2019/20 AFLW off-season review: GWS GIANTS

REMAINING as just one of two AFL Women’s clubs in a standalone state, the GWS GIANTS lost some top-end talent at the end of 2019 and had to head to the AFL Women’s Draft to replenish the quality. Losing the likes of Phoebe Monahan and Christina Bernardi to Richmond and Emma Swanson and Maddy Collier to West Coast were massive losses, but none more so than Courtney Gum who retired from the competition, only to relocate to South Australia and change her mind to play with Adelaide. Then the loss of inaugural captain Amanda Farrugia last week was a shock, with club vice-captain Alicia Eva to step up into the role.

They redrafted a couple of delistees, while also picking up experience in the form of Jess Allan who moved to the state for work, as well as giving Darebin Falcons’ Annalyse Lister a chance. Most of the talent picked up through the draft was local league mature-agers who had showed plenty this season, with Georgia Garnett and Maggie Gorham the two standout top-agers drafted by the GIANTS who could have an impact in 2020.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Jess Allan (Adelaide), Maggie Gorham (Belconnen), Lisa Steane (Nelson Bay), Annalyse Lister (Darebin Falcons), Sarah Halvorsen (Newcastle City), Emily Goodsir, Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles), Rebecca Privitelli (UNSW Eastern Suburbs).
OUT: Phoebe Monahan, Christina Bernardi (Richmond), Emma Swanson, Maddy Collier (West Coast), Courtney Gum (retired then Adelaide), Ebony O’Dea, Brittany Perry, Renee Tomkins (delisted), Amanda Farrugia.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Jessica Allan
Jacinda Barclay
Nicola Barr
Rebecca Beeson
Elle Bennetts
Yvonne Bonner
Ellie Brush
Jess Dal Pos
Alicia Eva
Georgia Garnett
Emily Goodsir
Maggie Gorham
Sarah Halvorsen
Tanya Hetherington
Jodie Hicks
Annalyse Lister
Tait Mackrill
Erin McKinnon
Ingrid Nielsen
Alyce Parker
Rebecca Privitelli
Pepa Randall
Aimee Schmidt
Cora Staunton
Lisa Steane
Louise Stephenson
Britt Tully
Lisa Whiteley
Haneen Zreika

Rookie: Taylah Davies

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Jessica Dal Pos  – Ellie Brush – Pepa Randall
HB: Alicia Eva – Tania Hetherington – Nicola Barr
C: Rebecca Beeson
HF: Yvonne Bonner – Jess Allan – Elle Bennetts
F: Cora Staunton – Maggie Gorham – Jacinda Barclay
R: Erin McKinnon – Alyce Parker – Louise Stephenson
INT: Georgia Garnett – Haneen Zreika – Annalyse Lister – Jodie Hicks, Taylah Davies*
EMG: Tait Mackrill, Ingrid Nielsen, Sarah Halvorsen

DEPTH: Rebecca Privitelli, Aimee Schmidt, Lisa Steane, Britt Tully, Lisa Whiteley

With a handful of key holes left from departing players, expect those on the fringe in 2019 to step up in greater roles for 2020. Along with them, the mature agers such as Allan from the Crows could come straight in, sharing the ruck/forward load with Erin McKinnon.

The new inclusions from the draft will be hard to judge to see when and how they fit, but Gorham and Garnett have shown enough talent to suggest they should be in the frame for Round 1. Also amongst it would be Lister who could use her experience at VFL Women’s level to make an early impact, while the role of new captain Eva will be fascinating. We have her playing in defence given the loss of Farrugia, while Jessica Dal Pos can provide extra experience down there as Garnett develops further.

The ruck will be the strongest area for the GIANTS, and having lost some serious firepower up forward, lead by last year’s leading goalkicker in Bernardi’s departure, the club will look to rotate players through the area. The best 21 could look very different come Round 1 depending on how the pre-season training goes, but despite losing some of their best players, the GIANTS are still in good shape for the future.

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