2021 AFLW Draft club review: Fremantle

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 Fremantle.

#17 Amy Franklin (TALL Utility)
04/02/2003 | 177cm
Claremont / Western Australia

The top key position player in Western Australia made her way to the purple army in what will no doubt create some serious headaches for opposition defences going forward. Possessing a rare blend of aerial ability and athleticism for her size, Franklin is hard to beat one-on-one and terrific at ground level. Teaming up with Roxy Roux inside 50 will be an entertaining show within the match itself, and Franklin is a talent who can still develop. Able to play at both ends, expect Franklin to settle in attack as that is where she does her best work, often able to turn a game with multiple goals in a short space of time.

AMY FRANKLIN CONTENT:

>> Franklin’s crazy and rushed journey helps fast track development

>> WAFLW Player Focus: Amy Franklin (Claremont)

>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Tall/Medium Forwards

#31 Dana East (Inside Midfielder)
10/06/2002 | 167cm
Swan Districts / Western Australia

One of the big improvers this season, East was a prolific inside ball-winner and a key cog in Swan Districts’ midfield. Possessing clean hands on the inside and an ability to go forward and hit the scoreboard, East put in a body of work in 2021 to prove to AFLW clubs that she could stand up at senior level. A clearance expert and a player who thrives on the contested ball, East had an impressive AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, where she reaffirmed that she was able to match it with the top players across the country.

DANA EAST CONTENT:

>> East shines out west in rapid rise through the talent pathway

#38 Makaela Tuhakaraina (Small Utility)
23/08/2003 | 158cm
South Fremantle / Western Australia

An elite athlete coming from a rugby background, Tuhakaraina is a South Fremantle talent who has speed to burn. Clocking the fastest time at the West Australian AFL Women’s Draft Combine for agility, Tuhakaraina is an excitement machine. Whilst still raw with improvements to be made in fundamentals, Tuhakaraina takes the game on and is not afraid to power through opponents, or sidestep them with terrific evasion. Predominantly stationed forward, she can also play through the midfield or even behind the ball, using her acceleration to create separation on the open grounds out west.

MAKAELA TUHAKARAINA CONTENT:

>> Ones to Watch: AFLW Draft eligible surprise packets

#44 Airlie Runnalls (Outside Midfielder)
25/06/1998 | 164cm
North Melbourne / VFLW

The first mature-ager taken by the Fremantle Dockers was hard-working Runnalls who made a name for herself in North Melbourne’s VFLW lineup. Runnalls averaged 18 disposals, five marks and four tackles during the VFLW season, and was a consistent ball-winner in transition. The Dockers will look for Runnalls to translate that high work rate to AFLW level on a wing, expect her to be a readymade talent to slot in when required, and add to the great depth the Dockers have, whilst also replacing a number of players who have left the club or will miss the 2022 season.

#52 Jess Low (Balanced Midfielder)
05/11/1999 | 165cm
Claremont / Western Australia

After receiving an AFLW Draft Combine invite last year, Low put together a second consecutive strong season to warrant Fremantle taking a chance on the 21-year-old. Low is a hard midfielder who built on her running game to include more contested work this year, whilst also being stationed in defence at times. She has spent time forward of the ball as well, but her high work rate predominantly sees her through the midfield. A readymade talent who can impact from Round 1 if required, Low is generally a clean ball user, but her repeat contest work is what stands out.

JESS LOW CONTENT:

>> From Amateurs to the combine, Low finds her place in footy

#52 Sarah Wielstra (Key Forward/Ruck)
22/06/1995 | 184cm
swan Districts / Western Australia

Much like Low, Wielstra received an AFL Women’s Draft Combine last year, but instead of being picked up, missed out and went back to work to continue developing her game. After another development season, Wielstra earned her chance by showcasing her athleticism for a tall and being an aggressive player. She can hit the packs, force the ball to ground and has good athletic traits, and while some fundamentals are a work in progress, she is someone who always gives 100 per cent and is an exciting project player.

DRAFT SUMMARY:

Fremantle headed into the AFL Women’s Draft with the equal most selections of any club, and utilised all six. They picked up three Under 19s Academy talents, then topped up with three readymade mature-age players. Five of the six talents could easily step into Round 1 if required, and whilst many have come to the code as late starters, their development has been fast-tracked by playing at WAFL Women’s senior level.

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