2020 AFL Women's Team of the Draft
It is certainly safe to say that there was a lot of talent taken in the 2020 NAB AFL Women’s Draft with the likes of McKenzie, Charlton, Bannan and Lewis all a part of a formidable top ten.
And while most of the recruits are still coming to terms with the latest and most exciting chapter in their footballing journey, others are already setting their sights on a hopeful Round One debut with their new club.
But with an abundance of top-level talent picked up in the draft, and a further four fantastic players signed during the free agency period—it can almost be overwhelming, especially considering the skills of some of the latest signings.
This is why we have put together a team made up of some of the most exciting draftees of the 2020 NAB AFLW Draft, so we can sit back and admire the next generation of the best female footballers.
Scroll down to see the Team of the Draft, plus a small breakdown of the squad.
Captain: Ellie McKenzie Vice-Captain: Jess Fitzgerald
Each club has been represented by at least one of their 2020 draftees, and the Bulldogs proudly lead the way with all of their three draftees making the side, alongside three of the Brisbane Lions picks.
As for the leaders of the side, the obvious choice to receive the Captaincy was Ellie McKenzie who transformed from a Northern Knight into a Richmond Tiger with this year’s first pick. The Vice-Captaincy goes to a Northern Knights teammate of hers in Jess Fitzgerald who joined the Western Bulldogs with the second pick.
Annise Bradfield (Gold Coast, Pick #7)
As a member of the AFLW Academy for the past two years as well as a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy—Annise Bradfield is certainly a bright prospect from the sunshine state. Her passion towards the game is unparalleled, and she has certainly had to overcome some big hurdles to reach the top tier. So, now that she is at the top, get ready for some strong performances by the young forward.
Alyssa Bannan (Melbourne, Pick #5)
Having represented Victoria Metro on several occasions as well as being a part of the Northern Knights leadership squad this year, Alyssa Bannan is a welcome part to this year’s finalist, Melbourne. Standing at 177 cm, this ready-made forward booted nine goals and averaged 14 disposals a match during the only three NAB League games this year.
Zimmorlei Farquharson (Brisbane, Pick #8)
Zimmorlei Farquharson brings plenty of forward pressure and X factor to the Brisbane Lions. It is rather easy to see why she was picked up with their first pick in this year’s draft, having already made her presence felt in the QAFLW where she booted a reliable six goals in just seven matches. She has also spent two seasons in the NAB AFLW Academy as well as four seasons with the Lions Academy.
Half Forward Flank
Teah Charlton (Adelaide, Pick #4)
Teah Charlton is a young gun South Australian that possesses plenty of X factor. Making her SANFL Women’s debut in 2019 and winning the Breakthrough Player award that same season, her speed and marking ability make her a threat both in the air and on the ground. She is also rather reliable kick in front of goal as well, booting eight goals this SANFLW season with South Adelaide.
Centre Half Forward
Ellie McKenzie (Richmond, Pick #1)
Standing proudly at centre half forward is the Captain of the 2020 AFL Women’s Team of the Draft, Ellie McKenzie. McKenzie is certainly dangerous in the middle, best shown through the fact that she collected 57 disposals in just the first and only three NAB League Games this year. But her versatility is the reason she finds herself at half forward of our side.
Half Forward Flank
Mikayla Morrison (Fremantle, Pick #30)
Mikayla Morrison is a very talented and clever forward that joins the already very strong forward line of the Dockers. But while the Dockers went undefeated during 2020, bringing in a classy forward certainly doesn’t hurt—and they have certainly found that in Mikayla.
Tarni Evans (GWS Giants, Pick #9)
Joining the Giants with their first pick and the ninth overall in this year’s draft, Tarni Evans comes with plenty of potential—having played six games for six goals with Queanbeyan in the Australian Capital Territory. While a goalkicking wing is always a handy thing, she also has the potential to go forwards if the Giants wish.
Jess Fitzgerald (Western Bulldogs, Pick #2)
Jess enters the Western Bulldogs on the back of a standout start to the 2020 NAB League season. The young gun averaged just under 19 disposals and four tackles a match, which sits very nicely alongside the three goals that she also managed—and there is no doubt that she can have a similar impact at the next level.
Mimi Hill (Carlton, Pick #12)
Sitting fourth in the NAB League for the highest average disposal count, Oakleigh Chargers’ Captain enters the AFLW on some serious form, having finished runner-up to the 2019 club Best and Fairest as well as having earnt a spot in the AFLW Academy. With quick pace and clean skills, she will certainly be a very welcome part of the Blues line-up.
Half Back Flank
Winnie Laing (Carlton, Pick #36)
Consistent could certainly be used to describe Winnie Laing’s performance for the Dragons this NAB League season. She averaged 20 touches and three tackles a match and she also managed a total of eight rebound 50s from the first and only three games of this year. While we have her named at half back, her versatility means she can go practically where ever the Blues need her.
Centre Half Back
Sarah Verrier (Fremantle, Pick #14)
This bright prospect from the west is a very versatile and fast paced player that can play across each of the three lines. She got picked up by the undefeated Dockers with their first pick in this year’s draft—so expect the versatile Verrier to do some damage in the purple and white, although expect her to play as a rover.
Half Back Flank
Emily Pease (GWS Giants, Pick #29)
Emily Pease earned U15 All Australian honours back in 2017, and she has only developed even more in the years that followed. Having represented the NSW/ACT Rams as well as the Eastern Allies, this AFLW Academy member brings a lot of pace and rebounding potential to this year’s finalist, GWS.
Sarah Hartwig (Western Bulldogs, Pick #11)
One of several players from the Sandringham Dragons that now find themselves in the top tier of football—Sarah Hartwig brings plenty of rebound potential to the Bulldogs. From just three NAB League games this year, Sarah collected a strong total of 45 disposals, 14 tackles and 13 marks while also putting her defensive attributes on full display by collecting a total of ten rebound 50s.
Isabelle Pritchard (Western Bulldogs, Pick #16)
This Western Jets product enjoyed an extremely bright and consistent start to the 2020 NAB League season. From the first three rounds, Isabelle averaged 23 disposals and seven tackles a match—which makes her a very exciting prospect for the mighty Bulldogs. Although expect her to be at half back where she can certainly do the most damage.
Ruby Svarc (Brisbane, Pick 38)
This fast-paced and versatile player is the younger sister of current Lion, Cathy. After spending a couple of seasons in the VFLW, Ruby brings plenty of rebounding potential to the Lions—so expect to see her play closer to half back than deep in defence.
Amelia Verlado (Collingwood, Pick #25)
Standing at 176 cm, Amelia Verlado might not be the tallest ruck around, but that certainly didn’t stop her from making an impact with the Western Jets. She made her presence felt around the stoppages as she collected a total of 54 disposals and 14 tackles from just three NAB League matches this year—and she also created plenty of chances for her teammates by averaging two rebound 50s, and three inside 50s a match.
Darcy Moloney (Geelong, Pick #10)
If the start 2020 is anything to go by, this young gun Falcon can certainly make an impact for the Cats. This is because, in just the first and only two games that Geelong played this year's NAB League season, Darcy collected a grand total of 53 disposals.
Bella Lewis (West Coast, Pick #3)
Bella Lewis went extremely early on in this year’s draft, and the Eagles first pick brings plenty of pace and endurance into the side. But while she has had to battle injuries this WAFLW season, her potential still remains—and dare we say she has a lot of potential.
Tarni Brown (Collingwood, Pick #19)
As a member of the AFLW Academy and a former representative of Victoria Metro’s U16s side, Tarni Brown can certainly do her last-name proud at Collingwood. As the daughter of Collingwood legend, Gavin brown, Tarni joins the Magpies on the back of a solid NAB League performance that saw her average 24 touches and five tackles a match.
Eliza McNamara (Melbourne, Pick #15)
With a very high level of endurance, Eliza McNamara is a welcome part of this year’s finalist, Melbourne. If the start of 2020 is anything to go by, she certainly has the potential to match it at the top level, as she collected 52 disposals and 19 tackles as well as two goals during just three NAB League games this year.
Laura Gardiner (Geelong, Pick #20)
A member of the AFLW Academy and a representative of Victoria Country in 2019, Laura Gardiner is a very exciting prospect to say the least. We just wish that this year’s NAB League season hadn’t been cancelled as she had averaged 35 disposals (the highest average in the competition) and 12 tackles a match from just the first two games—making this one of the best starts to a season that we have ever seen.
Tyanna Smith (St Kilda, Pick #6)
It is rather easy to see why Tyanna Smith went from a being a Stingray to a Saint with pick six—and this because of the extraordinary start she had to the 2020 NAB league season. From just three matches, she collected 76 disposals, 18 tackles and 12 marks—the former of which gave her the highest disposal count in the league. Which all adds up to make her a very bright prospect for the Saints.
Isabella Eddey (North Melbourne, Pick #13)
This talented Dragon was North Melbourne’s first pick in the 2020 AFLW Draft, and keeping in mind her performance at the start of 2020, it is easy to see why. From the first and only three NAB League games of 2020, Isabella collected 53 disposals, 14 tackles and nine marks—which sit very nicely alongside the two goals that she also managed.
Indy Tahau (Brisbane, Pick #37)
This South Adelaide Panther turned Brisbane Lion is both an aerial and ground-level threat thanks to her quick pace and strong overhead marking. She has spent two seasons in the AFLW Academy, and also played in a SANFLW Premiership back in 2019—where she was also named as the Best on Ground.
Renee Saulitis (St Kilda, Pick #34)
While once a proud Rebel, Renee Saulitis now has a very bright future as a Saint—and she dons the red, white and black on the back of a very consistent performance during the short NAB League season this year. In total, Renee collected 24 disposals, six tackles and two goals from just two matches.
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