Bolters and bargains: Revisiting the inaugural AFLW draft

IT'S BEEN five years since the inaugural NAB AFLW Draft in 2016, and with the latest edition fast approaching, it's an opportunity to look back at the bolters from that first pool.

Just like the competition itself, the players have come a long way in the past five years, and some names immediately jump out as absolute steals.

The first draft saw eight teams – Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, GWS, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs – take part.

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An asterisk does need to be applied, as the need to build lists blew draft selection numbers out somewhat, particularly for non-Victorian sides who had exclusive access to their state's draft pool.

For example, the Lions could afford to select star defender Kate Lutkins with pick No.79, as no other sides were able to draft the future Grand Final best-on-ground winner.

Now-GWS key forward Bec Privitelli holds the honour of the latest picked to still be on a list (142 of 145 selections), while plenty of Victorian sides continually overlooked the ever-dependable Kirsty Lamb (pick No.138).

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Two women who have comfortably been in the best 10 players in the competition over the past two years – Jasmine Garner and Anne Hatchard – were young, raw, and by their own admissions, unfit, when they were selected with picks 86 and 87 respectively.

West Coast vice-captain Dana Hooker was drafted just three months after giving birth to daughter Alice, selected by Fremantle with pick No.130.

North Melbourne's Jasmine Garner celebrates a goal during the round two clash with St Kilda on February 7, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

2016 Draft Bolters

Pick No.142 – Bec Privitelli (Carlton, now GWS)

141 – Britt Gibson (Brisbane, now North Melbourne)

139 – Akec Makur Chuot (Fremantle, now Richmond)

138 – Kirsty Lamb (Western Bulldogs)

137 – Ruby Schleicher (Collingwood)

135 – Jasmine Grierson (Melbourne, now GWS)

132 – Christina Bernardi (Collingwood, now Richmond)

130 – Dana Hooker (Fremantle, now West Coast)

129 – Alison Downie (Carlton, now Collingwood)

127 – Jamie Stanton (Brisbane, now Gold Coast)

122 – Sarah Allan (Adelaide)

121 – Pepa Randall (Melbourne, now GWS)

110 – Katie Loynes (Carlton, now GWS)

109 – Steph Cain (Fremantle)

106 – Stevie-Lee Thompson (Adelaide)

87 – Anne Hatchard (Adelaide)

86 – Jasmine Garner (Collingwood, now North Melbourne)

79 – Kate Lutkins (Brisbane)

75 – Jess Duffin (Collingwood, now North Melbourne)

70 – Stacey Livingstone (Collingwood)

54 – Alicia Eva (Collingwood, now GWS)

Bec Privitelli celebrates one of her three goals against St Kilda in round six, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

2016 Rookie and Free Agent Steals

Erin Phillips (Adelaide)

Harriet Cordner (Melbourne, now Richmond)

Nat Exon (Carlton, now St Kilda)

Gabby O’Sullivan (Fremantle)

Libby Birch (Western Bulldogs, now Melbourne)

Sarah Perkins (Adelaide, now Gold Coast)

Shannon Campbell (Brisbane)

Gemma Houghton (Fremantle)

Aliesha Newman (Melbourne, now Collingwood)

Meg McDonald (Western Bulldogs, now Geelong)