Sarah Black's Top 30 AFLW players: 25-21

IT BARELY feels like 30 days since the last AFLW top-30 countdown, but two seasons in one year means twice the opportunity to pull a list together.

As always, the criteria is based on form shown in the previous season, with the All-Australian team, club and AFL best and fairest counts providing some guidance.


Feedback was also sought from some club officials and even a player or two themselves.

This pre-season, will reveal the next batch of players every five days (excluding the first out of the blocks).

Apologies in advance for not including every single fan's favourite player, as there are now 540 players to cut down to 30.

Sarah Black's top 30: 25-21

01:58 Aug 4. 2022. 6:00 AM

See which players have taken out the next five spots in Sarah Black's top 30 AFLW players

No.25 DAISY PEARCE (Melbourne) 

Previous rankings: No.9 2021, No.5 2020

Pearce was, unsurprisingly, a key reason behind Melbourne's push to a Grand Final.

Playing predominantly up forward in a one-two punch with Tayla Harris, the skipper kicked 13 goals (including a bag of five against an under-strength Fremantle), averaging 10.8 disposals and 3.8 score involvements.

Her incomparable footy smarts helped stabilise a previously somewhat inconsistent forward line, while she was often thrown behind the footy to help arrest an opposition's momentum or to hold onto a lead in the dying minutes.

Daisy Pearce in action during round 10, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

No.24 EMMA SWANSON (West Coast) 

Previous rankings: N/A

The West Coast skipper has one of the toughest jobs in the AFLW, leading one of the most inexperienced sides, but there's no denying the passion and ferocity with which she plays.

Swanson had an outstanding 2022 campaign, averaging 22.2 disposals (the next best Eagle was Dana Hooker with 16.2), 11.1 contested possessions, 4.7 tackles and 4.1 marks.

A strong ball-winner with an impeccable work-rate, Swanson leads from the front in consistent, four-quarter performances.

Emma Swanson in action during round two, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

No.23 KERRYN PETERSON (Carlton, née Harrington) 

Previous rankings: No.14 2021

Peterson was at her imperious best in the first season of 2022, finishing second in Carlton's best and fairest and named in the All-Australian team.

The general in defence, Peterson is capable of playing on both tall and smalls and is a valuable source of rebound for the Blues.

She averaged 14.3 disposals (fifth overall for Carlton) at 81.1 per cent efficiency, 4.1 intercepts, 3.5 marks and 3.1 rebound 50s.

Kerryn Harrington leads Carlton out onto the field during round seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

No.22 TYLA HANKS (Melbourne)

Previous rankings: No.13 2022 S6

Small in stature but not in heart, Hanks continued to emerge as a key linking player through Melbourne's star-studded midfield.

Averaging 17.2 disposals, 233.2m gained, 3.0 score involvements and 2.3 inside 50s, Hanks followed up her 2021 NAB AFLW Rising Star year in style.

She finished third in the Demons' strong best and fairest count and opposition clubs saw shutting down Hanks' drive out of the middle as a key plank in beating the team.

Tyla Hanks in action during round 10, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

No.21 RUBY SCHLEICHER (Collingwood) 

Previous rankings: No.19 2022 S6

Schleicher backed up her breakout season with a second All-Australian guernsey, finishing second in Collingwood's best and fairest.

Once again, her strong drive from defence was a barometer for the Pies, able to cut through the middle of the ground and open up a game with neat passes at full speed.

Schleicher averaged 18.0 disposals, 292.8m gained, 7.2 intercept possessions and 4.9 marks in 2022.

Ruby Schleicher in action during the qualifying final between Collingwood and Brisbane on March 27, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


No.30 Ashleigh Woodland (Adelaide)
No.29 Tilly Lucas-Rodd (Hawthorn, St Kilda in season six)
No.28 Breann Moody (Carlton)
No.27 Mimi Hill (Carlton)
No.26 Tayla Harris (Melbourne)

SARAH BLACK'S TOP 30 Crows spearhead nabs 30th spot