Famous names, internationals and 'The Big Show': Who will be the next rookie list success story?

WHAT DO Erin Phillips, Nat Exon, Yvonne Bonner, Ellie Brush and Chloe Dalton have in common?

All joined the NAB AFLW competition via the rookie list.

Yes, even the two-time AFLW best and fairest Phillips was a rookie in the inaugural season, having crossed from basketball.

Carlton pair Dalton and Brooke Walker added some much-needed speed to the Blues' line-up in 2019, both playing roles in their side's march to the Grand Final.

Ahead of the 2020 season, the 14 AFLW clubs had the option of signing up to three rookies, who must not have been on an Australian Football list for three years.

Some clubs chose not to take up that option, instead deciding to go with players with football experience, while others back themselves in to teach the highly athletic rookies the skills required over summer.

So, who could be the one to bolt from the blue this season?

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Ailish Considine (Ireland): A second season on the rookie list for Considine, whose pace up forward impressed in her first season, kicking three goals from seven games. Originally played Gaelic football and camogie (women's hurling) in Clare, Ireland.

Crow Ailish Considine. Picture: AFL Photos

Maisie Nankivell: On the inactive list after taking up a contract with Super Netball side Adelaide Thunderbirds.


Greta Bodey: A soccer player who has shot through the football ranks at an astonishing rate since picking up the game in Cairns at the start of the year. A midfielder/forward, she is a strong kick with a good run-and-carry game.

Brianna McFarlane: Has been given another season on the rookie list after a pre-season shoulder injury ruled her out for 2019. A tall winger and former soccer player who impressed for NSW/ACT and Eastern Allies as she lived on the border of Queensland.

Lion Brianna McFarlane. Picture: AFL Photos

Orla O'Dwyer (Ireland): O'Dwyer plays both camogie and Gaelic football for Tipperary and is a CrossCoders graduate. Her biggest strengths are her power and speed, and the Lions were impressed with her professionalism in juggling two sports.


Joanne Doonan (Ireland): A Gaelic footballer with Fermanagh, Doonan has clean ball skills and strong athleticism, particularly in relation to speed and endurance. Her leadership skills (she is captain of her side) were also a selling point for the Blues.

Katie Harrison: Following the success of fellow rugby sevens players Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker, Harrison has joined the club after a stint as a development player with the Australian squad. Biggest strengths are speed and endurance, has been training alongside AFL Sydney side Sydney Uni.


Sharni Layton: The former Australian netball captain played six games as a second ruck in her first AFLW season. Has shown great improvement in the VFLW over winter and should continue supporting Eliza Hynes in the centre square.

Magpie Sharni Layton. Picture: AFL Photos

Sarah Rowe (Ireland): A second season beckons for Rowe, whose speed and control impressed on the wing and at half-forward. Plays forward in Gaelic football for County Mayo and has also represented her country in soccer.

Aishling Sheridan (Ireland): A centre half-forward for her Gaelic side Cavan, Sheridan is another CrossCoders graduate. 2020 will be her first AFLW season, but she played two games for VFLW side NT Thunder at the start of this season.


Kate Flood (Ireland): A strongly built forward, playing Gaelic football for Louth, Flood is expected to be a focal point in attack for the Dockers. Has also played premier-level soccer, can kick on both sides and has good pace.

Lindal Rohde: A netballer who has spent this winter playing for WAFLW side Subiaco, Rohde has impressed on the wing. Has clean ball skills and a strong game sense.

Aine Tighe (Ireland): Pronounced "on-ya", Aine will line up in the ruck for the Dockers, given their absence of talls and her height of 185cm. The Gaelic footballer from Leitrim moves exceptionally well for her size.


Maddy McMahon: Second season on the rookie list for McMahon, who made the Virgin Australia AFL Women's All Australian squad in 2019. A former WNBL basketballer, McMahon trialled several positions in the VFLW before settling in defence as a key back. Reads the ball well and has safe hands overhead.

Georgie Rankin: Was on the fringe for most of Geelong's season, playing two games but often named emergency. Has good agility and is a determined player. A former basketballer and great-granddaughter of club legend Teddy Rankin.

Cat Georgie Rankin. Picture: AFL Photos




Taylah Davies: Played two games in her first season for the Giants. A midcourter for the Giants side in the second-tier Australian Netball League, Davies can play as either an inside or outside midfielder. Quick and athletic. The Giants love her work ethic in learning a new sport from scratch.

Giant Taylah Davies. Picture: AFL Photos


Chantel Emonson: Another season on the rookie list for Emonson, who slotted in really well to Melbourne's side in 2019. A dependable half-back flanker who provides good run and a strong kick, Emonson played cricket for Victoria as a junior.

Demon Chantel Emonson. Picture: AFL Photos

Sinead Goldrick: A seven-time Gaelic All Star (equivalent of All Australian), the Dubliner also has a basketball and athletics background. She said running power and tackling are two of her strengths.

Niamh McEvoy: Also from Dublin, McEvoy said her "high catch and fielding (marking) in general" are her most transferrable strengths from Gaelic football. Has played basketball and soccer as a junior.


Aileen Gilroy (Ireland): Plays in defence and through the midfield for her Gaelic football side County Mayo. Like many Irish players, her power and speed are her greatest assets. Has also played junior soccer for Ireland.

Beth Lynch: The sister of Richmond's Tom played three games in her first season on an AFLW list in 2019. A former netballer, Lynch can play on the wing or off half-back. Has clean skills and good athleticism.

Kangaroo Beth Lynch. Picture: AFL Photos

Mairead Seoighe (Ireland): One sure to test the commentators ("Ma-raid Shwoi-gair", or "The Big Show", as the North Melbourne coaching staff are calling her), is a forward for Galway, playing Gaelic football. Another quick and powerful player, Seoighe has also played Australian Football for West Clare in the Irish competition.


Gabby Seymour: In a change of pace, Seymour is a former volleyballer who represented Australia at a junior level and, more recently, Victoria. Played a handful of games for Eastern Region club The Basin before getting the call-up for the Tigers' VFLW side. A ruck with a strong leap and good mobility.




Mhicca Carter: Represented Australia in rugby union, playing as a full-back. A powerful athlete used to working in a professional environment, Carter has good endurance, speed and game sense. She also isn't afraid to lay a tackle or two.

Grace Kelly (Ireland): The elder and taller of the Kelly duo, Grace is a forward for Gaelic side Mayo. The pair have also played for West Clare in the AFL Ireland competition.

Niamh Kelly (Ireland): Niamh (pronounced "Neeve") is the captain of Mayo – the same Gaelic side as sister Grace – where she plays as a midfielder. She is very quick and is a neat user of the ball.


Katy Herron (Ireland): A Gaelic footballer hailing from Donegal, the same side as GWS' Yvonne Bonner, Herron has excellent endurance, especially at high speed. She is also able to kick on both sides.

Danielle Marshall (USA): Has played for Arizona Hawks in the USAFL and impressed during a trial stint with the Dogs' VFLW side this winter. A dangerous forward who can find the goals and can also play in defence if required.

Bulldog Danielle Marshall. Picture: AFL Photos