2021 NAB AFLW Draft: Queensland’s Top Prospects Part One

There’s only one week left until the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft, which will take place next Tuesday, July 27th.  Like 2020, the draft will be a virtual affair, with players tuning in from around the country to find out if they’ve been successful in their quest to join an AFLW list.

Queensland clubs Brisbane and Gold Coast hold five and four picks respectively;

Gold Coast SUNS have picks 1, 6, 8, 30 and 51.

Brisbane Lions have picks 18, 35, 50 and 64.

The Suns are unable to trade pick No.1, with the first five draft picks in this year’s NAB AFLW Draft protected due to rules made by the AFL surrounding the clubs given priority selections. Gold Coast will also have access to two mature-age players from Queensland prior to the draft.

In part one of our NAB AFL Draft preview, we look at the top Queensland prospects vying for a spot in the AFLW.

Junior club: Burleigh Bombers / Broadbeach Cats

Gold Coast SUNS Academy

Date of Birth: 14/08/03

Height: 169cm

The younger sister of Gold Coast SUNS player Maddi, Teagan Levi is easily one of the most impressive draft prospects this year. An outstanding athlete who juggles her football with rugby sevens, Levi has come through the AFL Queensland female pathway. She first played footy at Burleigh where she was a part of the U15s and U17s premiership winning sides, she followed that up with another U17 flag at Broadbeach, before joining coast powerhouse club Bond University. She’s a product of school footy too; attending AFL Queensland School of Excellence Miami State High School and was part of their winning 2019 side in the AFLQ Schools Cup, Senior Female Division. A game where she was also named best on ground.

A taller midfielder, Levi has elite speed, agility, and sure hands around stoppages. Her skills were on show at the weekend’s Queensland’s NAB AFLW Draft Combine where she scored second place (out of 10 Queenslanders) in the ability and 20m sprint. Her jump of 62cm in the standing vertical jump broke the national record, before fellow Queenslander Madison Goodwin went two centimetres better.

While her running vertical left foot jump (70cm) was equal fifth all-time, just five centimetres short of sister Maddi’s all-time record.

With Gold Coast SUNS holding the prized number one selection in this year’s draft, we would not be surprised if Teagan is a top pick. The SUNS have three of the first four Queensland-based selections and can select anyone who nominates all of Queensland.

Junior club: Maroochydore Roos

Brisbane Lions Academy

Date of Birth: 10/4/2003

Height: 161cm

Mikayla Pauga is another one of Queensland’s leading prospects for the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft. Splitting her time between forward and midfield she uses her clean hands, strength in the air and explosive plays help create scoring opportunities.

Playing most of her junior footy for the Roo’s, Paunga made the move to Bond University after earning the prestigious Riewoldt Family AFL Excellence Scholarship. The Brisbane Lions Academy member had an outstanding 2021 QAFLW season kicking 14 goals in her 10 appearances and playing a pivotal role in the Bull Sharks successful run to the finals.

She scored well at the QLD NAB AFLW Draft Combine, placing third in the agility, 20m sprint and running vertical jump, right foot. With an incredible footy IQ Pauga is a strong prospect in this year’s draft and definitely one to watch. 

Junior club: Noosa Tigers

Brisbane Lions Academy

Date of Birth: 5/10/2003

Height: 166cm

A Sunshine Coast local and Noosa junior, Bella Smith is a dynamic and composed midfielder who can play in a variety of roles. She hunts the ball, tackles, and runs hard.

Her strength, smart decision making and speed around stoppages gives her a big advantage over her opponents and made her a standout for Maroochydore during the 2021 QAFLW season. She also impressed during the AFL Women’s U19 Championship game against Vic Country racking up 14 disposals.

She ran the 2km time trial in 8.33min at the weekend’s NAB AFLW Draft Combine, to be the third fastest Queenslander on the track. A Brisbane Lions Academy prospect, Smith’s game smarts are sure to get the attention of recruiters and translate well at the next level.

Junior club: Wilston Grange

Brisbane Lions Academy

Date of Birth: 12/04/2003

Height: 162cm

Wilston Grange’s Abby Hewett is a surprise package and has definitely become one to watch. The small, hardworking midfielder was a standout during the AFL Women’s U19 Championship against Vic Country with 16 disposals, eight tackles and eight clearances in the midfield. Throughout the 2021 QAFLW season she showed her versatility both in the midfield and up forward. She has a great goal sense, strong pressure, clean kicks and an incredible work rate.

Hewett achieved a top result at the recent NAB AFLW Draft Combine, leading from the front the entire 2km time trial and finishing with a time of 8.19min, stamping her spot in this year’s draft race.

Junior club: Coffs Harbour Breakers

Gold Coast SUNS Academy

Date of Birth: 8/06/2003

Height: 177cm

Born and raised over the border in Coffs Harbour, Casey Wynne started playing football with the Breakers playing with the boys until 2018 when she became a founding member of the clubs’ youth girls team. Whilst a member of the Breakers, Wynne represented the North Coast Force, was a member of the North Coast Academy of Sport and gained selection in the NSW All Schools Under 15 team. She moved to the Gold Coast in 2019 to pursue her footy dream, attending boarding school and playing for the Southport Sharks. 2021 was her breakout year; joining the  Coolangatta Tweed Bluebirds which led to inclusion in the Gold Coast Suns Academy and a place in the Queensland team for the 2021 NAB AFLW Under 19 National Championships. The 177cm centre halfback plays a strong contested brand of football, she is explosive out of the contest, restricts her opposition at every opportunity, and reads the play well.

Please note these opinions are of the author and not of the AFL clubs and/or their academies. 

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