Victorian Ham set for Swans' AFLW top pick
For a second consecutive season, Victorian clubs are set to look on in envy as the top AFLW draft prospect shuns their home state to head north as the No.1 pick.
Expansion club Sydney have the first pick in Wednesday night's draft and are widely tipped to snap up Melburnian Montana Ham with their prized top selection.
Making that possible was Ham's recent decision to nominate for the NSW draft pool, citing lifestyle and future career reasons.
That means the 18-year-old can only be selected by Sydney or GWS.
Ham's decision follows fellow Victorian Charli Rowbottom's call last year to nominate for the Queensland draft pool, where she was taken as pick No.1 by Gold Coast.
Another Victorian, Sofia Hurley, has also nominated for the NSW draft pool and is expected to be picked up early by Sydney.
Drafts are still state-based as the AFLW is semi-professional and part-time.
A big-bodied onballer who is strong overhead, Ham is arguably the draft's premier midfielder.
She dominated for NAB League premiers Western Jets and was an All-Australian and Vic Metro MVP, averaging 22.7 disposals (13.3 contested), 5.3 tackles and a goal per match.
Jasmine Fleming, daughter of former Australian cricketer Damien Fleming, could land at Hawthorn at pick No.2.
Later in the draft, Victorian Yasmin Duursma could head to Port Adelaide, where older brother Xavier plays AFL, after nominating for the SA draft pool.
The first round stretches out to 36 selections due to expansion and priority assistance picks.
The first 13 draft selections, which could not be traded, were reserved for the four incoming teams: Sydney, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Essendon.
The order of those choices was then based on the number of experienced players those clubs signed during the expansion signing period.
At least one player's destination is guaranteed, with St Kilda committing to drafting father-daughter selection Caitlin Matthews.
Matthews is the daughter of Dean Matthews, who played one game for the Saints in 1995.
The draft at Marvel Stadium will be the first held in-person since 2019.
AFLW DRAFT FIRST ROUND ORDER
3. Port Adelaide
7. Port Adelaide
14. West Coast
15. West Coast
16. St Kilda
19. Gold Coast
21. Western Bulldogs
23. Port Adelaide
24. West Coast
28. North Melbourne
29. Western Bulldogs
31. Port Adelaide
34. Gold Coast
36. West Coast
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