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2021 AFLW Draft: All you need to know

THE NAB AFLW Draft is fast approaching, with just under two weeks remaining until the big night.

THE NAB AFLW Draft is fast approaching, with just under two weeks remaining until the big night.

Like in 2020, the draft will be an evening 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.

When is it?

The draft will be held on Tuesday, July 27 at 6.45pm AEST. Like last year, it will be a studio show, hosted by Nat Edwards, Sarah Black and Melissa Hickey.

How can I watch it?

All the action will be streamed through womens.afl and the AFLW Official App.

How will clubs lodge their selections?

Like both last year's event and this year's NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft, clubs will be on a call facilitated through the AFL Review Centre (or the ARC). Once a pick is made, it will be announced to the public through a studio show. 

What picks does my team have?

The Bulldogs hold picks 22, 25, 27 and 43 overall (Victorian picks 13, 15, 17 and 26). As has been the case for the last couple of years, clubs will have at least three selections in the draft. With clubs able to continue to sign rookies, the current draft order is here. If they choose, they can pass on their final selection (or two) and selected an undrafted free agent from another state.

How has Gold Coast ended up with pick No.1?

For the first time in a few years, there was a single ladder employed across the season, instead of separate conferences. The initial draft order is created off the back of the reverse ladder order (Gold Coast finishing 14th), with changes then made throughout the AFLW Sign and Trade Period.

What is a state-based draft, and why is it in use?

The AFLW is still not yet a full-time competition, meaning it's difficult for players to move across the country for a part-time, six-month contract. Players nominate for the state in which they wish to be drafted. It's not always their home state, occasionally if players have received a guarantee from an interstate club they will be drafted, they nominate there.

What about the Northern Territory and Tasmania?

Gold Coast and North Melbourne have alliances with the Northern Territory and Tasmania respectively, although players from those regions do not necessarily have to nominate for those particular draft pools.

The NAB AFLW Combine is held before the draft. What and when is it?

The Combine brings together some of the best prospects at state-based events around the country. Players must be nominated by clubs in order to be invited, and undergo a series of tests. It will be held over the weekend of July 17 and 18*.

What are clubs looking for at the Combine?

Undergoing tests such as vertical jump, agility run, 20m sprint and 2km time trial, the Combine provides a good comparison point between some of the top players. Clubs often already have pretty set opinions about prospective draftees, but results can also play into their final decisions.

Given last year's alterations, how did this year's NAB AFLW Under-19 Championships play out?

Compared to last year's revamped, intrastate games, this year's Championships were relatively straightforward. Queensland was the unlucky state, missing out on the big week of matches in Victoria (originally scheduled for the Gold Coast). The northerners managed to complete one make-up game against Vic Country, but their match against Vic Metro was ultimately cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Who should my team draft?

There's plenty of options, especially in a particularly even Victorian draft pool. We've profiled some of the top prospects in our hub.

What about father-daughter selections?

If their father played at least one VFL/AFL game, players are able to join the same club through a nomination and bidding process. If a bid is placed on a nominee by a rival club, the "home" club must match with its next available draft pick, if it wishes. Successful bids will be announced before the draft, but the selection used on that player will not be revealed until the draft.

*Dates subject to change given current COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria.

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