Sarah Black's 2020 Phantom Draft: Late mail, your club's whispers

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AS THE standard of women's footy around the country improves, so does the depth of talent. 

EXPLAINER How the new-look AFLW Draft will work in 2020

In an unprecedented year, with little-to-no football played in Victoria, no traditional NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships and restructured state-based NAB AFLW Draft Combines, getting a read on talent is harder than ever.

DRAFT PROFILES Find out more about 2020's leading prospects

Regardless, here's the very first womens.afl Phantom Draft, looking at possible selections for the first round.

The NAB AFLW Draft will be live on womens.afl and the AFLW Official App from 7pm AEDT on Tuesday, October 6

ELLIE McKENZIE

Pos Midfielder
Ht 176cm, DOB 17/10/02
From Northern Knights/Vic Metro

McKenzie's outstanding 2019 season (All Australian at the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships) put the building blocks in place to feature in discussions around the No.1 Victorian pick. A natural football, she has had the benefit of uninterrupted football since Auskick. McKenzie has an excellent all-round midfield game, is strong on both the inside and outside of packs and has elite kicking skills. Her height means she is more than handy inside 50, too. 

If not her? It'll be a big shock if McKenzie's not at Punt Road for pre-season in November. Tyanna Smith – an excellent player in her own right – could be an outside option.

NO.1 CONTENDER Ellie McKenzie on Tiger links, Hawk idol and sports-mad family

Draft Prospect: Ellie McKenzie

00:52 Sep 2. 2020. 2:29 PM

Northern Knights gun shows why she's one to watch

ALYSSA BANNAN

Pos Key forward
Ht 178cm, DOB 13/4/02
From Northern Knights/Vic Metro 

Key forwards don't come around too often – particularly in the AFLW, where the current trend is for smaller forwards – and Bannan's mix of aerial prowess and balance at ground level puts her at the front of the pack. A steady and proven goalkicker, Bannan is strong on the lead and has a dominant presence inside 50. Bannan was one of just four bottom-age All Australian in last year's NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships. 

If not her? Ellie McKenzie should be snapped up on the outside chance she's still available. Others who have been linked to the Dogs with pick No.2 are Tyanna Smith and Jess Fitzgerald.

DRAFT HUB Latest news, key dates, more

Draft Prospect: Alyssa Bannan

00:54 Sep 2. 2020. 2:33 PM

Northern Knights prospect Alyssa Bannan

BELLA LEWIS

Pos Midfielder
Ht 162cm, DOB 16/11/02
From Claremont/WA 

Lewis will almost certainly become the first AFLW player to have switched to footy from trampolining. Years of state-level gymnastics training have given Lewis a powerful burst pushing away from stoppages, despite being relatively small. Lewis has a great turn of speed, with agility also a strength. She missed WA's NAB AFLW All-Stars match with an ankle injury but looks on track for the start of official pre-season training in mid-November. 

If not her? The other top WA prospects are the versatile Sarah Verrier (who has endured a tough run with injury this year, including a spider bite) and mid/forward Shanae Davison (see pick 14).

FOOTY JUST 'CLICKED' Why a WA mid gave trampolining the bounce

Draft Prospect: Isabella Lewis

00:34 Sep 2. 2020. 2:36 PM

A Claremont youngster making waves in the west

TEAH CHARLTON

Pos Midfielder/forward
Ht 169, DOB 25/4/02
From South Adelaide/SA 

Charlton has been having strong impacts on SANFLW games for two years now but is finally eligible for the draft. A powerfully built midfielder, the South Australian has a background in surf lifesaving. Charlton is a contested ball winner and a clean user of the footy by both hand and foot. Her ability to drive out of congestion and goal sense means she's deadly around forward stoppages. 

If not her? This one appears to be a pretty clear-cut selection.

SA STAR Surf to footy, Teah Charlton is still chasing flags

Draft Prospect: Teah Charlton

00:32 Sep 2. 2020. 2:24 PM

South Adelaide youngster one to watch in 2021

TYANNA SMITH

Pos Midfielder/defender
Ht 167cm, DOB  29/10/02
From Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country 

Smith embodies the best of both worlds, a hard, contested player with elite disposal. Coming from a basketball background, the Stingray has a neat sidestep, with the agility, speed and vision to extract herself from stoppages. It makes sense the AFLW players she looks up to are Monique Conti and Chloe Molloy. An All Australian at last year's NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships. 

If not her? There is a consensus among list managers that picks 2-4 in the Victorian pool are Bannan, Smith and Jess Fitzgerald, but a lot depends on who the Bulldogs select with pick No.2.

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Tyanna Smith in action for Vic Country in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

JESS FITZGERALD

Pos Midfielder
Ht 163cm, DOB 8/3/02
From Northern Knights/Vic Metro 

Yet another graduate of the successful Northern Knights program, Fitzgerald was named best on in last year's NAB League Grand Final despite being a year off draft eligibility. Seven players from that game went on to be drafted, and it also featured McKenzie and Bannan. Fitzgerald can play both as an inside and outside midfielder and is a powerful runner with good endurance.

If not her? The Saints are likely to take the remaining player of the Bannan-Smith-Fitzgerald group.

DRAFT PROFILES Find out more about 2020's leading prospects

Draft Prospect: Jess Fitzgerald

00:39 Sep 2. 2020. 2:34 PM

Northern Knights midfielder one to watch

ANNISE BRADFIELD

Pos Midfielder/forward
Ht 172cm, DOB 2/12/02
From Bond University/Qld 

Bradfield seems to play taller than her height of 172cm and is a clean user of the footy. She's capable of playing in the midfield or up forward and reads the play well. A true Gold Coast local, Bradfield has come through the junior ranks at Southport before graduating to Bond University's senior teams. She has been a member of the NAB AFLW Academy for two years.

If not her? The Suns are unlikely to look elsewhere for their first pick.

EXPLAINER How the new-look AFLW Draft will work in 2020

Annise Bradfield in action for Queensland in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

ZIMMORLEI FARQUHARSON

Pos Forward
Ht 172cm, DOB 27/4/02
From Calamvale/Yeronga/Qld 

Farquharson, who goes by "Zimmie", has speed to burn. Like Bradfield, she's been around the Queensland talent pathways for a while, having also been a two-year member of the NAB AFLW Academy. A dangerous forward, Farquharson has been bringing composure into her game and uses the footy well. She's agile, tackles well and while slightly built, has safe hands overhead. 

If not her? In the past, the Lions have often opted for mature-age players with their first selection, so don't be surprised if they make a left-field pick.

U18 ALL-STARS Check out all the results

Zimmorlei Farquharson in action for the Lions during the Queensland All-Stars match. Picture: AFL Photos

TARNI EVANS

Pos Winger
Ht 180cm, DOB 1/2/02
From Queanbeyan/NSW 

There aren't many wingers running around the AFLW who stand at 180cm tall, but Evans is just that. She has elite endurance, nearly pipping Nina Morrison's 2km time trial record at the NAB AFLW Combine, and steady hands overhead. Originally from Tathra on the NSW south coast, Evans now lives with her older sister in Queanbeyan for football and school.

If not her? Once again, a fairly straightforward pick for GWS here, unlikely to look elsewhere.

GIANT COMMITMENT Six-hour round trips set to pay off for NSW prospect

Draft Prospect: Tarni Evans

00:36 Sep 2. 2020. 2:30 PM

ACT product expected to make an impact

DARCY MOLONEY

Pos Midfielder
Ht 165cm, DOB 20/11/02
From Geelong Falcons/Vic Country 

The Cats have made a habit of drafting local in the last few years, and it's worked a treat so far. Moloney knows how to find the footy and has become a strong linking player for the Falcons, either exiting or entering 50. From Colac, Moloney was captain of the Falcons this year in the aborted NAB League series. She makes good decisions with ball in hand and has the attributes to help find space.

If not her? Other names raised in connection with Geelong have been key forward Olivia Barber and Falcon Laura Gardiner.

DRAFT HUB Latest news, key dates, more

Draft Prospect: Darcy Moloney

00:46 Sep 2. 2020. 2:34 PM

Geelong Falcons young gun set to make a difference

ISABELLE PRITCHARD

Pos Defender
Ht 178cm, DOB 8/3/02
From Western Jets/Vic Metro 

A key defender with the capability to push higher up the ground, Pritchard isn't the most experienced player but has improved at a rapid rate. Pritchard is a strong mark overhead and relishes one-on-one contests. She's tough and tenacious and reads the ball well in the air. A member of the NAB AFLW Academy. 

If not her? This is where things start to get tricky. The same names have been continually raised for picks 11-16, but no one is quite sure where things will land. Eliza McNamara or Isabella Eddey would be nice additions to the midfield.

FINAL DRAFT ORDER Your club's picks

Isabelle Pritchard in action for Vic Metro in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

ELIZA McNAMARA

Pos Midfielder
Ht 166cm, DOB 19/4/02
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro 

A tenacious inside midfielder, McNamara's attack on the footy and endurance are two of her biggest strengths. With the Victorian Combine effectively cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, McNamara ran a 6:59 2km time trial under her own steam, which if run under Combine conditions would have been a record. McNamara is fiercely competitive and is capable of playing in other positions on the ground. 

If not her? Defender Sarah Hartwig is an option, as is Pritchard if still available.

DRAFT PROFILES Find out more about 2020's leading prospects

Eliza McNamara in action for the Sandringham Dragons. Picture: AFL Photos

SARAH HARTWIG

Pos Defender
Ht 174cm, DOB 12/4/02
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro 

Hartwig is a clean defender who reads the play really well and is strong overhead. She's composed in high-pressure situations and makes good decisions when clearing the play. Hartwig is experienced, having played football from a young age, and has got the ability to push further up the ground if needed. 

If not her? North Melbourne traditionally plays its cards very close to its chest, with this selection being tough to get a read on. Mimi Hill, Isabella Eddey and Eliza McNamara could all slot into this pick.

EXPLAINER How the new-look AFLW Draft will work in 2020

Sarah Hartwig gets a kick away for the Sandringham Dragons. Picture: AFL Photos

SHANAE DAVISON

Pos Forward/midfielder
Ht 164cm, DOB 18/8/01
From Swan Districts/WA 

Originally from Broome, Davison has burst onto the scene recently. The 19-year-old was playing local footy in 2018 before stepping straight into Swan Districts' WAFLW team last year. A versatile attacking player, she's surprisingly strong overhead for her height and reads the play well. Davison has a powerful jump and is a steady set shot.

If not her? Lewis (see pick three) is an option if available, while Sarah Verrier is also in calculations.

'I WAS SHOCKED WHEN I LANDED' WA gun on THAT mark, Freo mentor and rapid rise

WA draft prospect Shanae Davison. Picture: The Sports Photo

MIMI HILL

Pos Midfielder
Ht 165cm, DOB 4/10/02
From Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro 

A two-year skipper of Oakleigh, Hill was a member of the NAB AFLW Academy this year. She's strong in the contest and is a proven ball-winner. She's especially handy at setting up forward 50 entries with her sharp kicking. Hill reads the play well, anticipating where best to set herself to have an impact on the contest. 

If not her? Pritchard, McNamara or Hartwig could easily slot in, as could Isabella Eddey or Amelia Velardo.

DRAFT HUB Latest news, key dates, more

Mimi Hill in action for Vic Metro. Picture: AFL Photos

ISABELLA EDDEY

Pos Outside midfielder
Ht 162cm, DOB 11/2/02
From Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro 

A classy outside midfielder, Eddey is an excellent user of the footy with sharp vision and a more-than-tidy side-step. She has a silky kick and is great at setting up teammates in scoring positions. Eddey is able to hit the scoreboard herself and is a strong runner, covering the ground well. 

If not her? As above, the combination of picks before 16 will contribute to the Dogs' decision, but McNamara would add nicely to the Dogs' midfield. Forward Steph Williams has also been linked to the club.

EXPLAINER How the new-look AFLW Draft will work in 2020

Draft Prospect: Isabella Eddey

00:42 Sep 2. 2020. 2:32 PM

A Sandringham Dragons young gun with plenty to offer

FINAL DRAFT ORDER Your club's picks 

Other names to watch in the early rounds

Olivia Barber (key forward, Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)

Renee Saulitis (small forward, GWV Rebels/Vic Country)

Amelia Velardo (ruck, Western Jets/Vic Metro)

Laura Gardiner (midfielder, Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

Megan Fitzsimon (midfielder, Gippsland Power/Vic Country)

Alice O'Loughlin (mid/forward, Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Steph Williams (forward, Darwin Buffaloes & Geelong Falcons/NT but nominated Vic)

Sarah Verrier (mid-sized utility, Peel Thunder/WA)

Mikayla Morrison (forward/mid, East Perth Royals/WA)

Amber Ward (defender, North Adelaide/SA)

Ashleigh Woodland (mid-sized utility, North Adelaide/SA)

Maddison Levi (forward/defender, Bond University/Qld)

Daisy D'Arcy (midfielder, Hermit Park/Qld)

The NAB AFLW Draft will be live on womens.afl and the AFLW Official App from 7pm AEDT on Tuesday, October 6