WITH the dust now settled on the 2023 NAB AFLW season, it's time to reflect on some of the best performers throughout the year.
Each club welcomed new faces throughout the off-season and blooded some of those players as the year progressed. So, who was your club's most impactful new player?
Season snapshot: 13 games averaging 8.9 disposals, 19.9 hitouts, 2.8 score involvements.
While not technically a new player, more a returning player for Adelaide, Allan's impact on the Crows was unquestionable. Her ability to make the ruck her own allowed the other pieces to fall exactly as the club needed. As a result, Caitlin Gould was released into that much-needed key forward role, kicking a career-best 19 goals, while Allan's connection with the Crows midfield – particularly Danielle Ponter – grew significantly as the season progressed.
Season snapshot: 13 games, eight goals, averaging 2.2 score involvements, 3.6 tackles.
A premiership forward after just 13 games, teenager Mullins had to work very hard in a brand-new Brisbane attack. There was plenty of pressure on this new era Lions forward line and Mullins bought in to the club's brand of pressure and teamwork, excelling in the process, and earning a Rising Star nomination in round nine.
Season snapshot: 10 games averaging 11.8 disposals, 3.2 tackles, 5.2 intercepts.
Initially brought in from Richmond to solidify Carlton's backline and allow others more flexibility in their roles, but Cordner became even more important when captain Kerryn Peterson's availability was limited due to a knee injury. With Peterson playing just four games, Cordner was solid as a rock down back, before being swung forward late in the season to hit the scoreboard.
Season snapshot: 10 games, eight goals, eight marks inside 50, eight contested marks.
Morris-Dalton joined the Pies in a last-minute trade from the Western Bulldogs, and played every game on her way to becoming the club's leading goalkicker with a career-best eight goals. Morris-Dalton formed a handy partnership with fellow new recruit Eleri Morris, giving fans a hint at what Collingwood's forward line could become.
Season snapshot: 11 games averaging 18.7 disposals, 8.1 tackles, 5.2 clearances, 2.3 score involvements.
Returning from the ACL injury that kept her on the sidelines in the Bombers' inaugural season, Nanscawen became the driver of the engine room. As an in-and-under midfielder who was willing to get her hands dirty, she allowed others to do what they do best around her, feeding the ball out to the likes of Maddy Prespakis, Georgia Gee, and Steph Cain. Nanscawen only got better as the season went on.
Season snapshot: Eight games averaging 9.4 disposals, 2.1 inside 50s, 234.9m gained.
Recruited via the supplementary draft early in 2023, Cregg was a surprise packet for Fremantle, debuting in round one and playing every game until injury ruled her out of the final two weeks. As a persistent work horse out on the wing, her endurance running was important, particularly given the limited availability and fitness of Ebony Antonio.
Season snapshot: 13 games, 10 goals, averaging 10.5 disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.8 score involvements.
It's impossible to look past Moloney as Geelong's most impactful new player, even named the best first-year player across the competition by the players. An athletic player who arrived from Ireland midway through the year, Moloney adapted to footy really quickly, boasting an impressive footy IQ despite being so new to the game. She added a point of difference to Geelong's strong duo of Chloe Scheer and Jackie Parry in attack, and frighteningly, this is just the beginning for Moloney.
Season snapshot: 11 games, four goals, averaging 11.3 disposals. 1.8 bounces, 1.9 score involvements.
A flashy inclusion for Gold Coast this year, McLaughlin showed the substance to back that up. Initially starting at half-back before progressing higher up the field, she was willing to take the game on and add some much-needed outside run for the Suns to complement the midfield strength the side boasts.
Season snapshot: Nine games averaging 14.2 hitouts, 3.6 tackles, 1.1 inside 50s.
After missing season seven with a shoulder injury, Davies made her AFLW debut in round one and added some much-needed physicality at the contest for the Giants. Missing just one game due to suspension, Davies will be better for the season under her belt, and the prospect of her developing in the middle alongside Alyce Parker and Rising Star Zarlie Goldsworthy will only see the Giants improve going forward.
Season snapshot: 10 games averaging 20.8 disposals, 9.7 tackles, 4.9 clearances, 4.2 intercepts.
Professionalism and standards were the words following three-time All-Australian Bates' move to Hawthorn, and her impact on the field backed that up. Bates led the Hawks for disposals, tackles, and clearances in her first season at the club, while also registering the second-most inside 50s. Her smart positioning assisted greatly in defence, and her presence at the contest bolstered the young Hawks around her.
Season snapshot: Five games averaging nine disposals, 2.2 inside 50s, 2.5 score involvements.
Injury prevented Mackin from showing everything she's made of, but there was enough on show to keep Melbourne fans excited about her future at the club. Her ability to cover the ground and get involved repeatedly in passages of play was brilliant, and, playing with an attacking intent, she used the ball really well.
Season snapshot: 12 games averaging 10.4 disposals, 2.8 tackles, 2.6 intercepts.
In her first season at North Melbourne, former Lion Pullar became a heart and soul player. Vocal on the field and boasting an impressive work rate, her addition on the wing allowed the team to settle into an adjusted structure. In season seven, winger Bella Eddey was shifted into attack, meaning Jenna Bruton was needed on the wing. Now, with Pullar in the mix, the Roos have become even more versatile.
Season snapshot: 10 games averaging 21.1 hitouts, 12.6 disposals, 3.2 clearances, four tackles.
Still just 18 years old, Scholz held down the No.1 ruck role for Port Adelaide this season and really took it to some of the best rucks in the competition. Scholz offered not only great service to her midfield, but a strong aerial presence around the ground and a willingness to apply pressure. Her season was capped off with three goals against GWS in round 10.
Season snapshot: Nine games, eight goals, averaging 8.7 disposals, 1.4 inside 50s, 3.3 score involvements.
The 2023 Goal of the Year winner was super consistent in her first season at the Tigers. Greiser stood up in some big moments, including a massive round one matchwinner over eventual premier Brisbane. As the connection between Richmond's midfield and new forward line improves, Greiser will only get better.
Season snapshot: 10 games, eight goals, averaging 9.8 hitouts, 9.4 disposals, 2.3 tackles, 2.7 marks.
There was a lot of expectation on Wardlaw coming to St Kilda and it took her a little while to get going. A move toward more ruck time allowed her to figure out her place in a new side. She, and the Saints, will be well served with this season under their belts, better understanding one-another and ready to further capitalise next season.
Season snapshot: 12 games, 18 goals, averaging 16.5 disposals, 3.2 marks, 339.4m gained, 4.3 tackles.
As Sydney's leading goalkicker and co-captain in her first season at the club, Molloy showed off her momentum-shifting capabilities. Molloy did well to bring teammates into games and keep belief high. Working through both the midfield and forward line as needed, she was a key part of the Swans' push to a semi final in just their second season.
Season snapshot: 10 games averaging 10.7 hitouts, 6.6 disposals, four tackles, 2.3 clearances.
Making her debut after an ACL injury kept her on the sidelines for season seven, Wakfer took over West Coast's No.1 ruck role with little support due to Sarah Lakay's back injury. Wakfer played every game, earning a Rising Star nomination in round five, and worked hard in a battling team.
Season snapshot: Eight games averaging 8.8 disposals, 3 tackles, 1.4 clearances.
A mature-aged recruit who moved to Melbourne for her footy dream, Carruthers' willingness to put her body on the line proved just how much she wanted to be there. Even when things weren't going the Bulldogs' way, Carruthers was still willing to get in and do the tough stuff, even if that meant a severe head knock in round seven against Adelaide.