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AFLW Draft: 10 Players to Watch

After a frantic trade and sign period, clubs will look to finalise their 2021 lists at tonight’s AFLW draft. Richmond holds the number one selection.

Teah Charlton is one of the top prospects ahead of the 2020 AFLW draft. Image: SANFLW
Teah Charlton is one of the top prospects ahead of the 2020 AFLW draft. Image: SANFLW

Tonight’s AFLW draft will see nearly 60 players find a home for the 2021 season. Three players have already been assured of selection, with Tarni Brown, Alice Burke and Amy Smith heading to Collingwood, St Kilda and North Melbourne respectively thanks to father-daughter selections. Richmond holds the coveted number one pick, but the depth of talent available this year—particularly in Victoria—is impressive, so here are ten names to listen out for this evening.

Shanae Davison (WA) — forward

Swan Districts / Noranda Hawks

Shanae Davison drew attention earlier this year with a video of her high-flying marking doing the rounds on Twitter. This will be her second year at the draft, and her progression in 2020 will surely see her picked up fairly quickly.

While Davison’s overhead marking is her best known asset, it’s her ability to follow that up with her kicking at goal that makes her even more valuable. West Coast are desperate for a reliable forward and they’re in the box seat to land Davison.

Ellie McKenzie (VIC) — midfielder

Northern Knights / Vic Metro

Highly touted to go number one, Ellie McKenzie is a versatile midfielder who has a great combination of both strength and speed. Her skill combined with her footy IQ makes her an incredibly damaging link between midfield and forward, and her height also makes her a viable forward option if needed.

A known ball winner, McKenzie is the kind of player Monique Conti will be hoping to play alongside at stoppages in 2021.

Ashleigh Woodland (SA) — forward/midfielder

North Adelaide / South Australia

Ashleigh Woodland played four games in defence for the Melbourne Demons in 2019 and was fairly unlucky to be delisted. Woodland has worked hard on her game back at North Adelaide, and a move to the midfield/forward has proved fruitful.

In the recent NAB U18 All Stars showcase game, Woodland looked a class above roaming the half forward line. Her clean hands both in the contest and overhead makes her a really damaging player, and she would certainly slot into Courtney Gum or Courtney Cramey’s position at Adelaide beautifully.

Janet Baird (NT) — midfielder

Palmerston Magpies / NT Thunder

A real standout of the Northern Territory U18 All Stars match, Janet Baird is a really smart footballer who has a proven ability to make quick decisions and hit the scoreboard.

Baird is a quick, classy midfielder who could certainly assist with Gold Coast’s balance between tough inside midfielders and outside run. This will be her third draft, and it would come as a shock if she were to be overlooked again.

Teah Charlton (SA) — midfielder

South Adelaide / South Australia

Teah Charlton is well known for her attack at the contest and game awareness. As a bottom-ager she found herself in the U18 All Australian side last year, and has continued that form into 2020.

A dominant midfielder who is equally damaging playing up forward, the Crows are expected to snap Charlton up pretty early in the evening.

Tarni Evans (NSW) — utility

Queanbeyan / New South Wales

A genuine utility, Tarni Evans is one of the most exciting prospects in the NSW draft pool. Tall, athletic, skillful and versatile, she can play countless roles within a game.

With their glut of contested, inside midfielders, Tarni Evans is exactly the kind of player the Giants need to create a more balanced list, and she would immediately benefit from playing as a winger to the likes of Jess Dal Pos and Alyce Parker.

Related—How is your side shaping up? Our first look at AFLW season 2021

Daisy D’Arcy (QLD) — midfielder

Hermit Park / Queensland

Supremely athletic, Daisy D’Arcy has excelled in both rugby 7s and round ball football. Her multi sport background gives her a slightly different perspective on footy and makes her creative on the field.

Part of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, she’s known to use her power and speed to impact stoppages and make good choices with ball in hand.

Alyssa Bannan (VIC) — key forward

Northern Knights / Vic Metro

Alyssa Bannan is a ball winning key forward who presents well at the ball carrier and has a strong overhead mark. Bannan is similar to Sarah Perkins in her repeat efforts, not just in the air but at ground level too. Her workrate often sees her getting up the field to impact the game, then reading the play well enough to push forward in the right moments to create an option.

The Melbourne Demons would do well to recruit Bannan to work as a one-two punch with Eden Zanker up forward for the long term.

Zimmorlei Farquharson (QLD) — forward

Calmvale/Yeronga / Queensland

A quick, agile forward who has spent time as part of the Brisbane Lions Academy, Zimmorlei Farquharson is a mid-sized forward who is a tough match up. Too big for small, lock down defenders. Too small and agile for key defenders.

Farquharson’s strength in the air and pressure at ground level creates repeat opportunities at goal. Both the Lions and Suns would love to have her roaming their forward 50 come 2021.

Tyanna Smith (VIC) — midfielder

Dandenong Stingrays / Vic Country

The midfielder is a reliable ball winner not afraid to run two ways. Tyanna Smith is another who last year earned U18 All Australian honours as a bottom ager, and her ability to burst from stoppage sets her apart from most other midfielders available this year.

Smith would be an ideal addition to the Western Bulldogs midfield who have three picks within the Victorian top ten, and are desperate for someone to support Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb.

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