Suns take Rowbottom first in AFLW draft

The Gold Coast Suns have secured No.1 AFLW draft pick Charlie Rowbottom for next season Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

No.1 AFLW draft pick Charlie Rowbottom has shunned up to eight clubs in her home state of Victoria to head north and play for Gold Coast.

In a huge coup for the battling Suns, the powerful midfielder chose them and the expansion club had no hesitation in taking the teenager first in Tuesday night's virtual draft.

Retaining talent has been an issue for Gold Coast, and even reigning AFLW premiers the Brisbane Lions, with the semi-professional players having to juggle football with work and study.

The Suns are coming off a trying second season in the competition, where they finished winless with a percentage of just 36.

But Rowbottom, who is the sister of Sydney Swans midfielder James, could not be more thrilled about moving to south-east Queensland after nominating the Suns in the state-based draft pool.

"I've been out of school for a year now, I finished Year 12 in isolation (during 2020)," she said.

"So when Gold Coast came forward and had a chat to me, I was really keen.

"They made me really excited to move up there to the sunshine.

"It's going to be a bit of a change, a shift in my life, but it's all very exciting."

Rowbottom only started playing football about six years ago so her rise to top of the 2021 draft class has been rapid.

She has captained Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League, and at 179cm tall, is seriously tall for a midfielder.

Rowbottom says she has modelled her game on Collingwood star Chloe Molloy, who became one of the AFLW's most dominant players last season.

It was a bumper draft for the Suns, who had three picks inside the top 10.

Gold Coast grabbed Teagan Levi from Bond University with pick six, as well as Ashanti Bush.

Fellow strugglers Geelong also had a trio of early picks, drafting Georgie Prespakis, the sister of Carlton star and 2020 league best-and-fairest winner Madison, with their first selection.

AFLW DRAFT TOP-10

1. Charlie Rowbottom (Gold Coast)

2. Georgie Prespakis (Geelong)

3. Charlotte Thomas (West Coast)

4. Ella Friend (St Kilda)

5. Stella Reid (Richmond)

6. Teagan Levi (Gold Coast)

7. Zali Friswell (Geelong)

8. Ashanti Bush (Gold Coast)

9. Gabbi Featherston (Geelong)

10. Annie Lee (Carlton)