AFLW draft a family affair

It was a family affair at Tuesday night’s AFLW draft as three top-ten draftees joined their siblings at the elite level.

Gold Coast drafted Charlie Rowbottom, sister of Sydney’s James Rowbottom, and Tegan Levi, sister of Maddi, with picks one and six. Geelong used pick two to select the younger sister of Carlton’s Maddy Prespakis.

No.1 pick: Charlie Rowbottom has joined the Suns.Credit:AFL Photos

The top two in Prespakis and Rowbottom, who both come from Victoria, were named in the under-19 NAB All-Australian team after strong performances for Vic Metro.

At 179 centimetres, Rowbottom is a tall midfielder who can use her height and strength to rotate forward and take strong contested marks while also accurate in front of goals.

She also has natural leadership skills which was clear as she led the Oakleigh Chargers to a premiership in this year’s NAB League.

As the AFLW draft was state-based, Rowbottom surprised the league when she nominated Queensland. She said seeing her older brother James make an interstate move made her decision easier.

“Obviously he has moved up so it’s been good to see him and how he has handled that,” Rowbottom told the AFLW website.

“He is a good role model for me and he is super stoked for me as well.”

Unlike Rowbottom, Prespakis will remain in her home state of Victoria and will be joined in the Cats midfield by Calder Cannons teammate Zali Friswell, who was selected with pick seven.

Prespakis, who has a penetrating kick, is known for her tough tackles and ability to move the ball cleanly out of stoppages while Friswell is accurate via foot and hand and has the speed to evade her opposition.

Prespakis and Friswell have shown they can match it with bigger bodies at VFLW level, with both looking comfortable through Essendon’s midfield.

Throughout the national carnival, Prespakis was a dominant force in Vic Metro’s engine room with an average of 28 disposals and eight tackles, resulting in her being named the team’s most valuable player.

Fellow Victorians Ella Friend and Stella Reid will have the opportunity to take their game to the next level when they enter the AFLW system with St Kilda and Richmond.

Friend, who came through the Greater Western Victoria Rebels program, is a strong forward known for her contested marking and athletic ability to rotate onto the wing.

Reid, another forward, will hope to utilise accuracy and excellent game sense when she lines up for the Tigers.

The top 10 was rounded out with Ashanti Bush, selected by Gold Coast with pick eight, Gabbi Featherstone, who went to Geelong with selection nine, and Annie Lee, headed to Carlton via pick 10.

1. Gold Coast – Charlie Rowbottom
2. Geelong – Georgie Prespakis
3. West Coast – Charlotte Thomas
4. St Kilda – Ella Friend
5. Richmond – Stella Reid
6. Gold Coast – Tegan Levi
7. Geelong – Zali Friswell
8. Gold Coast – Ashanti Bush
9. Geelong – Gabbi Featherstone
10. Carlton – Annie Lee

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