Sarah Black's Top 30 AFLW players: 15-11

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: 15-11

01:56 Aug 14. 2022. 6:00 AM

See which players round out the top 20 of Sarah Black's top 30 AFLW players

No.15 ORLA O'DWYER (Brisbane) 

Previous rankings: N/A

O'Dwyer's steady improvement over her years in the AFLW took a rapid turn for the better in 2022, stamping her claim as the premier winger in the competition.

The first Irish player to be named All-Australian, she finished equal-seventh in Brisbane's best and fairest, such was the tightness and strength of the club's count.

Her endurance and speed make her a difficult opponent to shut down for all four quarters, averaging 14.4 disposals, 325.3m gained and 3.9 inside 50s a match in 2022.

Lions bite back with O'Dwyer magic

00:48 Mar 13. 2022. 3:54 PM

Orla O'Dwyer gave the Lions a much-needed goal against the grain and produced with this running finish

No.14 NAT GRIDER (Brisbane) 

Previous rankings: N/A

Arguably one of the most consistent players in the competition, Grider made the half-back role her own in 2022.

The 21-year-old looks likely to be a star of the competition for the next decade, averaging 13.8 disposals at 71.5 per cent efficiency, 7.3 intercept possessions and 6.8 contested possessions.

Named All-Australian and finishing fifth in Brisbane's best and fairest, Grider reads the play beautifully, is a strong one-on-one competitor and kickstarts the Lions' attack from half-back.

Nat Grider poses during Brisbane's official team photo day on August 9, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

No.13 KATIE BRENNAN (Richmond) 

Previous rankings: No.20 2022 S6, No.12 2020

The Richmond skipper is simply the most consistent key forward in the competition, having kicked at least one goal a game for her past 15 matches (and counting).

Booting 14 majors from her nine games in 2022, Brennan averaged 10.8 disposals, 4.0 score involvements and 3.3 marks in 2022.

She was named at centre half-forward in the All-Australian team and finished fourth in Richmond's best and fairest count.

If anyone can, Brennan can

00:46 Feb 6. 2022. 2:01 PM

Tigers star Katie Brennan showcases all her class with this superb mark and finish

No.12 EMMA KEARNEY (North Melbourne) 

Previous rankings: No.11 2022 S6, No.5 2021, No.2 2020

Kearney took to her new role at half-back like a duck to water, providing an incredible amount of run and drive, to the point teams started deploying a defensive forward to shut her down.

The North Melbourne skipper was named captain of the All-Australian side, having been named in the team for a record sixth straight time.

Finishing third in the Roos' best and fairest, Kearney averaged 19.1 disposals at 73.8 per cent efficiency, 323.2m gained and 7.2 intercept possessions.

Emma Kearney poses during North Melbourne's official team photo day on July 30, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

No.11 BRIT BONNICI (Collingwood)

Previous rankings: No.8 2022 S6

While her season was cruelled by a torn ACL in round eight, Bonnici had produced a stellar campaign up until that point.

Despite missing the final two matches of the season, she finished equal-seventh in the AFLW best and fairest and fourth in her own club's count.

Bonnici's work rate and two-way running is second to none, averaging 19.0 disposals, 322/5m gained, 5.5 tackles and 3.3 clearances this year.

Bonnici caps off huge game with impressive goal

00:38 Feb 13. 2022. 4:55 PM

Britanny Bonnici gets a deserved goal after playing a key role in the match


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)
No.25 Daisy Pearce (Melbourne)
No.24 Emma Swanson (West Coast)
No.23 Kerryn Peterson (Carlton)
No.22 Tyla Hanks (Melbourne)
No.21 Ruby Schleicher (Collingwood)
No.20 Erin Phillips (Port Adelaide, Adelaide in season six)
No.19 Maddy Prespakis (Carlton)
No.18 Lauren Pearce (Melbourne)
No.17 Sarah Allan (Adelaide)
No.16 Kirsty Lamb (Western Bulldogs)

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