WHILE we're yet to see the newly drafted AFLW players at the top level, the next crop of 18-year-old talent is starting to gear up for their seasons around the country.
The SANFLW will kick off on March 1, the WAFLW will kick off on March 2, and the QAFLW and AFL Sydney competitions last year began in April.
The fixture for the Coates Talent League (Victoria) has not yet been released, but last year started in mid-March.
The under-18 national championships are expected to run across a similar timeframe to last year (weekends in July and August).
If you're keen to get the jump on building your draft knowledge, these are some top players to keep an eye on throughout the year.
HAVANA HARRIS (Queensland, Gold Coast Academy/Bond Uni/Burleigh)
The athletic ruck was named player of the under-18 championships last year, but is now eligible for the draft. Harris is already more than capable of playing senior footy, taking out the best-on-ground medal in last year's QAFLW Grand Final. She can play multiple roles and is incredibly athletic and powerful for her height of 182cm.
INDIA RASHEED (South Australia, Sturt/Glenunga)
Took out South Australia's MVP in last year's under-18 championships, in a squad that produced eight AFLW draftees. A strong-bodied midfielder with clean skills and good footy IQ, she can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. Rasheed's father Roger is a respected tennis coach and former SANFL player.
JASMINE EVANS (South Australia, Central District/Salisbury)
Yet another strong midfielder/forward from the South Australian pipeline and is already a premiership player with SANFLW side Central District. A well-rounded midfielder who can play either as a strong ball-winner or provide some class on the outside.
POPPY SCHOLZ (South Australia, Glenelg/Mitcham)
The younger sister of Port Adelaide's breakout star, Matilda, Scholz plays traditionally more of a defensive role than the Power's young ruck. Also a star netballer (mum Peta is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist), Scholz is in the national under-17 squad and has captained her state. Unsurprisingly given her netball background, she has sure hands and is steady under pressure.
MACKENZIE WILLIAMS (Tasmania, Tasmania Devils/North Hobart)
A very steady rebound defender who has had plenty of experience at the top level, representing the Allies at two under-18 championships already, and was one of their best last year. Williams is a strong intercept mark who reads the play well.
ASH CENTRA (Vic Country, Gippsland Power/Sale City)
Already a young star of Victorian football, Centra has been earmarked as a potential top selection for a few years now. She has elite skills and strong game sense, and has been played across all three lines. Centra is able to spot teammates where few can, and nails the kick, opening up the game for her team.
LUCIA PAINTER (Vic Country, Bendigo Pioneers/White Hills)
Missed Bendigo's last month of the Coates Talent League season and the AFLW Futures clash with an ankle injury, but Painter had a very strong 2023 up until that point. Another versatile player who loves winning her own footy and bursting from the contest.
SARA HOWLEY (Vic Country, Geelong Falcons/Newtown and Chilwell)
Was one of the Falcons' best last year despite still having a season away from her draft group. The midfielder knows how to find the footy and impressed for Vic Country in last year's under-18 championships. She has won the Falcons' past two best and fairests and won the Coates League best and fairest last year.
SIENNA TALLARITI (Vic Metro, Oakleigh Chargers/Whitehorse Pioneers)
Already has a Grand Final best-on-ground medal under her belt, named the top player in last year's Coates Talent League decider. Reads the play really well across half-back and is a strong rebounder with a powerful boot.
SOPHIE McKAY (Vic Metro, Sandringham Dragons/Prahran)
A potential father-daughter signing for Carlton, McKay's dad Andrew and sister Abbie have represented the navy blue. A sharp mover on the field, the midfielder is difficult to corral, is a smart user of the footy and can hit the scoreboard.
EMMA McDONALD (Vic Metro, Oakleigh Chargers/Ashburton)
Caught the eye in last year's under-18 championships as Metro's spearhead in attack, providing a strong-marking target and capitalising on her set shots. Moves well for her height of 180cm and looks capable of leading a top-level forward line in the future.
ZIPPY (Zipporah) FISH (Western Australia, East Fremantle)
Has been on the radar for several years now after she burst onto the WAFLW scene with East Fremantle. Zippy Fish is just as elusive as her name suggests, with fantastic speed, agility and game-breaking traits in the middle or off half-back. Another best-on-ground winner in a Grand Final among this crop, this time in the WAFLW.
MOLLY O'HEHIR (Western Australia, South Fremantle/South Coogee)
Has a big upside, given her height (176cm), her versatility across all three lines and raw talent. O'Hehir possesses plenty of pace, is steady overhead and defensively minded when required. Was named in the under-18 All-Australian team last year.