively player around the ball who applies great defensive pressure, and was a clever forward when these sides played last year. As an Under 16s talent, she held her own then, and continued to improve through her bottom-age year, with the 165cm midfielder expected to spend more time in there this year, and lead the Lions group.

Gold Coast Suns Academy’s Fleur Davies representing Queensland a the AFLW U19 Championships.

Fleur Davies, a taller and younger sister of recently drafted Suns Academy talent Giselle, is another one to keep an eye on. Like her older sister, Davies is capable of playing up either end, but played forward for the Lions last year, and pinch-hit in the ruck. She had experience at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, and at 185cm is a genuine key position player who will outmark most opponents when reading it well. Still a raw talent, Davies has plenty of upside and will be one to watch.

Not playing in this clash, bottom-age talent Ella Smith is another name to remember for Queensland prospects, and is another Brisbane Lions Academy talent. From a Brisbane Academy perspective, 171cm Aspley youngster Kadie Fletcher who had an outstanding debut season at senior level year year, and Wilston Grange talent Brooke Sheridan are others who were able to make the Queensland Under 19s squad in their bottom-age years. The Suns also had another bottom-age representative with Gee and Davies in this year’s Under 19s program, with Imogen Evans impressing onball for Queensland, picking up 12 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and booting a goal in the loss to Vic Country.

While the Queensland Academy squads are made up of 2022 and 2023 AFLW Draft talents, there are three 2006-born players named for the Suns. Tara Harrington, Nyalli Milne and Havana Harris are ones to keep in mind for a few years away, with the latter two playing at Burleigh, and Harrington out at Broadbeach. Whilst the result in the match does not really matter, the lack of Under 19s carnival for the Queensland girls will mean these games will provide them with some more experience at a higher level.

>> Watch Brisbane Lions vs. Gold Coast Suns AFLW Under 17s Academy clash

Team: Brisbane Lions
Coach: Lauren Arnell
Team Manager: Jason Torney

2 Holly O’Flaherty 20/06/2004 162 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Wilston Grange
3 Ava Seton 19/04/2004 165 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Wests Juniors / Uni of Queensland
4 Daisy Carter 7/06/2004 166 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Sandgate / Wilston Grange
5 Lauren Fraser 13/01/2005 164 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Toowoomba
6 Courtney Page 23/02/2004 165 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Kawana
7 Neve Underwood 17/03/2004 166 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Kawana / Maroochydore
8 Harriet Knijff 21/11/2005 167 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Redland-Victoria Point
9 Ebony Milne 3/08/2005 167 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Redland-Victoria Point
10 Jacinta Baldwick 14/11/2005 167 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Jindalee / Wests Juniors
11 Charlotte Mullins 28/10/2004 167 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Wilston Grange / Aspley
12 Lara Paget 23/02/2005 168 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Jindalee / Toowoomba
13 Sarah Browne 28/10/2004 169 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Toowoomba / Jindalee
14 Georgia Carmody 13/04/2004 169 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Mt Gravatt
15 Sasha Rival-Quinn 29/12/2004 169 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Jindalee / University of Queensland
17 Leah Siertsema 13/07/2004 169 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Mt Gravatt
18 Christine Watson 11/10/2004 178 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Concordia College / Toowoomba
20 Demi Norton 6/04/2004 170 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Kawana / Maroochydore
21 Madalyn Hennessy 9/03/2004 170 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Maroochydore
22 Brooke Sheridan 8/09/2004 170 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Boyne Island-Tannum Sands / Wilston Grange
23 Kadie Fletcher 18/08/2004 171 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Wilston Grange / Aspley
24 Lily Willoughby 17/04/2005 171 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Sandgate
25 Charlotte Millen 2/12/2004 172 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Mt Gravatt
26 Courtney Browne 28/10/2004 173 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Toowoomba / Jindalee
27 Indiana Gosbell-Smith 30/09/2004 173 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Sandgate
28 Kiara Hillier 3/11/2004 173 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Kawana
29 Grace Pearson-Smith Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Maroochydore
30 Lilu Hung Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Kedron

Team: Gold Coast Suns
Coach: Lauren Arnell
Team Manager: Jason Torney

1 Jasmine Single 17/12/2005 160 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
2 Caitlin Miller 21/07/2004 166 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
3 Monet Ferris 19/02/2004 173 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Yeronga AFC
4 Darcie Davies 14/06/2005 184 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
5 Tara Harrington 24/03/2006 166 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Broadbeach
6 Isabella Iverach 7/07/2004 169 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Broadbeach
7 Josie McCabe 18/04/2005 173 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
10 Jasmyn Smith 10/05/2004 158 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Broadbeach
11 Keeley Parker 23/07/2005 163 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Tweed Coolangatta
12 Piper Phelan 11/11/2004 172 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Bond University
13 Grace Ella 9/11/2005 164 QLD/GC SUNS/Northern Rivers Tweed Coast Tigers
14 Sienna McMullen 15/07/2005 164 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
15 Makayla Sekac 5/04/2005 169 QLD/GC SUNS/Northern Rivers Tweed Coolangatta
16 Cloe Coombes 1/12/2004 166 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Broadbeach
17 Abbey Bevan 19/06/2004 178 QLD/GC SUNS/Northern Rivers Broadbeach
19 Alana Gee 20/04/2004 169 QLD/GC SUNS/Mackay North Mackay Saints
20 Jessica Frape 27/05/2004 171 QLD/GC SUNS/Cairns Cairns Saints
21 Imogen Evans 5/02/2004 171 QLD/GC SUNS/Northern Rivers Bond University
22 Kayla Giles 28/09/2005 170 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Palm Beach Currumbin
23 Maggie O’Connell 30/01/2004 171 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
24 Avalon Pearce 17/10/2005 182 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
25 Indiana Brough 15/07/2004 173 QLD/GC SUNS/Mackay Bakers Creek Tigers
26 Nyalli Milne 26/05/2006 169 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
27 Kialla-Skye Bailey 10/03/2005 165 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
28 J’noemi Anderson 17/12/2004 170 NT/Thunder St Marys
29 Fleur Davies 6/05/2004 185 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
30 Ella Calleja 20/11/2004 171 QLD/GC SUNS/Capricornia Yeppoon Swans
31 Havana Harris 1/07/2006 181 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
32 Kaylee Kimber 13/09/2003 174 QLD/GC SUNS/Mackay Moranbah Bulldogs
33 Annabel Kievit 22/09/2005 175 NT/Thunder Warratahs
34 Millie Heathcote 4/01/2004 181 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Palm Beach Currumbin
35 Nikita Cripps 4/07/2005 175 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Mt Gravatt

2022 AFLW early look: St Kilda

IN an early look at the upcoming AFL Women’s 2022 season, Draft Central checks out each of the 14 clubs over the next three weeks ahead of preseason commencing. Next up is St Kilda who finished 11th in the 2021 AFLW season, though blooded a host of young players to continue building their side for the future.


Position: 11th
Wins: 3
Losses: 6
Draws: 0
Points For: 272 (10th)
Points Against: 391 (11th)

St Kilda was one of the more exciting sides to watch in the AFLW for 2021, though unfortunately it did not always translate into wins. Their Round 1 victory over Western Bulldogs in front of a home RSEA Park crowd was fantastic, with their two other wins coming against Geelong and West Coast. The latter was the most impressive, belting the Eagles by 56 points over in the West, but their 40-plus point losses to the top sides like Adelaide, Melbourne and Collingwood showed the gap they still have to make up to challenge for a flag.


Ins: Alana Woodward (Richmond), Paige Price (Basketball, rookie), Ella Friend (GWV Rebels), Ash Richards (Dandenong Stingrays), Leah Cutting (Norwood)
Outs: Poppy Kelly (Richmond), Claudia Whitfort (Gold Coast), Selena Karlson (retired), Alison Brown, Clara Fitzpatrick, Tamara Luke, Nadia von Bertouch (delisted)
Inactive: Nil.

St Kilda had a relatively quiet off-season, and were able to head into the draft with a high selection inside the Top 5, the second overall Victorian pick. With another pick in the first round and just three spots overall by the time it came to the draft, it was always going to be uneventful in terms of volume, but they made up for it with the top-end quality. Prior to the draft the Saints bid farewell to Poppy Kelly who headed to the Tigers to provide extra ruck depth there and replace the outgoing Sabrina Frederick, while Claudia Whitfort went to Gold Coast, and Selena Karlson retired. The Saints then delisted a further four players, with Alison Brown eventually picked up by Melbourne, and the likes of Clara Fitzpatrick, Tamara Luke and Nadia von Bertouch also not handed contracts for the 2022 season. In the AFLW Draft, the Saints selected key forward Ella Friend as a marking target who can also push up and play along a wing, with a similarly valuable prospect in Ash Richards who is capable of playing inside 50, or up the ground rolling through the midfield. The Dandenong Stingrays co-captain has natural leadership in her veins, something that both she and Norwood ruck Leah Cutting – at 29-years-old – will immediately add to the club. At the other end of the scale is basketballer Paige Price, with the talented up-and-comer opting to have a crack at Australian rules


Alice Burke
Leah Cutting
Rosie Dillon
Nat Exon
Ella Friend
Caitlin Greiser
Darcy Guttridge
Bianca Jakobsson
Tilly Lucas-Rodd
Jess Matin
Kate McCarthy
Molly McDonald
Tahlia Meyer
Rebecca Ott
Georgia Patrikios
Cat Phillips
Paige Price
Hannah Priest
Ash Richards
Renee Saulitis
Isabella Shannon
Kate Shierlaw
Tyanna Smith
Jayde Van Dyk
Olivia Vesely
Jacqui Vogt
Rhiannon Watt
Tarni White
Alana Woodward
Nicola Xenos


  • Will Ella Friend and Ash Richards be the key to more avenues to goal for St Kilda in 2022?
  • Can Leah Cutting crack straight into the senior side, easing the load on Rhiannon Watt?
  • What will new coach Nick Dal Santo change in terms of gamestyle next season?


St Kilda are definitely one of the more exciting teams to watch, and whilst they are still young and learning the ropes, the Saints are expected to continue the upward trajectory in 2021. Georgia Patrikios is already amongst the game’s elites, and with multiple contested marking forwards in Friend and Caitlin Greiser, the Saints have the targets inside 50 – including the smalls at their feet – to kick winning scores. If they can tighten up defensively and not allow sides to kick away on them, then expect the Saints to pick up some more wins next season.

Picture credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images via AFL Photos

2022 AFLW early look: Richmond

IN an early look at the upcoming AFL Women’s 2022 season, Draft Central checks out each of the 14 clubs over the next three weeks ahead of preseason commencing. Next up is Richmond, that after collecting the 2020 wooden spoon, rose up to 10th on the AFL Women’s ladder.


Position: 10th
Wins: 3
Losses: 6
Draws: 0
Points For: 312 (8th)
Points Against: 369 (10th)

Richmond certainly showed plenty of improvement in 2021, with a young side building and winning their first ever matches after going winless in the 2020 season. The Tigers were able to score more fluently than the season before, and whilst at times they still struggled defensively, were able to finish outside the bottom four and only a couple of wins behind finals aspirants Carlton and the Western Bulldogs, and will now look to build on that effort to go into 2022.


Ins: Maddie Shevlin (Collingwood), Poppy Kelly (St Kilda), Jess Hosking (Carlton), Stella Reid (Oakleigh Chargers), Emelia Yassir (Calder Cannons), Ingrid Houtsma (Geelong Falcons), Meagan Kiely (North Melbourne VFLW)
Outs: Sabrina Frederick (Collingwood), Alice Edmonds, Emily Harley, Luka Lesosky-Hay, Cleo Saxon-Jones, Holly Whitford, Phoebe Monahan, Alana Woodward (delisted)
Inactive: Nil.

Richmond was able to remain fairly active during the off-season with the first two, and last deals done throughout the trade period. Maddie Shevlin switched her white stripes for a singular yellow one coming from the Magpies, in a deal that saw tall, Sabrina Frederick head to Collingwood. Richmond also brought in Poppy Kelly to replace the loss of height at the club, with the former Saint, and Carlton’s Jess Hosking the other players from opposing AFL Women’s teams. Hosking was a deadline deal to join her sister Sarah at the Tigers after a year apart. Richmond was not going to go easy on its list however, with eight delistees, and three of them found homes at AFLW level again. Akec Makur Chuot was redrafted by the Tigers with their last selection, while Phoebe Monahan was signed by Brisbane, and Alana Woodward heading to the Saints. Some young tall timber in Emily Harley and Cleo Saxon-Jones were delisted along with first-year player Luka Lesosky-Hay, ex-Magpie Holly Whitford, and ruck Alice Edmonds. Richmond then headed to the draft where they were able to pick up high quality youngsters, starting with Oakleigh Chargers’ utility Stella Reid who will provide the outside class, whilst Calder Cannons hard-nosed midfielder Emelia Yassir will add that inside pressure. Geelong Falcons’ Ingrid Houtsma is another tall utility giving the Tigers flexibility, whilst North Melbourne VFLW captain Meagan Kiely was also rewarded for her outstanding season, drafted by the Tigers.


Christina Bernardi
Maddy Brancatisano
Katie Brennan
Hannah Burchell
Monique Conti
Harriet Cordner
Sarah D’Arcy
Sarah Dargan
Kate Dempsey
Jess Hosking
Sarah Hosking
Ingrid Houtsma
Kodi Jacques
Poppy Kelly
Meagan Kiely
Tessa Lavey
Akec Makur Chuot
Laura McClelland
Ellie McKenzie
Hannah McLaren
Rebecca Miller
Sophie Molan
Stella Reid
Iilish Ross
Sarah Sansonetti
Gabby Seymour
Maddie Shevlin
Tayla Stahl
Courtney Wakefield
Emelia Yassir


  • Can Richmond make the next step and challenge for a finals spot?
  • How will they address the defensive woes of 2021?
  • Is the midfield now one of the better young crops for the future?


Richmond showed significant progress in 2021 after a rude awakening in 2020. The Tigers were able to blood a number of young talents to drive the club forward, and with some experience added to the side again, expect the women from Punt Road to continue that trajectory. The defence still has a question mark over it, as does the talls after losing – through trade and delisting – four key position players and only gaining one genuine one – Kelly – back, but they have the speed to go with a quicker lineup, and will be likely looking to adopt that style once again in 2022 as they strive to challenge for finals.

Picture credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images via AFL Photos

2022 AFLW early look: Melbourne

IN an early look at the upcoming AFL Women’s 2022 season, Draft Central checks out each of the 14 clubs over the next three weeks ahead of preseason commencing. Next up is Melbourne, a side that despite being young and losing a lot of experience over the previous off-season, were able to match it with the best and finish top four, and win a final.


Position: 4th
Wins: 7
Losses: 2
Draws: 0
Points For: 382 (4th)
Points Against: 293 (6th)

Melbourne fast-tracked what appeared to be a long rebuild, by bringing in the young guns they drafted and giving them opportunities, as well as shuffling around the magnets for their experienced talents. Having lost a number of key players for draft selections the previous off-season, not many would have predicted Melbourne to stay around the mark, and they not only did that but remained a premiership threat, only going down to Adelaide in the preliminary final. They still had areas to tighten up such as consistency in their defence, but they were able to match it with the best sides and with further experience added this off-season, the Demons are one of the genuine title contenders.


Ins: Olivia Purcell (Geelong), Tayla Harris (Carlton), Eliza West, Alison Brown (Casey Demons), Georgia Campbell (Eastern Ranges), Tahlia Gillard (Calder Cannons)
Outs: Tegan Cunningham, Meg Downie, Niamh McEvoy, Shae Sloane (retired), Chantel Emonson (Geelong), Mietta Kendall (delisted)
Inactive: Nil.

Much like the previous season, there were plenty of names leaving the club, highlighted by inaugural Demons, Tegan Cunningham and Meg Downie, who joined a quartet of retirees including Niamh McEvoy and Shae Sloane. Chantel Emonson also headed to the Cats in a deal that netted them star young midfielder Olivia Purcell, whilst first-year defender Mietta Kendall was the other player to cut by the club. Along with Purcell, the Demons were able to haul in a Cunningham replacement in the higher-profile Tayla Harris who found her way to the Demons in the most publicised talking point of the trade period. Harris provides the additional height and strength in the forward half, something that draftees, Tahlia Gillard and Georgia Campbell do as well. Campbell is a father-daughter selection who picked the Demons over the Bulldogs, whilst Gillard is an AFL Women’s Academy member, and both can play through the ruck or forward. Gillard’s 190cm size was the tallest of any AFLW draftee, and the pari will make a formidable duo for the future. The Demons also picked up ex-Blue and Saint Alison Brown to come to her third club after some strong performances for Casey Demons in the back-end of the season. She joined VFL Women’s teammate and former basketballer Eliza West who had an amazing season, in the red and blue.


Alyssa Bannan
Libby Birch
Alison Brown
Maggie Caris
Georgia Campbell
Gabby Colvin
Megan Fitzsimon
Maddi Gay
Tahlia Gillard
Sinead Goldrick
Tayla Harris
Tyla Hanks
Shelley Heath
Kate Hore
Sarah Lampard
Lauren Magee
Eliza McNamara
Lily Mithen
Jackie Parry
Karen Paxman
Daisy Pearce
Lauren Pearce
Krstel Petrevski
Olivia Purcell
Shelley Scott
Casey Sherriff
Isabella Simmons
Brenna Tarrant
Eliza West
Eden Zanker


  • How will the Demons shape their forward line with so many talls potentially capable of sliding in?
  • How much impact can Olivia Purcell having coming off an ACL?
  • Will Maggie Caris be given the reins to more and team up with Eden Zanker there?


Melbourne is arguably the dark horse for the AFL Women’s competition. They are one of the younger teams going around, with a sprinkling of veteran talents led by Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman who are still elite talents themselves. With the youth filtering through, the Demons have the opportunity to build a long-term successful side, and will be a team to watch in 2022. Whilst all the youth will make team selection very difficult, expect them to have plenty of options going into the future, with a potent forward line and an elite midfield.

Picture credit: Graham Denholm/Getty Images via AFL Photos

2022 AFLW early look: Gold Coast

IN an early look at the upcoming AFL Women’s 2022 season, Draft Central checks out each of the 14 clubs over the next three weeks ahead of preseason commencing. Next up is Gold Coast, a side coming off a wooden spoon, winless season, but greater optimism after a successful draft period including nabbing their next coach, the successful Tasmania Devils mentor Cameron Joyce at the helm as they look to ascend the AFLW ladder.


Position: 14th
Wins: 0
Losses: 9
Draws: 0
Points For: 176 (13th)
Points Against: 482 (14th)

Unfortunately for the newest Sunshine State side, the 2021 season was not as fruitful as their finals appearance in their debut 2020 season, finishing rock bottom on the ladder with a percentage of 37. They went winless throughout the season, and while they did score more than the 13th placed Cats, conceded an average of 34.4 points per game which hurt their chances. In 2022, they will look for a fresh start under a new coach and plenty of young talent walking through the doors, including some readymade experience.


Ins: Claudia Whitfort (St Kilda), Vivien Saad (North Melbourne), Alana Barba (Essendon VFLW), Tara Bohanna (Southern Saints VFLW), Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers), Teagan Levi, Giselle Davies (Bond University), Ashanti Bush (Darwin Buffettes)
Outs: Sally Riley, Sam Virgo (retired), Georgia Bevan, Jordann Hickey, Leah Kaslar, Paige Parker, Molly Ritson (delisted)
Inactive: Annise Bradfield, Emma Pittman

Gold Coast will pick itself off the canvas in 2022 and the only way is up, which they should see some great improvement next year. Under coach Joyce, the Suns could follow a similar trajectory to the Devils who were well beaten one year, but became more than competitive in the NAB League Girls the next season, rising to the top of the Country pool. They are still quite young, losing experience like Sally Riley, Sam Virgo, Jordann Hickey and Leah Kaslar, looking more to the future and bringing in a core of youth to drive the side up the table. Top pick from last year’s draft Annise Bradfield will miss the year as she recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, whilst Emma Pittman has work commitments. Holding pick one in the draft, the Suns were able to coax Victorian Charlie Rowbottom up to the Sunshine State, with the Oakleigh Chargers talent in line for the top Victorian pick, and the Suns were able to nab her with the overall first selection. Along with fellow young gun midfielder Teagan Levi, the pair will provide an immediate fix to the forward half of the ground and bigger bodies around the stoppages, while another Suns Academy graduate in Giselle Davies will be the extra tall in defence to try and plug the leaks. Up the other end, Tara Bohanna and Vivien Saad provide the height and can rotate between ruck and forward, while Alana Barba and Claudia Whitfort can play in multiple positions and add extra strength through the onball. The talented Ashanti Bush caps off the cream of this year’s draft crop as that damaging forward who can hurt opposition defenders with her footy smarts and goal sense.


Lauren Ahrens
Janet Baird
Alana Barba
Lauren Bella
Tara Bohanna
Ashanti Bush
Daisy D’Arcy
Giselle Davies
Ali Drennan
Hannah Dunn
Tori Groves-Little
Cheyenne Hammond
Ellie Hampson
Dee Heslop
Kalinda Howarth
Bess Keaney
Maddison Levi
Teagan Levi
Sarah Perkins
Brittany Perry
Jade Pregelj
Wallis Randell
Charlie Rowbottom
Vivien Saad
Lucy Single
Jamie Stanton
Kate Surman
Serene Watson
Claudia Whitfort
Jacqui Yorston


  • How many wins can Gold Coast secure in 2022?
  • What style of football will the Suns adopt under new coach Cameron Joyce?
  • Will top pick Charlie Rowbottom be utilised as an inside midfielder or key forward?


The only way is up for the Gold Coast Suns in 2022, and they have recruited and drafted well to suggest that pendulum will swing in their favour. With a great coaching appointment and two of the top players in the overall AFL Women’s draft crop, the Suns will be an exciting team to watch, and while finals might not be on the immediate horizon, seeing greater competitive efforts, and development through their second and third year players will be key as to just how far they can go, and whether or not they can turn themselves into a contender in a few seasons.

Picture credit: Gold Coast SUNS

2022 AFLW early look: Geelong

IN an early look at the upcoming AFL Women’s 2022 season, Draft Central delves into each of the 14 clubs over the next three weeks ahead of preseason commencing. Next up is Geelong, a team that will suit up with a new coach in 2022 after being the lowest ranked Victorian team in 2021, picking up just one win – in the final round – to be 13th overall on the ladder.


Position: 13th
Wins: 1
Losses: 8
Draws: 0
Points For: 164 (14th)
Points Against: 408 (12th)

It was a forgettable season for Geelong finishing in 13th overall, and also through missing players due to injury such as Nina Morrison and for the most part, Olivia Purcell, leaving the Cats exposed. They averaged just 18.2 points per game in season 2021, the lowest of any side, which prompted them to search for forward options in the AFLW Draft and off-season. Whilst not a heap to smile about last season, the Cats did pick up a win in the final round against fellow winless team Gold Coast to avoid the wooden spoon and provide hope for the future with a lot of Cats getting their chance at AFLW level in 2021.


Ins: Chantel Emonson (Melbourne), Chloe Scheer (Adelaide), Olivia Fuller, Claudia Gunjaca, Annabel Johnson (Geelong VFLW), Georgie Prespakis, Zali Friswell (Calder Cannons), Gabbi Featherston (Geelong Falcons), Rachel Kearns (Gaelic)
Outs: Olivia Purcell (Melbourne), Aasta O’Connor (retired), Maddie Boyd, Kate Darby, Nicole Garner, Rebecca Goring, Mia Skinner, Richelle Cranston (delisted)
Inactive: Millie Brown, Denby Taylor

Geelong will head into the 2022 AFLW season with significant change after a big off-season. The largest loss was 2020 club best and fairest winner Purcell departing to join rising club Melbourne, with the Cats able to move up the draft order and pick up Chantel Emonson as an experienced replacement. The Cats will also be without fellow former Vic Country representatives Denby Taylor and Millie Brown who will sit out the 2022 season, leaving some gaps in defence. Along with Aasta O’Connor retiring and Richelle Cranston among six delistings, the Cats will be missing a fair chunk of experience for the upcoming year. Chloe Scheer‘s recruitment should give Geelong fans plenty to smile about, with the talent able to dominate up forward or through the midfield and is exactly what they need as a young player with experience. Picking up the best available Victorian prospect in Georgie Prespakis, and her Calder Cannons teammate Zali Friswell will give the midfield a much needed boost, as will rewarding the Cats’ VFLW footballers in Annabel Johnson and Claudia Gunjaca who were incredibly impressive in 2021. Olivia Fuller presents the immediate solution for O’Connor’s departure in the ruck as Rene Caris looks to take over the reigns full-time, whilst Gabbi Featherston adds an extra dimension up forward, and former Gaelic player Rachel Kearns is some raw X-factor for the blue and white hoops.


Olivia Barber
Rene Caris
Georgia Clarke
Julia Crockett-Grills
Chantel Emonson
Gabbi Featherston
Zali Friswell
Olivia Fuller
Laura Gardiner
Renee Garing
Claudia Gunjaca
Danielle Higgins
Jordan Ivey
Annabel Johnson
Rachel Kearns
Maddy Keryk
Madisen Maguire
Darcy Moloney
Amy McDonald
Meg McDonald
Maddy McMahon
Phoebe McWilliams
Nina Morrison
Georgie Prespakis
Georgie Rankin
Carly Remmos
Chloe Scheer
Sophie Van De Heuvel
Rebecca Webster
Stephanie Williams


  • Can Geelong improve their win-loss record in 2022 off the back of a big AFLW Draft haul?
  • Can Georgie Prespakis have a similarly immediate impact at Geelong as her sister Maddy did at Carlton?
  • Could Chloe Scheer prove to be the recruit of the year if she can be that extra target inside 50 the Cats crave?


Geelong is now at the bottom staring at the climb up the mountain. The Cats on paper had unbelievable young talent last year, but a combination of factors including injury, did not help their cause. Once again Geelong has a side that on paper has a really impressive starting lineup, but the losses of Purcell, Taylor and Brown in particular will hurt, so the weight of expectation on their first round picks, as well as Scheer will be particularly large as to where they end up next season. Few fans would be expecting finals given the jump they would need to make, but if they can pick up a few more wins and really challenge the premiership contenders, then the Cats can build the foundations for bigger and better things in 2023 and beyond.

Picture credit: Matt Roberts/AFL Photos

AFL Women’s season pushed back until January

AFTER initially hoping to launch the new AFL Women’s season in December to run over summer, the AFL and AFL Players Association officially declared on Thursday that the 2022 season will instead commence in the first weekend of the New Year. The extra month to prepare – with preseason initially expected to begin in September – was provided due to the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic and various stages of state lockdowns.

The eight Victorian sides and the GWS GIANTS would be unable to hold preseason training at this stage, and therefore the move to delay the start of the season will allow a greater chance of not only all teams having an equalised preseason in the lead-up to the competition, but also a greater chance of allowing as many fans into matches as possible. Along with the delayed start, the preseason training start date has also been shifted back to October. The season will still contain an extra round compared to 2021 – 10 – which is also the final season of 14 sides.

AFL General Manager Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone said the decision was made around the health and safety of all stakeholders involved in the AFL Women’s competition.

“This year’s NAB AFLW Competition saw the best season yet with the quality of the game continuing to attract supporters and inspire hundreds of thousands of girls and women to play football,” Ms Livingstone said.

“The 2021 season was also the most challenging yet due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting all but two rounds of the Competition.

“As we prepare for Season Six, we know the nature of playing professional sport in a pandemic means we will continue to be presented with challenges in the lead up to and during the season and, as a result, have made the decision for the NAB AFLW Competition to commence in January next year.”

AFL Players’ Association Chief Executive Officer Paul Marsh thanked the clubs for understanding the decision and said given the current landscape not only from a football point of view, but an overall environment point of view, it was the only sensible choice to make.

“The AFLPA and players understand the challenges that COVID is currently presenting to society and our industry. The decision to push back the start of the season is a sensible one in the current circumstances and has been worked through with AFLW player leaders,” he said.

“The players’ ongoing flexibility is to be commended and we appreciate the AFL’s willingness to in turn work with us to recognise the impact of these changes on the players’ non-football lives in the agreement we have reached with them.”

The 2022 AFL Women’s fixture will be determined once there is more clarity around the state-by-state government orders.

AFLW Expansion look: Sydney

WITH four new teams accepted into the AFL Women’s competition, it means there will be at least 120 new players stepping up to the elite level. So just where might the clubs look outside the junior pathway? Draft Central casts an eye over each of the clubs through either their state league team or Academy that might help them get off to the best possible start.

Whilst the makeup of lists and how much compensation the expansion clubs will get is unknown, we take a look at it from a broader sense and who might be some names to remember. The series concludes with Sydney, a side that broke barriers last season to play its first NAB League Girls game – and win – allowing a number of future AFL Women’s talents to showcase their ability for when the Swans’ expansion side comes in.

Sydney’s list makeup will likely be the toughest to determine, as the Swans have some quality youngsters going about, but the main league in Sydney – the Women’s Premier League  – whilst having some AFLW experienced talent, do not have the same volume of elite-level players as other states. This means from an experience point of view, the Swans will need to attract players from other states – as well as convince some GWS GIANTS to come across the the Harbour City and pull on the red and white in the inaugural year.

One of those GIANTS high on the Swans list would be Academy captain Jess Doyle, who came through the Sydney Academy, though as a draft-eligible player this year, was picked up by the GIANTS in the most recent draft. A silky forward-midfielder, the young gun had a huge season and would no doubt be one that the red and white would so dearly love to have back in their colours for the 2022-23 season. Talented forward Georgie Fowler was the other Academy member to be picked up, having impressed as a lead-up forward in the AFL Sydney competition this year and landing at the GIANTS. Of the other Swans Academy players who impressed, Maddy Hendrie, April Devine and Isadora McLeay are all versatile tall talents that could be looked at, with Danika Spamer, Ella Heads and Ruby Sargent-Wilson among the others to show off what they have at Academy level.

Among those future names to keep an eye on, the father-daughter potential selections of Tallulah and Memphys Kirk have been front and centre around promoting the AFLW bid. The Kirk twins hope to follow in the footsteps of their father Brett, a 241-game Swans champion and premiership player. Southern Power player Kiara Beesley earned an AFLW Draft Combine invite in 2020, and whilst she ultimately missed out on being selected, could be another Academy member close to making the step up, while Hannah Cerezo is a late developer to the code and impressed in the Academy games.

Overall the Swans have some developing talents, and as shown by their upset of NAB League Girls grand finalists Geelong Falcons, are a well-coached and well-drilled unit despite having less exposure to high-level underage football compared to their opponents. Next year will be a big year for the club in the female football space, as they go to work to try and attract current and mature-age talent to join the junior ones coming through the Academy.

Picture credit: Sydney Swans FC

AFLW Expansion look: Port Adelaide

WITH four new teams accepted into the AFL Women’s competition, it means there will be at least 120 new players stepping up to the elite level. So just where might the clubs look outside the junior pathway? Draft Central casts an eye over each of the clubs through either their state league team or Academy that might help them get off to the best possible start.

Whilst the makeup of lists and how much compensation the expansion clubs will get is unknown, we take a look at it from a broader sense and who might be some names to remember. The series continues with Port Adelaide, a side that has a rich amount of talent in its Next-Generation Academy (NGA) particularly for the 2023 AFL Women’s Draft, but a state league that is incredibly strong with readymade talent to compete and try and knock their state-based rivals Adelaide off its perch.

Looking ahead to the future of the Power, the 2023 AFL Women’s Draft could be a promising one if they are able to get their hands on their Academy talent, headlined by 2021 AFLW Under 19s Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP) for South Australia, Lauren Young. The 15-year-old talent is not eligible in next year’s draft, but looms as an incredible prospect ahead of the 2023-24 AFLW season. The tall utility can dominate in any line at senior level, and still has a couple of years to hone her craft further.

But outside of Young, Port Adelaide have some other great talents yet to be exposed at Under 19s state level, with Shineah Goody the next best South Australian prospect for the 2023 AFLW Draft also in the Academy. The Woodville-West Torrens product is a smooth mover who can play on all three lines like Young, and along with sisters Chloe (2023 AFLW Draft) and Jemma Whitington-Charity (2024).

Marlie Fiegert (2023) has a special tie to the the club, with the talented Eagles prospect a potential Port Adelaide father-daughter selection. Her father Nigel played 19 AFL games for the Power, and 168 SANFL games at the Magpies between 1996-2004. Speaking of father-daughter selections, who could forget the time Erin Phillips committed to Port Adelaide six years ago prior to the start of the AFL Women’s. Having already starred for the Crows, the daughter of eight-time premiership player Greg would be the top of the list for the Power from not only a playing sense, but a marketability sense.

Whilst picking potential current AFLW talents might be tricky 12 months out, some players who were right in contention for the most recent AFL Women’s Draft include AFLW Academy member Gypsy Schirmer, and Under 19s All-Australian and West Adelaide Best and Fairest winner Zoe Venning. Both would be strong selections for the Power, whilst Lauren Breguet and Tahlita Buethke were other AFLW Draft Combine invites who could be looked at for the state’s newest club.

In terms of top-age talents, Port Adelaide might look to its rival Adelaide’s Academy in 2022, with North Adelaide duo Hannah Ewings and Amelie Borg, and West Adelaide’s Keeley Kustermann looming at the three top picks in the state 12 months out from the draft. Whilst South Australia has plenty of depth in the crop, the trio are top-end talents, with Ewings a Breakthrough Award winner, and Kustermann and Borg both capped at Under 19s level – a carnival Ewings missed due to an ankle injury.

Across the league, the likes of Sharnie Whiting as a key position player, and Jessica Bates and Ellie Kellock out of Glenelg’s premiership side could be readymade talents, and Central District duo Katelyn Rosenzweig – a one-time Crows listed player – and Chantel Reynolds up forward who both impressed inside 50. Jorja Hooper is a draft-eligible talent tall forward out of South Adelaide who might come in as a consideration, whilst the likes of Tessa Kohn, Isobel Kuiper and Shelby Smith have played consistent football over the last couple of years as inside ball-winners.

There is no shortage of talent in South Australia, and Port could well be immediately competitive in the AFL Women’s, with a great blend of experienced and young talent, particularly if Phillips is that headline marquee player.

Picture credit: Port Adelaide FC

AFL Women’s to become 18-team competition for 2022-23 season

ALL 18 clubs will have a men’s and women’s side at the elite level within 12 months after the AFL announced the AFL Women’s expansion plans for the 2022-23 season. After initially starting with eight clubs, expanding to 12 and then 14, the AFL Women’s will now have all 18 sides competing for premiership points in just over 12 months time. AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan made the announcement today which officially signed off the entry of Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney into the AFL Women’s.

McLachlan said the day was a “defining day” in the history of Australian rules football, accepting all four teams into the competition after they met key factors including resourcing, facilities, list strategies, building the fan base, corporate support and investment into their AFLW program.

“To accelerate the growth of the NAB AFLW Competition and to allow for greater opportunities for AFLW players, it is paramount that we engage all 18 AFL clubs and their supporter bases,” Mr McLachlan said.

“The decision to expand the competition again, after the AFLW was expanded from eight teams to 10 teams in 2019 and then to 14 teams in 2020, comes as the number of women and girls playing football has grown to more than 600,000 nationally.

“With an additional four clubs entering the NAB AFL Women’s Competition in Season Seven, we will grow to 540 AFLW players across all 18 clubs, the largest employer of female athletes in the country, presenting further opportunities for women and girls involved in women’s football pathways, from NAB AFL Auskick to the elite competition.”

Whilst AFL General Manager of Women’s Football Nicole Livingstone was absent for the press conference due to being in transit returning from the Tokyo Olympics, she wrote that it was a great day for women’s football.

“Our primary objective is to provide women and girls with an equal opportunity to play elite Australian Football and to increase the female participation and interest in our game,” she said.

“Through the growth of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition over the past five years, we have seen more women and girls picking up a footy across all levels of our game, and we can’t wait to build on that momentum with a new cohort of AFLW fans in Season Seven.

“As we welcome four new clubs to the Competition, we will continue to work with the AFLW players, the AFLPA and the clubs over the coming years to make AFLW the sport of choice for women and create legitimate career opportunities for women within our game.”

Any further details on list numbers or fixture structures are yet to be addressed other than confirming that 18 teams will compete for the 2022-23 AFLW flag.

Jessica Doyle captaining Sydney Swans Academy in their debut NAB League Girls game.

The AFL Women’s competition was founded in 2017 with eight clubs: Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, GWS GIANTS, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs. They were joined in 2019 by Geelong and North Melbourne, with a larger four-team expansion of Gold Coast, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast prior to the 2020 season. By the time the final four clubs enter the competition, a further three seasons will have been completed, and six all up, showing the impressive rapid development of the league into a true elite level competition.

While plenty more information is to come in the future, McLachlan said the announcement was a way of completing the competition to match that of its AFL men’s league.

“We don’t feel that the competition is whole without all 18 clubs and we know from the clubs that they don’t feel whole now without an AFLW team,” he said. “AFLW is not just a competition that makes our game better but a culture that makes our whole industry better.”