NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is over, we take a look at each club, who they picked and what they might offer to their team next year. We begin the countdown with Adelaide Crows, one of two teams with a monopoly on their chosen state.
The Crows rewarded great form in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition by picking up equal league best and fairest winner, Rachelle Martin and leading goalkicker, Ashleigh Woodland. The experienced pair have both tasted AFL Women’s football before, with Martin being a train-on partner for the Crows who managed to play due to the 2020 injury crisis, whilst Woodland was on Melbourne’s list in 2019.
The pair join the clear standout South Australian prospect in Teah Charlton who was no surprise to join the tri-colours in the draft, coming off a few great years with South Adelaide in the SANFL Women’s and South Australia and Central Allies at the Under-18 Championships. All three players could play from Round 1 if required, and with the Crows having a number of injured players returning, they should be flag favourites.
Adelaide’s depth is unbelievable, and what makes these three selections so great is the fact that they can slot in across multiple positions. One would expect Charlton to play forward and then push up the ground to impact through the middle, but her clean hands and ability to hit the scoreboard is a feature of her game. The teenager oozes X-factor and you can just see her adding an extra element to an already stacked forward line.
Martin is predominantly an inside bull, which is where she does her best work and expect her to play, but she can also play inside 50 and be that pressure forward to add to the class around her. Her second and third efforts are as good as anyone’s, and she is a fierce tackler who is not afraid to bring down opponents. Expect her to work well with fellow SANFL Women’s league best and fairest winner Anne Hatchard in midfield, as well as Ebony Marinoff as another big tackler.
Woodland is one who will easily step up at AFL Women’s level and has that experience from training in an elite environment at the Dees, and coming back to state league level and dominating, she is ready to cement herself in the best side. She will likely play forward as a leading target, but depending on how the Crows utilise Eloise Jones, Woodland could also play off half-back – as she did through the South Australian All-Stars game – or through the middle as a natural ball winner.
There was never any doubt that Adelaide would emerge as big winners from the draft, but the Crows have added three players who can immediately step up and play a role in the best side for prolonged periods of time, with Charlton a star of the future.