IT MAY be December, but round one of the 2022 NAB AFLW season is just around the corner.
womens.afl has put its selector's hat on and attempted to predict just who will be running out for your side in the first game of the season.
Long-term injured players have not been included and have been noted in the explanation under each 21.
*players in italics are new to the club.
Friday, January 7
St Kilda v Richmond, Skybus Stadium, 7.15pm AEDT
B: Hannah Priest, Bianca Jakobsson
HB: Jayde Van Dyk, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Kate McCarthy
C: Cat Phillips, Rosie Dillon, Molly McDonald
HF: Darcy Guttridge, Nicola Xenos, Jacqui Vogt
F: Caitlin Greiser, Kate Shierlaw
Foll: Rhi Watt, Tarni White, Liv Vesely
I/C: Alice Burke, Isabella Shannon, Leah Cutting, Jess Matin, Tahlia Meyer
All eyes will be on the midfield, if as expected, Georgia Patrikios doesn't play. The return of Liv Vesely (season-long calf injury) somewhat offsets the loss of Tyanna Smith (ACL), while Tarni White has shifted from defence to the midfield. Nicola Xenos returns from a torn ACL, while Kate McCarthy has moved to the half-back flank. The Saints are keen to include new ruck Leah Cutting in the 21. Nat Exon missed the practice match, but is a first-21 player when fit, while draftees Ash Richards and Ella Friend will be on the edge of selection.
B: Bec Miller, Harriet Cordner
HB: Sarah D'Arcy, Jess Hosking, Tessa Lavey
C: Hannah Burchell, Sarah Hosking, Meagan Kiely
HF: Courtney Wakefield, Katie Brennan, Kodi Jacques
F: Tayla Stahl, Stella Reid
Foll: Gabby Seymour, Ellie McKenzie, Monique Conti
I/C: Sarah Sansonetti, Kate Dempsey, Poppy Kelly, Sophie Molan, Maddy Brancatisano
A difficult 21 to select due to a number of nagging injuries that could affect round one selection. Stella Reid looks set to take the forward role vacated by Sabrina Frederick, while Poppy Kelly will cover Frederick's ruck duties. If Jess Hosking's shoulder has recovered in time, she'll slot into the backline following the delisting of Phoebe Monahan. Meagan Kiely starred in the practice match, adding some much-needed midfield depth. Christina Bernardi and Maddie Shevlin will be in the mix, injury permitting, while Emelia Yassir showed some promising signs in the practice match.
Saturday, January 8
North Melbourne v Geelong, Arden Street Oval, 5.10pm AEDT
B: Danielle Hardiman, Nicole Bresnehan
HB: Jess Duffin, Tahlia Randall, Aileen Gilroy
C: Kaitlyn Ashmore, Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton
HF: Daisy Bateman, Bella Eddey, Daria Bannister
F: Sophie Abbatangelo, Emma King
Foll: Kim Rennie, Jasmine Garner, Ash Riddell
I/C: Ellie Gavalas, Mia King, Grace Campbell, Sarah Wright, Jasmine Ferguson
Minimal changes at North Melbourne, but one which could have a big impact. Former Bulldog Kim Rennie comes into the ruck, taking the departed Viv Saad's spot in the 21. A stronger ruck than Saad, she'll allow Emma King to spend more time up forward. Mature-age draftee Jasmine Ferguson has performed strongly over pre-season and should take the defensive role left vacant by Jasmine Grierson. The club's top draftee Tess Craven could also be in the mix, but midfield roles are hard to come by at North Melbourne. The versatile Britt Gibson is working her way back from a serious hamstring injury.
B: Chantel Emonson, Maddy McMahon
HB: Jordan Ivey, Meg McDonald, Maddy Keryk
C: Georgie Rankin, Becky Webster, Amy McDonald
HF: Danielle Higgins, Phoebe McWilliams, Chloe Scheer
F: Rachel Kearns, Kate Darby
Foll: Olivia Fuller, Nina Morrison, Georgie Prespakis
I/C: Julia Crockett-Grills, Sophie Van De Heuvel, Annabel Johnson, Darcy Moloney, Olivia Barber
One of the toughest 21s to pick after turning over nearly a third of its list. Recruits Chantel Emonson and Chloe Scheer are walk-up starts, while Nina Morrison offsets the loss of Liv Purcell. Kate Darby – returning after having a baby – slots into the forward role left vacant by Richelle Cranston, while former VFLW Cat Olivia Fuller takes on the retired Aasta O'Connor's ruck role. Top pick Georgie Prespakis fits straight in, with Renee Garing missing due to pregnancy, while Irishwoman Rachel Kearns is set to feature up forward. Georgia Clarke and Laura Gardiner could also be in the mix.
Western Bulldogs v Melbourne, VU Whitten Oval, 7pm AEDT
B: Naomi Ferres, Ellyse Gamble
HB: Ash Guest, Katie Lynch, Eleanor Brown
C: Bailey Hunt, Ellie Blackburn, Elle Bennetts (Berry)
HF: Nell Morris-Dalton, Izzy Huntington, Brooke Lochland
F: Bonnie Toogood, Kirsten McLeod
Foll: Celine Moody, Jess Fitzgerald (Newton), Kirsty Lamb
I/C: Richelle Cranston, Alice Edmonds, Hannah Scott, Sarah Hartwig, Amanda Ling
Another side that has been hit by a series of minor injuries this pre-season, making selection difficult this far out from round one. Deanna Berry (ACL) and Gabby Newton (shoulder) definitely aren't available, opening the door for recruit Elle Bennetts, as well as Jess Fitzgerald to take on more midfield time. The Dogs regularly play two rucks, meaning Alice Edmonds comes in for the departed Kim Rennie, while delisted free agent Richelle Cranston should add some grunt to the forward line. Elisabeth Georgostathis, Gemma Lagioia, Aurora Smith and new defender Issy Grant will also be in the mix if injuries linger.
B: Libby Birch, Gabby Colvin
HB: Sarah Lampard, Brenna Tarrant, Sinead Goldrick
C: Eliza McNamara, Maddi Gay, Shelley Heath
HF: Kate Hore, Tayla Harris, Shelley Scott
F: Jackie Parry, Daisy Pearce
Foll: Lauren Pearce, Karen Paxman, Tyla Hanks
I/C: Lily Mithen, Casey Sherriff, Alyssa Bannan, Eliza West, Lauren Magee
Star recruit Tayla Harris will walk into the retired Tegan Cunningham's role in attack. Rookie Eliza West had a breakout VFLW season and should be in the mix for the round one team. The departure of Chantel Emonson should open up more regular game time for Lauren Magee and Brenna Tarrant. Olivia Purcell (ACL) won't be ready to play for at least a few weeks, while expect Megan Fitzsimon and Krstel Petrevski to be in the mix.
Fremantle v Adelaide, Fremantle Oval, 5.50pm AWST
B: Ange Stannett, Janelle Cuthbertson
HB: Matilda Sergeant, Emma O'Driscoll, Laura Pugh
C: Ebony Antonio, Jasmine Stewart, Steph Cain
HF: Kara Antonio, Roxy Roux, Gabby O'Sullivan
F: Gemma Houghton, Aine Tighe
Foll: Mim Strom, Kiara Bowers, Hayley Miller
I/C: Bianca Webb, Tiah Toth, Philipa Seth, Sarah Verrier, Airlie Runnalls
Fremantle traditionally has a very settled team, last year using just 24 players, with 18 of those playing all 10 games. The forward line is the most intriguing, with Sabreena Duffy (work) and Ash Sharp (pregnancy) both unavailable in 2022. Tall Irish forward Aine Tighe is itching for a debut after two years of knee injuries, while draftee Airlie Runnalls has impressed this summer. Expect Mikayla Hyde, Makaela Tuhakaraina and Amy Franklin to also be in the mix.
B: Dayna Cox, Marijana Rajcic
HB: Najwa Allen, Sarah Allan, Stevie-Lee Thompson
C: Nikki Gore, Ebony Marinoff, Eloise Jones
HF: Rachelle Martin, Danielle Ponter, Chelsea Randall
F: Jasmyn Hewett, Ashleigh Woodland
Foll: Caitlin Gould, Erin Phillips, Anne Hatchard
I/C: Ailish Considine, Hannah Button, Justine Mules, Teah Charlton, Lisa Whiteley
There will be a few changes made to the 21 that played off for the Grand Final in 2021. Rhiannon Metcalfe (work) is unavailable this coming season, leaving Caitlin Gould best-placed to assume first ruck duties and Jasmyn Hewett to slot into a forward-ruck role. Ange Foley (ACL) will not play this season, and there isn't a clear replacement, with defender Lisa Whiteley given the nod here – but Chelsea Randall is more than capable of playing in the backline. As it stands, given Chloe Scheer is now at Geelong, Randall has been named forward. Nikki Gore is fully recovered from her fractured ankle, taking the spot of Deni Varnhagen (inactive due to vaccination refusal).
Sunday, January 9
Carlton v Collingwood, Ikon Park, 4.10pm AEDT
B: Kerryn Harrington, Charlotte Wilson
HB: Mua Laloifi, Gab Pound, Jess Dal Pos
C: Lauren Brazzale, Abbie McKay, Brooke Walker
HF: Darcy Vescio, Charlotte Hammans, Georgia Gee
F: Nicola Stevens, Elise O'Dea
Foll: Breann Moody, Maddy Prespakis, Grace Egan
I/C: Nat Plane, Lucy McEvoy, Jess Good, Annie Lee, Maddy Guerin
There are a few spots up for grabs at Carlton after a busy trade period. Jess Good takes the vacant second ruck role, while the Blues have flagged they will be opting for a smaller forward line in the absence of Tayla Harris. Brooke Walker will be a welcome inclusion after missing most of 2021 with a foot injury, while Jess Dal Pos slots into the backline. She can also rotate through the middle, creating room for draftee Annie Lee. Mimi Hill (ACL) will be unavailable for at least the first few rounds.
B: Lauren Butler, Ash Brazill
HB: Ruby Schleicher, Stacey Livingstone, Jordyn Allen
C: Steph Chiocci, Jaimee Lambert, Sarah Rowe
HF: Aishling Sheridan, Sophie Alexander, Ebony O'Dea
F: Chloe Molloy, Sabrina Frederick
Foll: Alison Downie, Brianna Davey, Britt Bonnici
I/C: Mikala Cann, Alana Porter, Tarni Brown, Erica Fowler, Eloise Chaston
It's looking like a very difficult round one side to break into. The tall forward situation is the most interesting, with Sabrina Frederick, Sophie Alexander and Imogen Barnett all in the mix for probably two spots. Recruit Alison Downie walks into the No.1 ruck role left vacant by the retired Sharni Norder. The Pies have been super impressed with the form and hard work of draftee Eloise Chaston, and a full-strength backline just squeezes Sophie Casey out. Young winger Joanna Lin (shoulder) is unavailable for the early rounds of the season.
Gold Coast v GWS Giants, Great Barrier Reef Arena, 5.10pm AEST
B: Dee Heslop, Jade Pregelj
HB: Bess Keaney, Lauren Ahrens, Kalinda Howarth
C: Serene Watson, Ali Drennan, Daisy D'Arcy
HF: Tara Bohanna, Jamie Stanton, Charlie Rowbottom
F: Sarah Perkins, Tori Groves-Little
Foll: Lauren Bella, Kate Surman, Hannah Dunn
I/C: Vivien Saad, Alana Barba, Cheyenne Hammond, Claudia Whitfort, Lucy Single
Quite a few changes for the wooden-spooners, through a combination of delistings and unavailability. Tara Bohanna takes the role of Maddi Levi (rugby), with No.1 pick Charlie Rowbottom rotating between forward and midfield. There have been big raps over the pre-season form of Alana Barba and Claudia Whitfort, while Vivien Saad is a versatile tall. Kalinda Howarth has been earmarked for a defensive role this year, while there's an injury cloud over Lauren Ahrens (foot). Jacqui Yorston (ACL) is a walk-up start if fully fit, but wasn't named for the practice game. Britt Perry is the most experienced player who would also be in the mix.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
B: Jasmine Grierson, Georgia Garnett
HB: Pepa Randall, Annalyse Lister, Louise Stephenson
C: Chloe Dalton, Lisa Steane, Alicia Eva
HF: Haneen Zreika, Jess Doyle, Tait Mackrill
F: Cora Staunton, Bec Privitelli
Foll: Erin McKinnon, Alyce Parker, Katie Loynes
I/C: Tanya Hetherington, Ally Morphett, Bec Beeson, Katherine Smith, Brodee Mowbray
Recruits Jasmine Grierson, Chloe Dalton and Katie Loynes should all be in the Giants' 21 for round one, with Jess Dal Pos, Elle Bennetts and Britt Tully having departed the club. Ally Morphett is a straight swap for inactive ruck Jess Allan. Draftee Jess Doyle should slot into the forward line, but the last position in the team is difficult to pick. Brodee Mowbray may get the nod as a midfielder, but Brid Stack, Ally Dallaway and Casidhe Simmons could also be in the mix. Tarni Evans (foot) and Nicola Barr (shoulder) are looking unlikely for round one.
West Coast v Brisbane, Mineral Resources Park, 5.10pm AWST
B: Amber Ward, Evie Gooch
HB: Ashton Hill, Tayla Bresland, Dana Hooker
C: Charlie Thomas, Aisling McCarthy, Mikayla Bowen
HF: Aimee Schmidt, Imahra Cameron, Niamh Kelly
F: Andrea Gilmore, Grace Kelly
Foll: Parris Laurie, Emma Swanson, Bella Lewis
I/C: Melissa Caulfield, Hayley Bullas, Kellie Gibson, Belinda Smith, Sarah Lakay
West Coast's depth improved significantly over the off-season and, when coupled with very few injuries for the first time, makes for a tough 21 to break into. Top draftee Charlie Thomas is straight in onto the wing, with Dana Hooker looking likely to play off half-back. Evie Gooch takes the key back spot of the delisted Chantella Perera, while Sarah Lakay comes in as second ruck in place of Alicia Janz. Sophie McDonald, Courtney Rowley, Courtney Guard and Maddy Collier are among those who would also be in contention.
B: Phoebe Monahan, Shannon Campbell
HB: Kate Lutkins, Nat Grider, Breanna Koenen
C: Orla O'Dwyer, Cathy Svarc, Sophie Conway
HF: Greta Bodey, Dakota Davidson, Gabby Collingwood
F: Jesse Wardlaw, Courtney Hodder
Foll: Tahlia Hickie, Ally Anderson, Emily Bates
I/C: Indy Tahau, Jade Ellenger, Belle Dawes, Jess Wuetschner, Taylor Smith
The reigning premiers are unlikely to make many changes at all to the 21 who took out the flag against Adelaide. Emma Zielke's retirement should pave the way for former Tiger Phoebe Monahan to make her Brisbane debut, but Lauren Arnell's spot is much harder to pick. There are a number of forward/midfielders who could do the job, but Gabby Collingwood is arguably the most senior and is on the comeback trail from an ACL. Bella Smith, Luka Yoshida-Martin, Mikayla Pauga and Maggie Harmer could all be in the mix.