NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted, Draft Central will review each club’s draft hand, and provide supporters with all the content they need to know about the latest additions to their AFL Women’s programs. We continue the club-by-club reviews with Collingwood.
#29 Eliza James (Forward/Midfielder)
1/10/2003 | 168cm
Oakleigh Chargers / Vic Metro
Collingwood fans were made to wait for their side’s first pick before all three came in a flurry. The Collingwood-Oakleigh link remains strong as premiership Charger, James enters the Magpies’ squad, marking great reward for a terrific few years in the elite talent pathway. With explosive athletic traits, the ability to clunk strong marks and create scoring opportunities, James is a dynamic forward-midfielder who can really hurt the opposition. Competition for spots will likely be pretty tight in the rotation James fits, though she is quite versatile and would benefit from being afforded some time to sharpen her skills and build a more refined finishing touch. Overall, there is plenty of upside in this selection.
ELIZA JAMES CONTENT:
#32 Eloise Chaston (General Forward)
23/02/2002 | 169cm
Eastern Ranges / Hawthorn VFLW
The Magpies pulled this pick out of the hat, taking on another versatile forward in Eastern Ranges skipper, Chaston. The 19-year-old also plied her trade for Hawthorn’s VFLW side across six games this season, impressing from the get-go with her smooth movement and overall dynamism. She plays slightly taller than what her 169cm standing suggests, leaning on her athleticism to compete aerially while maintaining an eye-catching ground level game. Chaston spent plenty of time up forward in 2021 but is also capable of rolling further afield. Her selection, especially in context with the other two, suggests Collingwood may be in for a restructure of its forwardline personnel.
#33 Imogen Barnett (Tall Forward)
11/06/1995 | 176cm
Rounding out Collingwood’s three-player draft haul was another of their own, in VFLW mature-ager Barnett. The 26-year-old has spearheaded the Magpies’ undefeated reserves side in 2021, booting a competition-high 21 goals across her 15 outings. She has refined her craft over the years to become a reliable and consistent key forward, possessing a sound goalkicking technique and strong hands on the end of her shrewd leads. The Magpies’ forward depth gets even stronger with the addition of Barnett, who is a readymade option familiar with the Magpies’ system and style of play. She has a big job ahead trying to crack Collingwood’s starting forwardline.
Collingwood added some size, strength and dynamism to its forward stocks with three selections between picks 29-33. There is serious upside and scope for development in the likes of James and Chaston, who are versatile enough to fit a few different roles in the front five or further afield. Barnett, the mature-ager of the group, is a known quantity to Magpies staff and players alike and thus provides a reliable depth option. The Magpies now have quite extensive ruck and tall forward listings, having addressed both needs in the trade and draft periods.