The 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Draft will take place tonight, and several Tasmanians will be hoping to hear their names called by one of the 14 AFLW teams. With the Tasmania Devils completing a historic NAB League campaign and a handful of players dominating leagues on the mainland, there is plenty of reason for optimism that the league will add to its pool of talented Tasmanians.

The draft will be broadcast live from 6:45 PM and available to watch at womens.afl or via the AFLW app.

Learn more about some of the players that could selected in tonight’s draft, as well as North Melbourne’s Tasmanian connection that could play a big role in where they land.

 

North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos draft zone

The AFLW is still not yet a full-time competition, meaning it’s difficult for players to move across the country for a part-time, six-month contract. For this reason the AFLW Draft is a state-based draft, meaning players are able to nominate for the state in which they wish to be drafted.

As part of this system, Tasmania is designated as a draft zone for North Melbourne, meaning that players residing in the state can nominate to be drafted by the club. If a player does nominate Tasmania, then they will be nominating to be picked up by the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos, meaning both club and player can enter the draft with some certainty. If a Tasmanian player does not nominate through this system, then they can be drafted by clubs elsewhere in the league.

 

Tasmania’s prospects

 

Perri King, Glenorchy/Tasmania Devils

Photo: Solstice Digital

King was one of the most prolific midfielders in the NAB League Girls this season, winning plenty of her own ball while laying the most tackles in the competition. A member of the AFL Women’s Academy and the Allies side at the national championships, she dominated for the Tasmania Devils and averaged 19.7 disposals and 9.4 tackles in the NAB League. She is ready-made to step into senior competition, and she showed as much in a VFLW debut for North Melbourne where she finished with 15 disposals and seven tackles against Essendon. King has the speed and strength to burst away from stoppages with the ball, and after posting an impressive 2km time trial of 8:09 in her draft combine testing she has proven to have a good endurance base as well.

 

Jemma Blair, Old Scotch/Tasmania Devils

Photo: Solstice Digital

Blair owned the half-back line for the Devils this season, distributing the ball efficiently while also locking down defensively. Her numbers don’t always jump off the page, but she is an eye-catching player with the ability to push forward and make plays further afield. It’s those attributes that saw her earn selection for the Allies at the national championships, one of just six Tasmanians to do so. Her physical attributes could make her an attractive prospect for AFLW teams – at 171 centimetres tall she has the size to lock down on opposing forwards, but with pace and agility she can also do plenty of damage in the other direction.

 

Sarah Skinner, Glenorchy/North Melbourne VFLW

Photo: Solstice Digital

Skinner has starred at every level of football throughout her career, and it was no different in a 2021 season where she lit up the VFLW with North Melbourne. In 13 games for the Kangaroos she averaged 19.5 disposals, 4.1 marks and 4.6 tackles per game, displaying a well-rounded skillset through the midfield and forward line. It’s her ability to impact the scoreboard that could set her apart from the rest of the draft’s midfielders – she was the TSLW’s leading goalkicker in 2020, and a three-goal haul while representing the SFLW in the Women’s Statewide All-Stars Series showed that she hasn’t lost that goalkicking touch. Still only 21 years old, Skinner’s game has plenty of upside for AFLW teams.

Ella Maurer, Old Scotch/Tasmania Devils

Photo: Solstice Digital

A hard-nosed inside midfielder, Maurer returned to the Devils as an over-age player and was consistently among their best in a strong season. She played for the Allies at the national championships and excelled there too, averaging 18 disposals, 10.5 contested possessions and six tackles across their two games. With a VFLW debut and selection in the Women’s Statewide All-Stars Team of the Series also to her name, she has proven to be up to the challenge of senior football. AFLW teams looking for a midfielder to do the dirty work at the stoppages should be looking at Maurer on draft night.

Amy Bissett, Ulverstone/Tasmania Devils

Photo: Solstice Digital

Another of Tasmania’s Allies representatives, Bissett is a dangerous half-forward that can push high up the ground when needed. A constant goalkicking threat, she finished with ten goals in the NAB League and had four games with multiple goals. She also proved herself as a reliable ball winner, collecting double-figure disposal numbers on five occasions with a season-high 15 touches in a win against the Northern Knights. Consistent goalkickers are always valuable at any level, and those that can also contribute in other areas are worth their weight in gold. For that reason, Bissett could attract some attention on draft night.

Priscilla Odwogo, Kingborough/Tasmania Devils

Photo: Solstice Digital

AFLW teams in need of a lockdown defender should consider Odwogo, who was a model of consistency in the NAB League this season. Regularly tasked with marking the opposition’s best forward, she played a huge role in a Devils defence that allowed the second-least points in the NAB League among teams that played a full season. She stepped up a level into the VFLW and didn’t look out of place, playing three games for Williamstown, and she was named in Statewide Women’s All-Stars Team of the Series playing for the SFLW. The numbers rarely do her play justice, but Odwogo’s size and mobility could catch the eye of AFLW teams.