THE Eastern Ranges have plenty to be happy about with three players drafted in the 2018 AFL Women’s Draft. Both Mikala Cann and Emerson Woods are set to make their debut for their respective AFLW sides this weekend, while defender Charlotte Wilson has not yet been named to take the field for Carlton.
Having never played football until last year Cann was a real shining light for the Ranges with her impressive athleticism and speed to burn. Eastern Ranges’ Female Talent Manager Jessie Mulholland, highlighted Cann’s raw talent and growth throughout the season.
“Following her journey, we were obviously her first introduction into football,” Mulholland said. “So to see her go from there, to Vic Metro, to All Australian, to Hawthorn premiership team and now into Collingwood and being selected to play in Geelong for Round 1 on Saturday is really exciting.”
Standing at 173cm, Cann proved that height is no object using her dynamism to burst through packs and clean hands to get through congestion. The former basketballer showed she has plenty of class and with the right direction could be a real force to be reckoned with on the footy field.
“With the dual athletes it’s really exciting how much they can transfer from each sport,” Mulholland said. “Athletes already coming into a program they’re ready to soak up as much information, so all you had to do is tell her don’t stand here stand here instead and she’d pick it up.”
Cann is set to lineup for the Magpies in their first game of the 2019 season against Geelong. With her excellent athleticism and general footy smarts Cann will be a welcomed inclusion in the Collingwood line-up who have been left without some serious star power after several key players departed in the off-season.
Meanwhile Woods will also be pulling on the navy blue for the first time this weekend. Woods who played predominantly through the midfield will provide plenty of speed and class across the ground making her a real asset for Carlton who struggled last season. Woods played with Cann at Eastern and Hawthorn and showed that she plays hard and knows how to win, having played in the premiership with the Hawks in the VFLW.
Though Woods has plenty of on-field skills it was her leadership that was a real feature of her game at Eastern, often leading from the front. While being at Hawthorn also helped to foster those attributes with the likes of Sarah Perkins and Meg Hutchins playing a role in her development.
“Emerson has always been a leader and I think she thrived in that environment [at Hawthorn] and they really welcomed those girls,” Mulholland said.
Both Cann and Woods proved that they are not afraid of the big stage and are capable of mixing it with more experienced players.