The AFLW’s breakout stars to watch in season seven

Fremantle's Sarah Verrier will be one to look out for in the upcoming AFLW season. (Image: Fremantle Football Club Website).

The AFLW looks set to begin with a bang when season seven commences in August.

Every season, the competition has seen a number of emerging talents coming through the ranks to become stars of the AFLW. The upcoming season looks set to become the biggest yet.

With the introduction of four new teams, there’s no doubt that fans will once again be treated with impressive performances from many young names, who will be set for career-defining campaigns.

So who could be your club’s breakout star for season seven?

Adelaide

Teah Charlton

Adelaide’s rising talent Teah Charlton is one to watch out for in the upcoming season.

Since making her debut in 2021, the 20-year-old midfielder has shown improvement in the two seasons which make up her AFLW career so far. With a premiership already under her belt and a 2022 campaign that impressed, Charlton would no doubt be looking to elevate her game to even greater heights.

In season six Charlton’s performance on the field saw her averaging 11.7 disposals, 6.3 kicks, 5.5 handballs and 4.7 tackles as she appeared in every game. Her best was seen against Fremantle in round eight where she made 18 disposals during the match.

Charlton was up on all her averages she made in her debut year. Should she continue further her good form, then Charlton can expect to breakout this year.

Teah Charlton. (Image: @TheRunHomeSENSA Twitter)

Brisbane

Belle Dawes

The midfielder has already made a strong impression since beginning her AFLW career in 2020. Now at 21 years of age, Dawes already has three seasons under her belt, is a premiership player and was a rising star nominee this year.

Since her debut, Dawes has recently found more consistency in her game appearances. In the last season, she missed only two games. She played a prominent part in her side’s qualifying final against Collingwood where she made 16 disposals and 10 kicks.

Given her successes so far in the league, Dawes looks set to take her game even further in the upcoming AFLW season.

Belle Dawes. (Image: Brisbane Lions Website)

Carlton

Daisy Walker

The 20-year-old has gone from strength to strength since cementing her spot in senior side. After a handful of games under her belt in her debut year, Walker soon found herself making an appearance in every game during Carlton’s 2022 campaign.

When it comes to the statistics, the defender can be seen only going upwards .Last season, Walker had a classy display with the season averages of 10.1 disposals, 5.7 kicks, 4.4 handballs and 3.2 handballs, which saw her earn the coaches’ award.

With a career-best against the Gold Coast Suns that saw her gather 14 disposals in round nine of last season, it’s predicted that Walker will create an even bigger splash in season seven.

Daisy Walker. (Image: Carlton Football Club Website)

Collingwood

Jordyn Allen

Though she made her debut for the Pies back in 2019, Allen has began to find her feet as she played more games in 2022 than previous seasons.

Coming off the back of season six, her best season yet, Allen looks to be one of rising stars of the competition. The Collingwood talent is up on all her averages from 2021 and really showcased her talent this year when her side went up against Adelaide in round nine. During that match, she had a career high of disposals with 15. She also had a high of 10 kicks and 7 marks.

With the pre-season well underway, it’s predicted that Allen is set to have another stellar season.

Jordyn Allen. (Image: Collingwood Football Club Website)

Essendon

Eloise Ashley-Cooper

If her track record is anything to go by, then Ashley-Cooper is looking to make a statement when Essendon begin their first season in the AFLW.

The 21-year-old would be familiar as she has been a prominent part of the club’s VFLW side. A reigning Best and Fairest winner in the VFLW, she dazzled on the field as she averaged 14.9 disposals, 8.6 kicks and 6.3 handballs per game during the season.

Versatility is a key component for the footballer and a trait that she has in spades, remaining influential in both the backline and midfield.

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Fremantle

Sarah Verrier

Sarah Verrier enjoyed a dream start to her AFLW career.

In her debut year, the now 19-year-old made her mark in the competition and was named her side’s best first-year player and played in every game. Following on from season six, she impressed with the averages of 12.6 disposals and 10.4 kicks. A former player with Peel during her time in the WAFL, saw an increase in her statistics.

In 2022, Verrier saw an spike in the numbers she produced whilst at Fremantle. Across the entire season she had 125 kicks overall, which was up by 85 from her 2021, whilst she had 151 disposals (up by 87 from her total in 2021).

Verrier will head into the new season looking to elevate her game further as it looks likely that her breakout moment can emerge in August.

Sarah Verrier. (Image: Fremantle Football Club Website)

Geelong

Rebecca Webster

Her impact on field is significant, particularly in her side’s loss against the Giants where she also bagged a goal last season and had 13 disposals.

Since making her debut for the Cats back in 2019, the defender has seen a vast improvement in her footballing during last season, which is where played every game. As the 21-year-old gets more experience under her belt, she’ll sure be a future star in the competition.

In the most recent AFLW season, Webster averaged 16.8 disposals, 8.1 kicks, 8,7 kicks and 6.3 tackles per game. Capping off her stellar season, she was named the rising star nominee in round four for her standout performance in Geelong’s battle against St Kilda.

Rebecca Webster. (Image: Geelong Football Club Website)

Gold Coast

Ellie Hampson

Since she made her debut for the Suns back in 2020, she has shown glimpses of what she can do throughout her time so far in the team.

She made a strong start with the side in her debut year. But Hampson was forced out on the sidelines as a result of a foot injury in 2021 and only managed to play one game. As 2022 rolled around, the defender began to get more games under her belt, which saw an improvement in her stats. During the sixth season of the competition, she averaged 11.3 disposals, seven kicks, 4.3 handballs and 4.3 marks per game.

With season seven right around the corner, it could be the season that Hampson could see a breakout year for her.

Ellie Hampson. (Image: @GoldCoastSUNS Twitter)

GWS Giants

Haneen Zreika

23-year-old Haneen Zreika is set to fly in season seven.

The Giants’ footballer played nine games in 2022 and is constantly improving on her stats in each season. A previous rising star nominee, she is known for her versatility after impressing when she played in the positions of forward, back and in the midfield.

In season six, she averaged 11.7 disposals, 5.6 kicks, 6.1 handballs and 3.8 tackles per game.

With the recent news of her resigning to the club for another two years, it’s looking that Zreika is set for another stellar AFLW campaign in season seven.

Haneen Zreika. (Image: @AFLPlayers Twitter)

Hawthorn

Ainslie Kemp

Formerly with Melbourne, Ainslie Kemp has had a tumultuous journey in the AFLW so far. During her three years with the Demons, she dealt with a spate of knee injuries before being delisted by the club.

After joining with Hawthorn’s VFLW side, Kemp has flourished in 2022. Her campaign with the side impressed, with averages of 14.2 disposals and 4.3 marks.

Given her previous experience with resilience, the 25-year-old looks to be someone to watch in the new season as she gets a second shot in the AFLW.

Ainslie Kemp. (Image: @melbournefc Twitter)

Melbourne

Shelley Heath

Heath looks set for a big season. After cementing a spot in the senior side last year, the 22-year-old will aim to further elevate her game.

In season six, the defender made strides in her most recent AFLW campaign. She averaged 9.1 disposals, 4.4 kicks, 4.7 kicks and 4.5 tackles per game. Her most prominent game to date was against Carlton in round ten where she had career highs of 15 disposals and eight kicks.

Heath looks ready to see a boost in her game in the upcoming season.

Shelley Heath. (Image: AFLW Website)

North Melbourne

Alice O’Loughlin

Injury has put a hold on O’Loughlin’s plans for a breakout.

After inconsistency in the amount of games she’s appeared in, the forward began to show glimpses of potential in the seven games which made up her 2022 campaign.

She managed 5.4 disposals, 2.4 kicks, 3.0 handballs and 2.3 tackles per game. She proved that she can be reliable when it comes to goals when she made two in round four, when her team took on Carlton.

With a new season on its way, hopefully it’ll mean the 19 year old will get more experience under her belt.

Port Adelaide

Ebony O’Dea

An inaugural signing for the expansion team, someone who has the potential to see a breakout season is O’Dea.

The 23-year-old who has had stints at GWS and more recently Collingwood, looms to make a splash when she joins Port Adelaide in the new season.

Whilst she at Collingwood, O’Dea averaged 7.4 disposals, 2.4 tackles, 3.1 kicks and 4.3 handballs.

Ebony O’Dea. (Image: Collingwood Football Club Website).

Richmond

Libby Graham

The former Giants defender’s arrival at Richmond may be just what sees her elevate her game to the next level.

Graham hasn’t had many games under her belt from the two seasons she’s spent at GWS, appearing in only three games for both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In the most recent AFLW campaign, she averaged 7.0 disposals, 3.3 kicks, 3.7 handballs and 1.7 marks per game.

After spending time with Williamstown in the VFLW in 2021 where she impressed with a stellar campaign, Graham has the potential to fire up for the Tigers in season seven.

Libby Graham. (Image: GWS Giants Website)

St Kilda

Molly McDonald

The 21-year-old caused a stir in 2020 after becoming the club’s first goalscorer and had a stellar start to her AFLW journey, but multiple quad strains in 2021 has restricted McDonald’s game time.

In 2022, McDonald pulled off an impressive season as she averaged 9.2 disposals, 7.0 kicks, 2.2 handballs and 2.6 tackles per game.

Whilst she was down on a few of her averages from the previous year, a brand new season will mean more of a chance for McDonald to see her game taken to new heights.

Molly McDonald. (Image: @stkildafcw Twitter)

Sydney

Aimee Whelan

After dominating in the VFLW, Aimee Whelan is set to make her mark for the Sydney Swans in the upcoming season.

The midfielder cemented herself as one of the side’s best whilst playing for Williamstown, averaging 15.9 disposals, 7.3 tackles and 4.3 clearances per game.

With her impressive campaigns at VFLW level, Whelan will be one to look out for in season seven.

Aimee Whelan. (Image: AFL Website)

West Coast

Sophie McDonald

McDonald has been a part of the Eagles’ side for three seasons since making her debut in 2020.

Over that time, the 21-year-old has become known for her defensive work. In 2022, she was up on all her statistics, averaging 6.5 disposals, 5.3 disposals, 1.2 handballs and 1.7 tackles.

If she continues her strong form she’s showed so far, it’s likely that McDonald will have a campaign to remember in season seven.

Sophie McDonald. (Image: AFLW Website)

Western Bulldogs

Millie Brown

The former Geelong player will have a new club in season seven and is predicted to make a big impact after a year break from the game.

During her time at the Cats, Brown played in all games during her debut but a hamstring injury kept her on the sidelines for much of 2021. During her time with her former club, she averaged 5.1 kicks, 2.6 handballs and 1.8 marks per game.

After a turbulent start to her AFLW career, the 21-year-old will look to elevate her game in the red, white and blue this season.

Millie Brown. (Image: @DeakinHealth Twitter)

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