AFLW – Off-Season Analysis Part One

Welcome back to the Mongrel for another year.

I was in the middle of working through content for the AFLW to close out the year, but being Christmas time and being sick as a dog through to the new year meant that I had no chance of completing this article and, of course, the top 50.

All in due time.

In the meantime, here was something I was working on after the AFLW Draft occurred, recapping everything that transpired in the off-season—the ins, the outs and every other little tidbit in between.

I’ve split this into three parts because calculating the number of words for just the first six teams equates to around 1900 words or so (not even counting this intro), so it saves you some time; I’ll split it into three parts.
Here’s part one: showcasing Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon and Fremantle.



Traded In: Nil

Traded Out: Montana McKinnon (Traded, Richmond),

Delisted: McKenzie Dowrick, Amber Ward, Hannah Button

Retired: Yvonne Bonner, Lisa Whiteley

Drafted In: Brooke Boileau (Pick 22), Tamara Henry (Pick 28), Lily Tarlinton (Pick 34)

After falling less than a kick away from making their fifth grand final, it was a relatively quiet trade period for the Crows, who only completed one player change with Montana McKinnon heading for Tigerland. As talented a player as she is, she won’t be missed much in terms of structure. Jess Allan took over as the number one ruck this year, and Caitlin Gould looked much more settled in the forward line as one of the focal points.

There were no surprises with their first draft pick, taking Brooke Boileau with their first selection at Pick 22. She was the best talent in South Australia behind Piper Window, enjoying a consistent year in the seniors for South Adelaide with her terrific inside work and will be a handy player to build on while the likes of Marinoff and Hatchard continue to strut their stuff.

They rounded out the draft by taking Victorian Tamara Henry with pick 28, a mid-forward with tremendous pressure and good athleticism and closed by taking Queenslander Lily Tarlinton with pick 34, a tall unit who can play both ruck and forward, kicking 16 goals from 13 games for Bond University in 2023.

All in all, what I got out from this off-season is that the Crows are content with the core group of players at their disposal and will be locked and loaded for another shot for glory heading into this year.



Traded In: Shanae Davison (West Coast), Eleanor Hartill (West Coast)

Traded Out: Zimmorlei Farquharson (Western Bulldogs), Mikayla Pauga (GWS), Analea McKee (Western Bulldogs), Kiara Hillier (Sydney), Bella Smith (Geelong), Ella Smith (Gold Coast), Courtney Murphy (GWS)

Delisted: Brooke Sheridan, Caitlin Wendlend

Retired: Phoebe Monahan

Drafted In: Evie Long (Pick 15), Sophie Peters (Pick 21), Indiana Williams (Pick 27), Rania Crozier (Pick 35), Jacinta Baldwick (Pick 37)

The Lions were very busy, bidding farewell to seven players as they headed to other clubs, whilst premiership defender Phoebe Monahan also called it a day. Monahan aside, those traded out don’t amount to much; Zimmie has shown she has the quality to be a good player but didn’t play in 2023. Mikayla Pauga is the only one of those seven who featured in the Lions’ premiership last year.

They also picked up exciting duo Shanae Davison and Eleanor Hartill from West Coast. Hartill might have more of a hard time picking up a spot as a key position type, but Davison should lock herself in a spot as one of the small forwards, especially when Courtney Hodder will likely get an increase in midfield minutes.

A big tick for the reigning premiers is that they got their academy players in the draft and I wouldn’t be shocked if some of them featured in their round one side. A bid was placed on Evie Long at 15, an outside type who has great running power and can also do damage up forward. Sophie Peters, another outside midfielder with excellent punch with her disposals, was picked up at the end of the first round.

They also added tall defender Indiana Williams after the Lions matched a bid for her at pick 27. They then went with athletic key forward Rania Crozier at pick 35 before finishing up with an excellent two-way midfielder in Jacinta Baldwick, a player who can work hard defensively and still pop up as a scoring option.

A very good off-season for the Lions who stocked up on heaps of great young talent to replace those going out who struggled to cement themselves a spot in their best 21.



Traded In: Celine Moody (Western Bulldogs), Yasmin Duursma (Port Adelaide), Tarni Brown (Collingwood)

Traded Out: Vaomua Laloifi (Western Bulldogs), Annie Lee (Collingwood), Paige Trudgeon (St Kilda), Daisy Walker (Delisted Free Agent, GWS)

Delisted: Imogen Milford, Chloe Wrigley

Retired: Phoebe McWilliams

Drafted In: Lila Keck (Pick 7), Meg Robertson (Pick 31)

Carlton’s on-field results (to me anyway) were surprising last season, but there’s a clear impetus that they want to build their team from the ground up, and that’s precisely where they headed with their trade acquisitions. Yasmin Duursma and Tarni Brown are 19 and 21, respectively, and both should massively add to the Blues’ outside run.

Former Bulldog Celine Moody also fits the age bracket at 26, but adding her in as a ruck-forward, when her sister Breann and Jess Good showed just how good they were as a ruck tandem in 2023, is confusing. It’s even more confusing once you look at what they lost. Mua Laloifi and Paige Trudgeon being moved on leaves a hole in their vital defensive stocks.

At the draft they took small forward Lila Keck, who should slot right in as one of their more dangerous forwards, having had some good performances at Bendigo over the past couple of seasons. They picked up Meg Robertson through the Father/Daughter rule – a midfielder who is very good on the inside and has got the speed to be a very good balanced mid. She might be behind a few, though, heading into 2024.



Traded In: Annie Lee (Carlton), Kalinda Howarth (Gold Coast), Mikayla Hyde (Fremantle)

Traded Out: Tarni Brown (Carlton), Ash Brazill (Fremantle)

Delisted: Joanna Lin, Imogen Evans, Sophie Casey, Olivia Barber, Em Smith

Retired: Nil

Drafted In: Georgia Clark (Pick 8), Lucy Cronin (Pick 9), Amber Schutte (Pick 32)

Collingwood identified some critical needs in terms of forward potency over the off-season, but it’ll be overshadowed by some strange decisions in terms of their delistings, headlined by Sophie Casey, who showcased her abilities as a lockdown small defender over the course of the season. But at 32, going on 33 in October, one has to wonder whether or not the Pies are looking to their younger players going forward.

Kalinda Howarth is returning from an ACL injury, but there’s no doubt her best can help a Collingwood forward line that failed so often last season. Mikayla Hyde has also shown progress as a forward, who can pinch in the midfield.

They used their two picks in the top 10 at the draft to secure tall targets at either end. Georgia Clark is one of the more highly rated key forwards from this draft crop; she’s a good contested mark, but can also apply pressure and is a reliable shot on goal. Lucy Cronin is a player better suited in the defensive half, and whilst she has the size and ability to go one-on-one, she also has the speed and agility to impact the rebound.

Don’t discount the selection of Amber Schutte at pick 32 either; she’s a good size at 171cm, has a penetrating right foot and looks electrifying when she runs the ball out of the defensive half.



Traded In: Maddi Gay (Melbourne), Bess Keaney (Gold Coast)

Traded Out: Nil

Delisted: Alana Barba, Leah Cutting, Joanne Doonan, Renee Tierney

Retired: Jess Wuetschner, Danielle Marshall

Drafted In: Emily Gough (Pick 20), Chloe Adams (Pick 38), Amy Gaylor (Pre-Listing)

After making finals for the first time in the AFLW in 2023, the Bombers didn’t waste any time trying to enhance the list in hopes of going further in 2024.

They picked up premiership Demon Maddi Gay and former Gold Coast vice-captain Bess Keaney through the trade period, and both of them will slot into their best 21. The Demons have used Gay as a half-back flanker, but given her physicality, she should be utilised more in the midfield, whilst Keaney’s ability to move the ball from half-back will help the Bombers reasonably well.

At the draft, they lucked out with their two selections, taking key position utility Emily Gough with their first selection at 20, a player that can play both forward and back and showing that she can cover ground well as a wing-type.

They then hit one of the bargains of the draft when they took Geelong Falcons captain Chloe Adams with Pick 38 – a player that despite not having explosive speed in comparison to others, still possesses excellent fundamental skills, demonstrating that she’s terrific on her non-preferred foot, offensively challenging on the inside and a great tackler.

While they weren’t as proactive as the other three expansion sides in their pre-listings, they secured a good player out of Calder in Amy Gaylor, a player who showed in limited games this year that she’s got clean hands and incredible athleticism out of the midfield – she’ll be a good player to watch down the track.



Traded In: Ash Brazill (Collingwood), Aisling McCarthy (West Coast), Gabby Newton (Western Bulldogs)

Traded Out: Mikayla Hyde (Collingwood), Roxy Roux (West Coast)

Delisted: Sarah Wielstra, Emmelie Fielder, Nikki Nield, Airlie Runnalls (Relisted)

Retired: Nil

Drafted In: Holly Ifould (Pick 49)

After a busy trade period, which saw them land three players that will be well and indeed entrenched in their best 21, they did very little with their draft haul, only making one live draft selection and committing the other to relist Airlie Runnalls.

Starting with their trade acquisitions, they would be thrilled that they picked up Gabby Newton from the Western Bulldogs. Taken pick one in the 2019 AFL Draft, Newton has seen action in all three areas of the ground since her debut; she proved a revelation as a key forward in season seven, and last year, we saw her trialled in the back half to good effect.

Ash Brazill has also seen minutes both up forward and down back, but she’s earned her accolades playing in defence throughout the years; she’ll be a steady hand and one that All-Australian Emma O’Driscoll will welcome in open arms. Meanwhile, Aisling McCarthy will bring another seasoned body to the midfield and shore up depth in that department.

The acquisitions came with a cost, as the Dockers gave up Mikayla Hyde and Roxy Roux to Collingwood and West Coast, respectively, as well as coughing up their pick six as part of the mega trade to get Newton over the line. Hyde and Roux have had excellent moments in purple but also struggled to cement their spot in the side.

They took Holly Ifould with pick 49 in the AFLW draft, their only real live selection on the night. Ifould showed plenty of run for South Adelaide over the past few years but added strings to her game this year for South Australian that could have her playing more in the middle and less on the wing down the line. Still, given her elite speed-endurance combination, she can be a dangerous player.



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