AFL 6 months ago

Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFLW Players

  • Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFLW Players

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 4: Katie Brennan of the Bulldogs (left) celebrates with Ellie Blackburn of the Bulldogs during the 2017 AFLW Round 01 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Fremantle Dockers at VU Whitten Oval on February 4, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

With the inaugural AFLW season coming to a close a few weeks ago and with all the awards handed out, I'd thought I would bring out my inaugural top 50 AFLW players of the 2017 season.

Earlier in the year, I wrote an article highlighting 25 women to keep an eye out for ahead of the first-ever women's season. It wasn't too long afterwards that a website dedicated to Women's footy released a top 50 women's players ahead of the 2017, which kinda inspired me to make my own for after the 2017 AFLW season had run it's race.

If you told me at the start of the year that Adelaide and Brisbane would have 16 players between them inside my top 50, I would've laughed it off straight away. Not many people expected either side to be anywhere near the top two, but it's hard to argue that these two sides have been the best two sides throughout the seven-week home and away season.

The Lions, who finished on top of the AFLW ladder at the end of round seven and the only side that had yet tasted defeat, have nine players inside my top 50, yet the highest ranked Lion is neither marquee signing Tayla Harris (18) or Sabrina Fredrick-Traub (9) and it's not their inspirational captain Emma Zielke either (25). I was more captivated by the play of Kate McCarthy throughout this year. Her speed has carved up many a opposition player in such a short period of time and nine goals in eight games doesn't justify how enormous she has been down forward for the Lions this year. Other Lions that are inside the top 50 include defensive generals Sam Virgo (27) and Leah Kaslar (42), exciting players Kaitlyn Ashmore (31) and Jess Wuetschner (47) and Brisbane best and fairest winner Emily Bates (26).

The Crows have the next highest number of players with seven players, including reigning competition best and fairest winner Erin Phillips, who I've ranked as the number one player in the competition – and deservedly so. At 31 years of age, nearing 32 mind you, Olympic silver-medallist Phillips has pretty much done it all in the span of one small season. A premiership player, best and fairest in the Grand Final, AFLW MVP, and a competition best and fairest winner, and it's not hard to see why she's considered among the best female footballers in the land, her ability to come up clutch has been well documented, especially when they are taking out the league's goal of the year award.

Out of the seven players in the top 50, the Crows have four of them inside the top 15. Alongside Phillips, there's the competition's first-ever rising star winner Ebony Marinoff who just made it inside the top 10. She doesn't turn 20 until November, but she has already established herself as one of the game's best inside midfielders today. She led the league in tackles by a country mile, averaging just under 10 per game, and the next best tackler averaged over two tackles less. Adelaide marquee player Chelsea Randall and cult hero Sarah Perkins find themselves unlucky not to be inside the top 10, as both have had outstanding seasons. Randall's versatility was on full show throughout the year as she went from a bona fide midfielder one game to a excellent key defensive role the next game and Perkins' story was told umpteen times throughout the season, but her rise from an undrafted prospect to one of the game's top goal-kickers will go down in footy folklore for many years to come.

So with Phillips' incredible rise as number one, that drops down the inaugural face of Women's Footy – Daisy Pearce, down to number two. The Melbourne marquee signing enjoyed another stellar year, leading the competition in disposals. Along with Elise O'Dea (13) and Karen Paxman,(5) they form a mighty trio in Melbourne's midfield, and perhaps it was the white-hot form of Paxman that ultimately costed her the medal. Paxman was second in the competition for disposals, just behind Pearce, yet finished equal-second in the best and fairest voting. Melbourne's other marquee signing Melissa Hickey (19) just made it inside the top 20 after a stellar year at half-back, but we could see another couple of Demons inside the top 20 in years to come with Lily Mithen (34) and Alyssa Mifsud (28) displaying impressive seasons and are yet to come into their prime.

I know my fellow Bulldogs supporters are wondering how many of our ladies made this top 50, well I can say that whilst there's not as many players in like Brisbane or Adelaide, these five ladies deserved their spots. Although some - mostly Bulldogs outsiders - will question whether or not captain Katie Brennan deserved a spot though, given injuries ruined her first year as the Bulldogs' captain, but her two games showed more than enough for me, but she only gets a spot in the tail end of the top 50, due to her missing a lot of footy. Her stand-in captain though, Ellie Blackburn filled in the role seamlessly, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that she will feature inside the top five. However partner-in-crime Emma Kearney was unfortunate to miss out on being inside the top five. If it wasn't for the contributions of these two ladies, the Bulldogs would've had a much worse season. Hannah Scott (24) displayed a lot of brilliance off half-back this season and Jaimee Lambert (41) overcame injury niggles to feature well in the last couple of games this season

AFLW's reigning goal-kicking champion Darcy Vescio (4) and Carlton team mate Brianna Davey (7) also feature in the top 10, Collingwood marquee Moana Hope had an underwhelming season and suffered from the media hype, but her strong end to the season sees her just outside the top 20, with only key defender Nicola Stevens (17) and fellow marquee Emma King (14) the only Pies ahead of her, with King, the highest of three ruckwomen in the top 50. Fremantle marquee Kara Donnellan was one of only four Dockers to make the top 50, but is considered very unlucky not to crack the top 10 and GWS best and fairest winner Jess Dal Pos (16) is the highest-ranked Giant, with marquee Emma Swanson (22) not too far behind despite the fact she played two less games.

Alex Docherty's Top 50 AFLW Players

50. Bella Ayre – Carlton
Games: 6
Goals: 4
Average Disposals: 3

49. Cat Phillips – Melbourne
Games: 7
Goals: 5
Avg. Disposals: 11.3

48. Meg Hutchins – Collingwood
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 10

47. Jess Wuetschner – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 5
Avg. Disposals: 7.6

46. Renee Tomkins – Greater Western Sydney
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 8

45. Alicia Eva – Collingwood
Games: 7
Goals: 3
Avg. Disposals: 11.3

44. Katie Brennan – Western Bulldogs
Games: 2
Goals: 3
Avg. Disposals: 13

43. Rhiannon Metcalfe – Adelaide
Games: 8
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 6.4
Avg. Hitouts: 17

42. Leah Kaslar – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 7

41. Jaimee Lambert – Western Bulldogs
Games: 6
Goals: 5
Avg. Disposals: 8.2


40. Ebony Antonio – Fremantle
Games: 6
Goals: 2
Avg. Disposals: 11.7

39. Bianca Jakobsson – Carlton
Games: 7
Goals: 4
Avg. Disposals: 9

38. Steph Chiocci – Collingwood
Games: 7
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 9.7

37. Erin McKinnon – Greater Western Sydney
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 3.3
Avg. Hitouts: 21.8

36. Lauren Arnell – Carlton
Games: 7
Goals: 2
Avg Disposals: 12

35. Jess Cameron – Collingwood
Games: 7
Goals: 6
Avg. Disposals: 8.1

34. Lily Mithen – Melbourne
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 16.1


33. Courtney Cramey – Adelaide
Games: 8
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 8.8 

32. Nicola Barr – Greater Western Sydney
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 11.1

31. Kaitlyn Ashmore – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 2
Avg. Disposals: 9.4

30. Kellie Gibson – Adelaide
Games: 8
Goals: 4
Avg. Disposals: 6.8

29. Phoebe McWilliams – Greater Western Sydney
Games: 7
Goals: 7
Avg. Disposals: 6

28. Alyssa Mifsud – Melbourne
Games: 7
Goals: 9
Avg. Disposals: 5.9

27. Sam Virgo – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 9.8

26. Emily Bates – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 15.6

25. Emma Zielke – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 3
Avg. Disposals: 11.5

24. Hannah Scott – Western Bulldogs
Games: 7
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 12.7


23. Dana Hooker – Fremantle
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 17.3

22. Emma Swanson – Greater Western Sydney
Games: 5
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 16.0

21. Moana Hope – Collingwood
Games: 7
Goals: 7
Avg. Disposals: 5.1

20. Lara Filocamo – Fremantle
Games: 7
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 15.3

19. Melissa Hickey – Melbourne
Games: 7
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 11.6

18. Tayla Harris – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 4
Avg. Disposals: 7

17. Nicola Stevens – Collingwood
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 9.6

16. Jess Dal Pos – Greater Western Sydney
Games: 7
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 13.9

15. Sarah Perkins – Adelaide
Games: 8
Goals: 11
Avg. Disposals: 8.6


14. Emma King – Collingwood
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 6
Avg. Hitouts: 28.4

13. Elise O'Dea – Melbourne
Games: 7
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 19.3

12. Chelsea Randall – Adelaide
Games: 8
Goals: 2
Avg. Disposals: 14.1

11. Kara Donnellan – Fremantle
Games: 7
Goals: 4
Avg. Disposals: 16.8

10. Ebony Marinoff – Adelaide
Games: 8
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 16

9. Sabrina Fredrick-Traub – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 6
Avg Disposals: 11.8

8. Kate McCarthy – Brisbane
Games: 8
Goals: 9
Avg. Disposals: 6.1

7. Brianna Davey – Carlton
Games: 6
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 19

6. Emma Kearney – Western Bulldogs
Games: 7
Goals: 0
Avg. Disposals: 21.4


5. Karen Paxman – Melbourne
Games: 7
Goals: 2
Avg. Disposals: 21.7

4. Darcy Vescio – Carlton
Games: 7
Goals: 14
Avg. Disposals: 7

3. Ellie Blackburn – Western Bulldogs
Games: 7
Goals: 6
Avg. Disposals: 19.4

2. Daisy Pearce – Melbourne
Games: 7
Goals: 1
Avg. Disposals: 22

1. Erin Phillips – Adelaide
Games: 8
Goals: 10
Avg. Disposals: 20


Pictures Courtesy Of Getty Images

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