WITH four new teams accepted into the AFL Women’s competition, it means there will be at least 120 new players stepping up to the elite level. So just where might the clubs look outside the junior pathway? Draft Central casts an eye over each of the clubs through either their state league team or Academy that might help them get off to the best possible start.
Whilst the makeup of lists and how much compensation the expansion clubs will get is unknown, we take a look at it from a broader sense and who might be some names to remember. The series continues with Port Adelaide, a side that has a rich amount of talent in its Next-Generation Academy (NGA) particularly for the 2023 AFL Women’s Draft, but a state league that is incredibly strong with readymade talent to compete and try and knock their state-based rivals Adelaide off its perch.
Looking ahead to the future of the Power, the 2023 AFL Women’s Draft could be a promising one if they are able to get their hands on their Academy talent, headlined by 2021 AFLW Under 19s Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP) for South Australia, Lauren Young. The 15-year-old talent is not eligible in next year’s draft, but looms as an incredible prospect ahead of the 2023-24 AFLW season. The tall utility can dominate in any line at senior level, and still has a couple of years to hone her craft further.
But outside of Young, Port Adelaide have some other great talents yet to be exposed at Under 19s state level, with Shineah Goody the next best South Australian prospect for the 2023 AFLW Draft also in the Academy. The Woodville-West Torrens product is a smooth mover who can play on all three lines like Young, and along with sisters Chloe (2023 AFLW Draft) and Jemma Whitington-Charity (2024).
Marlie Fiegert (2023) has a special tie to the the club, with the talented Eagles prospect a potential Port Adelaide father-daughter selection. Her father Nigel played 19 AFL games for the Power, and 168 SANFL games at the Magpies between 1996-2004. Speaking of father-daughter selections, who could forget the time Erin Phillips committed to Port Adelaide six years ago prior to the start of the AFL Women’s. Having already starred for the Crows, the daughter of eight-time premiership player Greg would be the top of the list for the Power from not only a playing sense, but a marketability sense.
Whilst picking potential current AFLW talents might be tricky 12 months out, some players who were right in contention for the most recent AFL Women’s Draft include AFLW Academy member Gypsy Schirmer, and Under 19s All-Australian and West Adelaide Best and Fairest winner Zoe Venning. Both would be strong selections for the Power, whilst Lauren Breguet and Tahlita Buethke were other AFLW Draft Combine invites who could be looked at for the state’s newest club.
In terms of top-age talents, Port Adelaide might look to its rival Adelaide’s Academy in 2022, with North Adelaide duo Hannah Ewings and Amelie Borg, and West Adelaide’s Keeley Kustermann looming at the three top picks in the state 12 months out from the draft. Whilst South Australia has plenty of depth in the crop, the trio are top-end talents, with Ewings a Breakthrough Award winner, and Kustermann and Borg both capped at Under 19s level – a carnival Ewings missed due to an ankle injury.
Across the league, the likes of Sharnie Whiting as a key position player, and Jessica Bates and Ellie Kellock out of Glenelg’s premiership side could be readymade talents, and Central District duo Katelyn Rosenzweig – a one-time Crows listed player – and Chantel Reynolds up forward who both impressed inside 50. Jorja Hooper is a draft-eligible talent tall forward out of South Adelaide who might come in as a consideration, whilst the likes of Tessa Kohn, Isobel Kuiper and Shelby Smith have played consistent football over the last couple of years as inside ball-winners.
There is no shortage of talent in South Australia, and Port could well be immediately competitive in the AFL Women’s, with a great blend of experienced and young talent, particularly if Phillips is that headline marquee player.
Picture credit: Port Adelaide FC