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 St Kilda.
#4 Ella Friend (Tall Forward/Wing)
30/12/2003 | 175cm
GWV Rebels / Vic Country
Born on December 30, Friend is just two days off being a bottom-ager and should she make her AFLW debut in 2021, will do so at just 17-years-old. The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) standout is arguably the best contested marker in the draft pool, with good athleticism and vice-like hands making her a dominant aerial force. At 175cm, she is also quite versatile and swing back at times this season, but was more regularly sighted up forward or on a wing. She is dynamic enough to play both roles at AFLW level, but may start out as a forward fold for Caitlin Greiser as she continues to build her running capacity. Friend already got a taste for that at VFLW level with the Western Bulldogs, nabbing two goals on debut.
ELLA FRIEND CONTENT:
#12 Ashleigh Richards (Forward/Midfielder)
22/10/2003 | 167cm
Dandenong Stingrays / Vic Country
Somewhat of a surprise selection at pick 12, St Kilda ensured its link with the Dandenong region remains strong by selecting 2021 Stingrays co-captain, Richards with its final bid in the National Draft. While capable of rolling through midfield, the 17-year-old promises to add some forward firepower after her feats inside attacking 50 during the season. She booted seven majors in her six NAB League outings and snared four in five VFLW games for Port Melbourne, with her combination of smarts and defensive pressure proving valuable close to goal. Those traits make her a high impact per possession kind of prospect, not needing too many opportunities to deal damage in each appearance. She also offers a good bit of versatility.
ASHLEIGH RICHARDS CONTENT:
UFA: Leah Cutting (Ruck)
14/03/1992 | 185cm
Norwood / South Australia
St Kilda left a spot on its list open after passing with pick 36, before signing South Australian mature-ager Cutting as an undrafted free agent on Friday. The 29-year-old is in her prime and has over 50 games of SANFLW experience under her belt, making her a readymade ruck option who could potentially impact straight away for the Saints. A strong body at 185cm, Cutting is able to fulfil her ruck duties while also offering a target around the ground and following up her work at the stoppages. She earned a draft combine invite this year so was unsurprisingly finally given a shot at the elite level.
St Kilda has added some very handy forward and tall depth in this year’s draft, starting with Friend. The GWV Rebels graduate ticks both of the aforementioned boxes and will make the Saints less predictable going forward as another marking target, with potential to roll further afield in future. At ground level, Richards is a handy option who knows how to find the goals and makes every touch count, while Cutting is a readymade choice who provides plenty of strength and experience through the ruck. A happy haul of three overall.