Ryleigh Wotherspoon is a talented footballer and cricket player. Pictures: Brooke Sleep Facebook/Instagram

MELBOURNE has sprung a first round surprise, swooping in on bolter Ryleigh Wotherspoon with pick No.12 at Monday's AFLW draft.

Hailing from Mackay, the 170cm midfielder has shown an ability across a range of sports having already played cricket, soccer and softball at a high level.

But having also shown an ability in Australian Football, Wotherspoon shot up in draft calculations this year, with both the Demons and Lions keen on recruiting her as a development prospect given her athleticism and potential for growth.

A train-on player with Brisbane, she showed the versatility to be used across all lines when needed, excelling in particular as a rebounding defensive option. She has nice control in the air, while also doesn't shy away from a physical contest.

She impressed in scrimmage matches throughout 2023, playing alongside non-selected AFLW players each week.

Wotherspoon played footy as a junior alongside the boys, before opting to focus on cricket and soccer.

Having represented Australia and Queensland in cricket at junior level, she's currently playing Women's First Grade in Brisbane, taking a wicket and opening the batting for Western Suburbs in its win over Gold Coast on Saturday.

She also represented Queensland in softball and played Premier League soccer in Brisbane for University of Queensland, winning the Young Female Player of the Year award in 2020.