Every fantasy coach loves to find a successful player that no one else has on their radar. These points of difference of POD players are crucial for fantasy success and as we gear up for the start of a new AFLW season, coaches are scouring the GDS platform to try and find a unique talent to start in their team. Your squad will be full of the stars from the W in a perfect scenario, but if you need to get creative here are some players that may be flying under the radar.
Ellie Blackburn, MID, Bulldogs
2022 GDS AVG: 100
Personally, I’m a huge Ellie Blackburn fan. I would go as far as to say she’s my favourite player in the entire W. I swear I’m not being biased by adding her to this list though – her resume speaks for itself. Having been a part of the Western Bulldogs’ AFLW side since their inception, Blackburn has NEVER recorded less than 11 disposals in her 58 career games. The premiership skipper managed to average a triple-figure score last season and I won’t be shocked if she improves on her per-game clip in 2023.
Tahlia Hickie, RUC, Lions 2022 GDS AVG: 71
It’s tricky to determine which ruck you should invest in to start the new fantasy season. There are mainstream names at the top of the pecking order, however, there isn’t too much separating the superstar RUC’s from the rest of the field. Take Lions tall Tahlia Hickie for example. Last season, Hickie ranked 6th at her position for GDS points (71) and hitouts per game (20) while qualifying for the All-Aus squad for the first time in her career. There’s no reason to suggest the 23-year-old won’t ‘level up’ again this year.
Ange Foley, DEF, Power
2022 GDS AVG: 68
Promoted to the role of vice-captain this offseason, we can expect big things from Port Adelaide veteran Ange Foley. Thriving in her first year with the Power in 2022, Foley has provided both SA clubs with plenty of drive out of the backline over a number of years now. She should maintain a similar role for Port in the upcoming campaign, with Foley’s high kick-handball ratio hopefully equating to more scores in the 70-80 range.
Ash Riddell, MID, Kangaroos 2022 GDS AVG: 103
Do you know which AFLW player has had the most disposals in a single game? Anne Hatchard? Madison Prespakis? Perhaps, Ebony Marinoff? Wrong, nope, and incorrect. North Melbourne’s Ash Riddell currently holds the record, helping herself to a whopping 42 disposals (and a GDS score of 151!) back in the final round of 2022. The star Roo remains one of the premier ball-winners in the competition and looms as a fantastic starting MID that other coaches may not consider.
Georgia Garnett, FWD, Giants
2022 GDS AVG: 77
It has taken Georgia Garnett a while to find her feet at GWS, but she should be in line to challenge for the league’s goal-kicking award if her season 7 form is anything to go by. She will have to share the forward 50 with new arrival Isabel Huntington, however, Garnett should still be able to chalk up some healthy scores thanks to her marking prowess. No AFLW player averaged more marks last season and being able to haul in a contested grab helped Garnett score 90+ GDS points in three of her final four games last season.
Alyce Parker, MID, Giants
2022 GDS AVG: 110
I’m not entirely sure why Alyce Parker is being ignored by a portion of the fantasy community. Most prefer to target the other big-name midfielders around GWS’ premier talent, although I wouldn’t be shocked if Parker finished 2023 as one of the top scorers in the entire league. One of the most decorated AFLW players of all time, Parker has claimed four consecutive club best-and-fairest awards and averages 20+ disposals for her career. There’s still time to pounce on the Giants jet before it’s too late.
Sophie Conway, FWD, Lions
2022 GDS AVG: 66
Conway didn’t have the greatest fantasy season last year and if she once again features on a wing for the Lions, we may still see some sporadic scoring. The departure of teammates such as Emily Bates and Greta Bodey opens the door for another Brisbane gun to step up and Conway may be the one who benefits. Her GDS average of 66 last season was 9th among all FWD’s, but there’s a realistic chance that Conway finds more of the footy in 2023, which in turn should see her flirt with a 70+ average.
Amy Smith, DEF, Kangaroos
2022 GDS AVG: 63
A popular adage that often gets thrown around in fantasy circles is “third-year breakout”. The saying often refers to a player entering their third pro season and for a number of reasons they are primed for a leap in production. Enter Amy Smith, North Melbourne’s father-daughter selection who has struggled to find consistency in her 18 career games thus far. If her previous finals campaign is a sign of things to come, then Smith should become more popular in fantasy circles this season. In an elimination final against the Cats she managed to set career-highs for disposals (16) and tackles (17) while leading the game with a GDS score of 120. More of the same please and thank you, Amy.
Abbie McKay, MID, Blues
2022 GDS AVG: 91
Carlton has undergone a ton of change in between seasons, although one thing that remains the same is their elite midfield talent. Mimi Hill probably sits atop the depth chart for the Blues’ engine, but don’t sleep on Abbie McKay who ranked first for tackles and clearances at the club last year. There were only two games last season where McKay scored under 80 GDS points and while she isn’t generating the same amount of hype as some of the top-tier midfielders, the 23-year-old is poised for her best pro season yet.