Sarah Black's top 30: The strong-marking Roo entering her prime

EVERYONE loves a good countdown.

To celebrate the impending return of the NAB AFLW competition, womens.afl has gone back with the flight of the ball, putting its body on the line and has ranked the top 30 players across the 14 sides.

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game 

Aspects considered included impact on games and pure talent, with extra weight given to consistency of performance.

At times it felt like splitting hairs, or attempting to separate the Hosking twins, and apologies are to be made to Darcy Vescio and Sam Virgo, who just missed the cut.

FOLLOW THE LEADER Your club's 2020 captain and leadership group

With total player pool of 420 to choose from, this 30 represent the top 7.1 per cent of the competition.

Check back to this article every day as a new player is revealed, and keep your eye on the AFLW social channels for highlights of the featured stars.

30. Alicia Eva (Greater Western Sydney)

The newly minted GWS captain and a coach on the rise is quite the handy player in her own right.

A tenacious midfielder standing at 163cm, Eva has a strong game both on the inside and outside of contests, and made the Virgin Australia AFLW All Australian team in 2018.

Eva is clean by foot with a strong footy IQ and has an AFLW career average of 15.4 disposals and five tackles a game.

She came second in Collingwood's 2017 best and fairest, won the Giants' Gabrielle Trainor Medal in 2018 and finished equal-second in 2019.

29. Jasmine Garner (North Melbourne)

The hard-running forward is poised to have a breakout season after spending some time in the midfield during the VFLW season.

Originally a Collingwood player, Garner's first AFLW coach Wayne Siekman often said he believed she has the best marking hands in the competition, and it's a claim that's stood up in recent times.

Garner has an uncanny goal sense and has that useful knack of turning a game on its head in a ten-minute burst of brilliance.

An All Australian in 2019, Garner has averaged 11.5 disposals and 3.7 marks over her three seasons, kicking 15 goals. She also finished second in the Pies' best and fairest in 2018.

28. Rebecca Beeson (Greater Western Sydney)

The reigning Gabrielle Trainor medallist as the Giants' best and fairest, Beeson took her game to a whole new level in 2019.

An elite ball-winner, the midfielder is damaging breaking away from stoppages and has a neat kick.

Beeson, 22, can be difficult to lock down. She has a career average of 12.6 disposals, but her 2019 output was well above, recording an average 16.3 touches a game.

Also quite handy in front of goal, Beeson is a steady set shot and more often than not puts her teammates in the right position with cleverly placed disposals.

27. Tayla Harris (Carlton)

What more can be said about Tayla Harris? She was All Australian in 2017 and 2018, leading goalkicker for Carlton in 2018 and 2019, took the mark of the year in the past two seasons and has a (NAB-issued) statue to boot.

Accuracy in front of goal can be an issue (she's often more comfortable from a distance), but there's no doubting her contested marking ability, a rare commodity in AFLW.

A true spearhead of Carlton's attack, Harris is highly athletic and fearless in the air.

Harris at her best is also a hassling presence at ground level, with surprisingly sharp closing speed for a player of her height.

26. Ally Anderson (Brisbane)

Anderson steadily developed into one of the premier midfielders of the competition. 

A very quiet first season saw her average just seven touches. In 2019, she was picking up 21 disposals a game and was a vital cog in the Lions' engine room.

Her stellar season saw Anderson named All Australian and winning Brisbane's best and fairest.

Anderson isn't just content with hunting the ball; she is a fierce tackler and despite her small frame, can crash through packs.

25. Chloe Molloy (Collingwood) 

She's played just one season, but what a season it was.

Molloy, a noted goalkicker as a junior, burst onto the scene in 2018, with then-Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman raising eyebrows by playing her in defence.

It was a role she took to with ease. Molloy reads the play very well, is incredibly composed with ball in hand and a vital cog in rebounding from the backline.

A fiercely contested player, the 2018 NAB AFLW Rising Star (who also finished equal-second in the AFLW best and fairest) sat out last season with a foot injury, but is raring to go in 2020.

24. Meg McDonald (Geelong)

A reliable presence in the backline, McDonald's return to the AFLW in 2019 after a year at state level saw her play for a new club at the opposite end of the ground.

One All Australian season later, McDonald is now regarded as a tough opponent who stands up well under pressure.

The 28-year-old also won Geelong's best and fairest in 2019, despite playing the last few games of the season with a stress fracture in her foot.

McDonald has a safe pair of hands and reads the ball very well in the air.

23. Maddy Prespakis (Carlton)

Prespakis had a stunning debut season in 2019, winning the NAB AFLW Rising Star by 10 votes and named as an on-baller in the All Australian side.

The fierce midfielder is strong on both sides of the pack, a noted ball-winner who's deadly by foot.

Prespakis has excellent footy smarts, regularly putting teammates in better positions with smart kicks, and is particularly dangerous heading inside forward 50.

At just 19, expect many more years of excellence to come from the young gun.

22. Jaimee Lambert (Collingwood)

A very difficult player to match up on, Lambert causes opposition headaches wherever she goes.

The diminutive forward/midfielder is surprisingly strong overhead for her height (162cm) and deadly when the ball is on the deck.

Lambert was crowned Collingwood's best and fairest in 2019 after a strong season which saw her average 15.6 disposals, 5.3 tackles and 1.0 goals a game.

Put simply, Lambert makes things happen.

21. Kate Lutkins (Brisbane)

A true general in defence, Lutkins came into her own in the 2018 season and was quite unlucky not to win the best on ground medal in a losing Grand Final.

Lutkins has a booming boot out of the backline, and often plays a sweeping role to great effect, patrolling the goal-line.

Across her AFLW career, Lutkins averages 13.1 disposals, 3.0 marks and 2.9 tackles per game.

She won Brisbane's best and fairest in 2018 and was also named All Australian, and finished third in the Lions' count last year.

20. Ebony Antonio (Fremantle)

Possibly the most effective flanker in the competition, Antonio can play back and forward with ease, often within the same game.

Highly athletic, the Docker reads the play very well in defence and is an excellent intercept mark.

Antonio is courageous in the air and has strong kicking skills to boot, playing a more permanent role in attack for the first half of 2019, kicking 5.5.

She took out Fremantle's best and fairest in 2018 and was also named All Australian for that season.

19. Emma King (North Melbourne)

One of the premier rucks in the competition, King flexed her muscle as a full-forward in 2019.

The Kangaroo's height (187cm) and strong hands overhead made her lethal leading out of the goalsquare, kicking eight goals, up from just one over her first two seasons at the Pies.

King was named All Australian in 2017 and 2019 and is capable of changing the course of a match in the space of 10 minutes.

She's a strong tap ruck, who at 25, is coming into her prime.

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