Author: Peter Williams

2020 NAB League Girls – Full Fixture

NAB LEAGUE GIRLS FIXTURE:

Round 1:

Saturday, February 29:

Northern Knights vs. Calder Cannons at RMIT Bundoora, 10.15am
Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power at RMIT Bundoora, 12pm
GWV Rebels vs. Sandringham Dragons at City Oval, Ballarat, 11.30am
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Western Jets at QEO, 11.30am

Sunday, March 1:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges at Beaconsfield, 11am
Murray Bushrangers vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Wangaratta, 1pm

Round 2:

Saturday, March 7:

Northern Knights vs. Geelong Falcons at RMIT Bundoora, 11.30am
Western Jets vs. Murray Bushrangers at RMIT Bundoora, 1.15pm
Sandringham Dragons vs. Bendigo Pioneers at Highgate Rec Reserve, 12pm
Calder Cannons vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Highgate Rec Reserve, 1.45pm
Tasmania Devils vs. Oakleigh Chargers at North Hobart, TBC

Round 3:

Saturday, March 14:

Northern Knights vs. Dandenong Stingrays at RMIT Bundoora, 11am
GWV Rebels vs. Western Jets at Mars Stadium, 11.30am

Sunday, March 15:

Gippsland Power vs. Sandringham Dragons at Churchill, 11am
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Calder Cannons at Epsom Huntly, 1pm
Eastern Ranges vs. Tasmania Devils at Kilsyth, 1pm

Round 4: 

Saturday, March 21:

Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Trevor Barker Oval, 9.30am
Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power at Trevor Barker Oval, 11.15am
GWV Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Mars Stadium, 10.45am
Northern Knights vs. Eastern Ranges at RMIT Bundoora, 11am
Calder Cannons vs. Tasmania Devils at Highgate Rec Reserve, 11am
Geelong Falcons vs. Bendigo Pioneers at Deakin Uni, Geelong, 1.30pm

Round 5:

Saturday, March 28:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Bendigo Pioneers at Deakin Reserve, 11am
Geelong Falcons vs. GWV Rebels at GMHBA Stadium, 12pm
Gippsland Power vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Morwell, 3.30pm

Sunday, March 29:

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets at Trevor Barker Oval, 9.30am
Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons at Trevor Barker Oval, 11.15am
Sandringham Dragons vs. Tasmania Devils at RSEA Park, 2.15pm

Round 6:

Friday, April 3:

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets at Highgate Rec Reserve, 6.30pm

Saturday, April 4:

Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Kilsyth, 1pm

Sunday, April 5:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power at Epsom Huntly, 10am
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons at Epsom Huntly, 11.45am
Murray Bushrangers vs. GWV Rebels at Epsom Huntly, 1.30pm
Tasmania Devils vs. Northern Territory at TBC, 11.15am
Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights at Trevor Barker Oval, 3pm

Round 7:

Saturday, April 18:

Tasmania Devils vs. Bendigo Pioneers at North Hobart, 10am
Gippsland Power vs. Eastern Ranges at Morwell, 11.15am
Murray Bushrangers vs. Calder Cannons at Wangaratta, 12.15pm
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Geelong Falcons at Warrawee Park, 1pm

Sunday, April 19:

GWV Rebels vs. Northern Knights at Mars Stadium, 11.15am
Northern Territory vs. Western Jets at Northern Territory, TBC

Round 8:

Friday, April 24:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons at Shepley Oval, 7.30pm

Saturday, April 25:

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights at Warrawee Park, 10.30am
Calder Cannons vs. Geelong Falcons at Highgate Rec Reserve, 12.15pm

Sunday, April 26:

Tasmania Devils vs. Murray Bushrangers at UTAS, 10am
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Northern Territory at QEO, 10.15am
Eastern Ranges vs. Western Jets at Kilsyth, 1pm
Gippsland Power vs. GWV Rebels at Shepley Oval, 3pm

Round 9:

Saturday, May 2:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. SUNS Academy at Shepley Oval, 10.30am
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Lions Academy at Shepley Oval, 12.15pm
Geelong Falcons vs. Eastern Ranges at Deakin Uni, Geelong, 12pm

Sunday, May 3:

Tasmania Devils vs. GWV Rebels at UTAS, 9.30am
Western Jets vs. Sandringham Dragons at Williamstown, 10.30am
Gippsland Power vs. Calder Cannons at Morwell, 11am
Murray Bushrangers vs. Northern Knights at Wangaratta, 12pm

Round 10:

Saturday, May 9:

Geelong Falcons vs. Sandringham Dragons at Werribee, 11am
Western Jets vs. GWV Rebels at Werribee, 12.45pm
Eastern Ranges vs. Murray Bushrangers at Box Hill, 12.15pm

Sunday, May 10:

Tasmania Devils vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Dial Park, Penguin, 9.30am
Gippsland Power vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Morwell, 11.15am
Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers at Preston, 12.15pm

Week 1 Finals: Saturday, May 16 (Werribee)

SF1: 1st vs. 4th
SF2: 2nd vs. 3rd

Week 2 Finals: Saturday, May 23 (Werribee)

Grand Final: Winner SF1 vs. Winner of SF2

2020 NAB League Boys – Full Fixture

2020 NAB LEAGUE BOYS FIXTURE:

Round 1:

Saturday, March 21:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power at Trevor Barker Oval, 1pm
GWV Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Mars Stadium, 2.30pm
Geelong Falcons vs. Bendigo Pioneers at GMHBA Stadium, 2.45pm

Sunday, March 22:

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets at Mars Stadium, 10am
Northern Knights vs. Eastern Ranges at Mars Stadium, 12.30pm
Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Mars Stadium, 3pm

Round 2:

Saturday, March 28:

Gippsland Power vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Morwell, 1pm
Murray Bushrangers vs. Bendigo Pioneers at Deakin Reserve, 3pm
Lions Academy vs. Tasmania Devils at Blacktown, 11am
Swans Academy vs. SUNS Academy at Blacktown, 1.30pm
GIANTS Academy vs. Northern Territory at Blacktown, 4pm

Sunday, March 29:

Western Jets vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Ikon Park, 11am
Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons at Trevor Barker Oval, 1pm
Geelong Falcons vs. GWV Rebels at Central Reserve, 1.30pm
Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights at RSEA Park, 4pm

Round 3:

Saturday, April 4:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power at QEO, 10am
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons at QEO, 12.30pm
Murray Bushrangers vs. GWV Rebels at QEO, 3pm
Lions Academy vs. SUNS Academy at Gold Coast, 11am
GIANTS Academy vs. Swans Academy at Blacktown, 12pm

Sunday, April 5:

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons at Trevor Barker Oval, 10am
Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Trevor Barker Oval, 12.30pm
Northern Territory vs. Tasmania Devils at TBC, 2pm
Western Jets vs. Northern Knights at Williamstown, 4pm

Round 4:

Saturday, April 18:

Geelong Falcons vs. GIANTS Academy at Werribee, 11am
Sandringham Dragons vs. Swans Academy at Werribee, 1.30pm
Tasmania Devils vs. Bendigo Pioneers at North Hobart Oval, 12pm
Murray Bushrangers vs. Calder Cannons at Wangaratta, 2pm
Gippsland Power vs. Eastern Ranges at Morwell, 1pm

Sunday, April 19:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. SUNS Academy at Shepley Oval, 10.30am
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Lions Academy at Shepley Oval, 1pm
GWV Rebels vs. Northern Knights at Mars Stadium, 1pm
Northern Territory vs. Western Jets at Northern Territory, 2pm

Round 5:

Saturday, April 25:

GIANTS Academy vs. Northern Knights at Blacktown, 10.30am
Swans Academy vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Blacktown, 1pm
Eastern Ranges vs. SUNS Academy at Box Hill, 10.30am
Western Jets vs. Lions Academy at Box Hill, 1pm
Calder Cannons vs. Geelong Falcons at Highgate Rec Reserve, 11am

Sunday, April 26:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons at Shepley Oval, 10am
Gippsland Power vs. GWV Rebels at Shepley Oval, 12.30pm
Tasmania Devils vs. Murray Bushrangers at UTAS, 12pm
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Northern Territory at QEO, 12pm

Round 6:

Sunday, May 3:

Tasmania Devils vs. GWV Rebels at UTAS, 11.30am

Round 7: 

Saturday, May 9:

Lions Academy vs. Calder Cannons at Brisbane, 11am
SUNS Academy vs. Sandringham Dragons at Brisbane, 1.30pm
Western Jets vs. Geelong Falcons at Williamstown, 11.30am
Eastern Ranges vs. Swans Academy at Box Hill, 2pm

Sunday, May 10:

Gippsland Power vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Morwell, 1pm
Tasmania Devils vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Dial Park, Penguin, 11.30am
Murray Bushrangers vs. GIANTS Academy at Albury, 1.30pm
Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers at Preston, 2pm
GWV Rebels vs. Northern Territory at Mars Stadium, 2pm

Round 8:

Saturday, May 16:

Calder Cannons vs. Tasmania Devils at Highgate Rec Reserve, 11.30am
Gippsland Power vs. Sandringham Dragons at Morwell, 1pm
Eastern Ranges vs. Geelong Falcons at Healesville, 1pm
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers at Shepley Oval, 2.15pm

Sunday, May 17:

Northern Knights vs. Western Jets at Preston, 10.30am
Bendigo Pioneers vs. GWV Rebels at QEO, 1pm

Round 9:

Saturday, May 30:

Tasmania Devils vs. Eastern Ranges at UTAS, 10.30am
Northern Knights vs. Geelong Falcons at Preston, 11am
Gippsland Power vs. Murray Bushrangers at Preston, 1.30pm
GWV Rebels vs. Calder Cannons at Mars Stadium, 1pm

Sunday, May 31:

Western Jets vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Williamstown, 10.30am
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Bendigo Pioneers at Warrawee Park, 2.15pm

Round 10:

Friday, June 5:

Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers at RSEA Park, 6.30pm

Round 11: 

Saturday, June 13:

Gippsland Power vs. Tasmania Devils at Shepley Oval, 11am
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges at Shepley Oval, 1.30pm
Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights at Highgate Rec Reserve, 2pm

Sunday, June 14:

GWV Rebels vs. Western Jets at Mars Stadium, 11am
Geelong Falcons vs. Bendigo Pioneers at Mars Stadium, 1.30pm
Murray Bushrangers vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Wangaratta, 1pm

Round 12: 

Saturday, June 20:

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets at Highgate Rec Reserve, 11am
Tasmania Devils vs. Sandringham Dragons at Hobart, 11.30am
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Eastern Ranges at Warrawee Park, 2.15pm

Round 13 – Futures Round

Saturday, June 27:

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Preston, 10.30am
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Gippsland Power at Shepley Oval, 2.15pm

Sunday, June 28:

GWV Rebels vs. Geelong Falcons at Mars Stadium, 1pm
Western Jets vs. Sandringham Dragons at Williamstown, 1.30pm

TBC June 27/28:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Murray Bushrangers at Victoria Park, Echuca, TBC

Round 14 – Futures Round

Saturday, July 4:

Geelong Falcons vs. Western Jets at Werribee, 11am
Tasmania Devils vs. Oakleigh Chargers at North Hobart, 11.30am
Sandringham Dragons vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Trevor Barker Oval, 2.15pm

Sunday, July 5:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Calder Cannons at Swan Hill, 12pm
GWV Rebels vs. Eastern Ranges at Mars Stadium, 1pm
Gippsland Power vs. Northern Knights at Morwell, 1pm

Round 15:

Saturday, July 11:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Tasmania Devils at Wangaratta, 12pm

Round 16:

Saturday, July 18:

Eastern Ranges vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Trevor Barker Oval, 11am
Sandringham Dragons vs. Gippsland Power at Trevor Barker Oval, 1.30pm
Calder Cannons vs. Murray Bushrangers at Highgate Rec Reserve, 12pm

Sunday, July 19:

Tasmania Devils vs. Geelong Falcons at UTAS, 12pm
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Northern Knights at QEO, 1pm

Round 17:

Saturday, July 25:

Northern Knights vs. SUNS Academy at Ikon Park, 10.30am
Bendigo Pioneers at Lions Academy at Ikon Park, 1pm
GWV Rebels vs. GIANTS Academy at Mars Stadium, 11am
Geelong Falcons vs. Swans Academy at Mars Stadium, 1.30pm
Tasmania Devils vs. Western Jets at Blundstone Arena, 10.45am
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Dandenong Stingrays at ETU Stadium, Port Melb, 11am
Eastern Ranges vs. Sandringham Dragons at Box Hill, 1pm

Sunday, July 26:

Gippsland Power vs. Calder Cannons at Morwell, 1pm
Murray Bushrangers vs. Northern Territory at Highgate Rec Reserve, 1.30pm

Round 18:

Saturday, August 1:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Swans Academy at Werribee, 10am
Gippsland Power vs. GIANTS Academy at Werribee, 12.30pm
Geelong Falcons vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Werribee, 3pm
Tasmania Devils vs. Northern Knights at North Hobart, 11.30am
GWV Rebels vs. Sandringham Dragons, Mars Stadium, 1pm

Sunday, August 2:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Western Jets at QEO, 1pm
Murray Bushrangers vs. Eastern Ranges at Deakin Reserve, 1pm
Calder Cannons vs. Northern Territory, Highgate Rec Reserve, 2pm

Round 19:

Saturday, August 15:

Western Jets vs. Eastern Ranges at Werribee, 10am
Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights at Werribee, 12.30pm
Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers at Werribee, 3pm

Sunday, August 16:

GWV Rebels vs. Murray Bushrangers at Mars Stadium, 10am
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power at Mars Stadium, 12.30pm
Geelong Falcons vs. Dandenong Stingrays at Mars Stadium, 3pm

Wildcard Round – August 22/23 at Preston and Mars Stadium

4th vs. 13th
5th vs. 12th
6th vs. 11th
7th vs. 10th
8th vs. 9th

Week 1 Finals (Ikon Park) – August 29/30

Q1: 1st vs. Highest Ranked WC Winner
Q2: 2nd vs. 3rd
E1: 2nd WC Winner vs. 5th WC Winner
E2: 3rd WC Winner vs. 4th WC Winner

Week 2 Finals (Ikon Park) – September 5

SF1: Q1 Loser vs. E1 Winner
SF2: Q2 Loser vs. E2 Winner

Week 3 Finals (Ikon Park) – September 12

PF1: QF1 Winner vs. SF2 Winner
PF2: QF2 Winner vs. SF1 Winner

Grand Final (Ikon Park) – September 19

Winner of Preliminary Finals

2020 AFL Women’s team preview: Brisbane

AFTER back-to-back Grand Final losses, the off-season changes of 2018 hurt the Brisbane Lions in 2019, as the Lions missed finals for the first time in their history. Going through a mini-rebuild, the Lions continued the theme over the off-season given the poaching of players from cross-state rivals, Gold Coast SUNS. They have a number of reasons to be more optimistic heading into season 2020 with more youth walking in the door, and others having more opportunities to step up. They picked up a host of mature-age players at the AFL Women’s Draft to compliment the youth, and a couple of players are returning from long-term injuries. They are a year away from being a serious contender, but similar to the AFL Lions, expect these Lions to roar to life and provide plenty of excitement this year.

KEY PLAYER:

Jess Wuetschner (forward turned defender)

With plenty of turnover at the club, the Lions fans will look to the experienced players left and someone like Wuetschner packs out a stadium. She is a classy and talented forward who played in defence during the QAFLW and Winter Series and could line-up down there with reliable defender, Kate Lutkins. If thrown forward fans know she can turn a game on its head and hit the scoreboard, making her a headache for whichever opponent has to stand her.

RISING STAR:

Lily Postlethwaite (midfielder)

This midfield gem is not just one to be considered a Brisbane Rising Star, but one of the potential contenders overall. Despite often playing against opponents taller than her, Postlethwaite packs a punch and never takes a backwards step. She has good decision making, covers the ground well and will always look for the team option. She is a player who will be popular at the club, and captained Queensland last year at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships on the back of a huge 2018 where she was named best-on in each of the Series Two of the championships. A back-to-back All-Australian.

WATCH FOR:

Sophie Conway (forward)

The classy forward missed 2019 with a season-long knee injury but has been working diligently to be ready for 2020. Considered one of the best players from her draft year, Conway is 170cm and can play forward or through the midfield but most importantly has a bag of tricks with ball-in-hand. Her fitness and work ethic is just as impressive as her technical ability and while there are plenty of players you could name here, she could be the perfect player to slot into a Brisbane side that had a lot of turnover last season.

CONFERENCE OPPONENTS: Adelaide, Geelong, Gold Coast, GWS GIANTS, North Melbourne, Richmond.

FIXTURE:

Round 1 – vs. Adelaide
Round 2 – @ Geelong
Round 3 – @ Gold Coast
Round 4 – vs. GWS GIANTS
Round 5 – @ Fremantle
Round 6 – vs. Collingwood
Round 7 – @ Richmond
Round 8 – vs. North Melbourne

A tough draw all things considered, with a trip out west to face Fremantle and hosting bogey team Collingwood as the crossover games do not help. Where the Lions finish will be largely determined early in the season with a first-up game at home against reigning premiers, Adelaide. Back-to-back road trips against Conference rivals Geelong and Gold Coast, and a home game against GWS GIANTS, of whom all three are likely to be in the mid-to-bottom end of Conference A. To make finals they realistically will need to win all three of those games, or head into Round 5 with a 3-1 record.

PREDICTION: 5th/6th in Conference A

Losing so many players over the past two off-seasons is always going to be tough, but with the expansion now complete for the SUNS, the Lions know they can begin the process of retaining the players they currently have. The influx of youth and some crucial leaders will guide the club through the season, but Brisbane fans should be patient as success will not happen overnight, particularly with the likes of two-time premiers Adelaide and one of the title contenders in North Melbourne in the Conference.

2020 AFL Women’s team preview: Adelaide

LAST year’s premiers and the clear top side in the AFL Women’s short history, Adelaide heads into season 2020 with a couple of huge question marks. Two of their best players are out with long-term knee injuries in dual MVP Erin Phillips and co-captain Chelsea Randall. They leave two massive holes to fill in a side with enviable depth but the hope is still there for Phillips to return at some point during the season. If they can manage to fill those roles without too much upheaval in the line-up, the Crows are still a great chance to make finals and push for a third flag in four years.

FULL ADELAIDE TEAM LIST WITH JUMPER NUMBERS

KEY PLAYER:

Ebony Marinoff (Inside Midfielder)

It is hard to believe the star midfielder has only just turned 22 last year, and is still a few years away from potentially hitting her prime. A genuine elite talent already, Marinoff can do it all through the midfield and in the absence of Phillips and Randall on-field, she can lead her Crows to another finals series. Her attack on the ball and ability to push through adversity and win games off her own boot – as shown in her return to the SANFL Women’s late last year – are among her greatest strengths.

RISING STAR:

Montana McKinnon (Ruck/Key Forward)

Watch out for the next big star when it comes to key position players, with McKinnon able to seamlessly slot into the Crows’ rotation. They might not throw her straight into the mix against bigger-bodied and more experienced rucks, but McKinnon can fill the role of Phillips up forward and provide a marking target. Her best attributes are her contested marking and her ability to compete at ground level which she showed for South Adelaide in the SANFL Women’s, as well as for South Australia at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships where she was named in the All-Australian team.

WATCH FOR:

Chloe Scheer (forward)

AFL Women’s spectators got a glimpse of what the talented forward was capable of last year, so expect her to follow up her efforts with a big season this year. Having missed her top-age year due to a knee reconstruction, Scheer was drafted as an over-ager and did not disappoint in season 2019. There is unlikely to be any second year blues from Scheer, who along with a young forward line has the potential to be a leading goal kicker in the future. A perfect example of the next group of AFL Women’s stars coming through the ranks.

CONFERENCE OPPONENTS: Brisbane, Geelong, Gold Coast, GWS GIANTS, North Melbourne, Richmond.

FIXTURE:

Round 1 – @ Brisbane
Round 2 – vs. St Kilda
Round 3 – @ Geelong
Round 4 – vs. Carlton
Round 5 – @ Kangaroos
Round 6 – vs. GWS GIANTS
Round 7 – @ Gold Coast SUNS
Round 8 – vs. Richmond

Realistically, the Crows have a fairly decent draw, with the challenge undoubtedly being back-to-back games against grand finalists Carlton, then travelling to North Hobart in Round 5 to face the Kangaroos. Both these sides will eye off finals, and with North Melbourne also falling in their pool, it will be a tough couple of games. Outside of those matches, Adelaide would be favourites to win fairly well, though do not discount Geelong in Round 3, and potentially Richmond in Round 8 if the Tigers are up and running.

PREDICTION: 2nd/3rd in Conference A

The Crows might be missing a couple of elite talents, but their best 21 is the greatest in the league and given the mix of experience and youth, goal scoring power and defensive prowess, it would be a surprise not to see the Crows make the finals again. North Melbourne is tipped to top the conference given how it went last year, but the Crows are in the next couple with both Carlton and Geelong considerations after their finals seasons. The new sides in Gold Coast and Richmond have talent on the board but it will be easier to read once the season has started.

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Aussie Rules Draft Central: Thank you

AFTER completing our seventh year, Aussie Rules Draft Central stepped up to another level in 2019. The team here at Draft Central have worked exceptionally hard throughout the year to produce high quality content and cover a range of leagues across the country and we would like to thank everyone for showing their support this year.

We increased our coverage in the newly-named NAB League, as well as providing coverage of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) and West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts. Midyear, we covered the Under-18 Championships and Under-16 Championships. The number one AFL Draft site peaked in November 2019 with a 30 per cent increase of visitors from the previous year, as our team of writers expanded across the nation and produced more than 200 draft profiles made accessible to the public. Throughout the 2019 AFL Draft, we held a live draft chat for anyone to interact with our team through Facebook, while also producing our first podcast, The Final Siren, which had almost 70 episodes this year.

For the second consecutive year, we produced an AFL Draft Guide, with more content and profiles, including a review of the AFL Women’s Draft for the first time. In the female football space, we interviewed more than 100 aspiring footballers throughout the year, with attendance at the NAB League Pre-Season Testing Day, AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships and NAB League Girls in 2019. Draft Central also increased its coverage across the nation with weekly reviews and previews for the SANFL Women’s competition, as well as the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s.

Looking ahead to 2020, there is plenty to be excited about from an AFL Draft space, as well as the footballing landscape. We will continue our coverage of the Under 18s competitions, with a greater focus on those in South Australia and Western Australia, as well as covering the state leagues in more detail. From a female football perspective, we will be covering the AFL Women’s once again, and go more in-depth with the SANFL Women’s and VFL Women’s competitions this year.

We have plenty of exciting initiatives and changes coming up in 2020, with some new site features and plenty of regular content, get excited for Draft Central to go to another level again.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: West Coast

WEST Coast might have the biggest question mark against itself for the 2020 AFL Women’s season. It is not a question of talent – the names on the Eagles’ list attest to that – but it is more a question of how the team will adapt to the structures in place and with one another purely because of the four expansion sides, West Coast is the only side not to have played together. St Kilda and Richmond both had VFL Women’s sides, Gold Coast had a Winter Series team, while West Coast has picked up a host of experience and youth from all over the country and it will be fascinating to see how the coaching staff throw the team together and see how fast they can jell at the elite level.

The Eagles were quick to list a couple of young stars on their list back in January, with Mikayla Bowen a standout prospect from Western Australia’s Under 18s, while Rosie Deegan is a talented dual-code basketballer. When the expansion club period opened in April, West Coast immediately went straight to the top, snaffling Fremantle star, Dana Hooker, whilst also convincing former Dockers, Ashlee Atkins, Melissa Caulfield, Brianna Green and Courtney Guard to come across, along with GWS GIANTS’ talent, Emma Swanson. Swanson was soon joined by GIANTS teammate, Maddy Collier, as well as Dockers, Parris Laurie, Kellie Gibson, Alicia Janz, and Western Bulldogs’ Belinda Smith.

The Eagles were more than happy to hand over Pick 13 for Brisbane’s McKenzie Dowrick, then grabbed former West Australian Kate Bartlett from the Dogs, and Cassie Davidson from the Dockers for bargain basement prices. They pre-listed one of the unluckiest players not to be on and AFL Women’s list currently in Essendon’s Hayley Bullas at the end of August, along with local talents from the West Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) in Emily Bosner, Beatrice Devlyn, Ashton Hill, Danika Piscoceri and Emily McGuire. Rounding out the pre-draft list, the Eagles picked up twin sisters, Grace and Niamh Kelly from Gaelic football as rookies, as well as Rugby union player, Mhicca Carter.

The Eagles did not have a first round pick in the AFL Women’s Draft, selecting Imahra Cameron with the club’s opening selection down at Pick 19. They had previously matched a bid to pick up Academy athlete Sophie McDonald at Pick 39, then picked up locals Tarnee Tester and Katherine Orme – the latter of whom was able to post about her own recruitment as the social media coordinator at the club. West Coast wrapped up the draft with a couple of Hawthorn VFL Women’s teammates in former Crow and Demon, Talia Radan, and the best on ground in the 2018 VFLW Grand Final Chantella Perera.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Ashlee Atkins
Emily Bonser
Mikayla Bowen
Hayley Bullas
Imahra Cameron
Melissa Caulfield
Maddy Collier
Cassie Davidson
Beatrice Devlyn
McKenzie Dowrick
Kellie Gibson
Brianna Green
Courtney Guard (nee Stubbs)
Ashton Hill
Dana Hooker
Alicia Janz
Emily McGuire
Katherine Orme
Danika Pisconeri
Chantella Perera
Talia Radan
Belinda Smith
Emma Swanson
Tarnee Tester

Rookies: Mhicca Carter, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly
Inactive list: Rosie Deegan (basketball)

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Cassie Davidson – Talia Radan – Belinda Smith
HB: McKenzie Dowrick – Sophie McDonald – Emma Swanson
C: Dana Hooker
HF: Melissa Caulfield – Kellie Gibson – Ashlee Atkins
F: Kate Bartlett – Emily McGuire  – Tarnee Tester
R: Parris Laurie – Mikayla Bowen – Emily Bonser
INT: Maddy Collier – Hayley Bullas – Imahra Cameron – Alicia Janz – Brianna Green

EMG: Danika Pisconeri – Beatrice Devlyn – Chantella Perera

DEPTH: Courtney Guard, Ashton Hill, Katherine Orme, Mhicca Carter, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly, Rosie Deegan

By far, the West Coast line-up is the hardest to predict for 2020, with plenty of depth through the midifield and defensive end, but more medium and small forwards than talls. They have a number of ruck options who might develop into key forwards, but the Eagles’ strength lies in its inside ball winning ability and danger at ground level once in side 50.

Hooker is the standout player in the side, though the youth of Bowen, Dowrick and McDonald will add to the future, while Swanson and Gibson are quality players on their day. The Eagles will head into the season as one of the underdog teams and hard to predict given their relative lack of matchday experience, but they have a good base for the future.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: St Kilda

IN the next of our expansion club AFL Women’s off-season reviews, we take a look at St Kilda. The Saints are a side that was able to secure a number of former Southern Saints VFL Women’s players that managed to earn places on other AFL Women’s lists, whilst picking up some talent from other sides, and plenty of local youth in the process.

Prominent midfielder, Alison Brown was the first official signing, which was followed by pre-listing teenagers, Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon from the Dandenong Stingrays. Southern Saints quartet, Kate Shierlaw – formerly of Carlton – Olivia Vesely, Caitlin Grieser and Sammie Johnson all earned places on the list. Former Southern Saints players, Alison Drennan, Rhiannon Watt, Courteney Munn and Selena Karlson all returned to Moorabbin, complemented by the recruitment of Collingwood’s Darcy Guttridge, Brisbane’s Nat Exon, Melbourne’s Cat Phillips and Adelaide’s Jessica Sedunary.

The Saints were also able to add further experience to the list, willing to trade Pick 11 in the AFL Women’s Draft for Kate McCarthy from the Lions, while departing with Pick 9 for Emma Mackie and a couple of top 30 selections. Claudia Whitfort was the final player to join the Saints during the trade period, crossing from the Dees, before adding veterans, Melissa Kuys and Tilly Lucas-Rodd in free agency. Clara Fitzpatrick and Poppy Kelly crossed from Gaelic football and basketball respectively to line-up for the Saints’ VFLW team this season, and then with four selections in the top 30, picked up the incredibly classy Georgia Patrikios, experienced Hawk Rosie Dillon, speedy Nicola Xenos, and Under-18 All Australian at age 16, Queenslander Tarni White. Rounding out the team, the Saints selected veteran ruck Tamara Luke, and experienced Norwood midfielder Hannah Priest, before passing in the AFL Women’s Draft to snap up North Adelaide captain, Nadia von Bertouch.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Alison Brown
Rosie Dillon
Alison Drennan
Nat Exon
Clara Fitzpatrick
Caitlin Greiser
Darcy Guttridge
Sammie Johnson
Selena Karlson
Poppy Kelly
Melissa Kuys
Tilly Lucas-Rodd
Tamara Luke
Emma Mackie
Kate McCarthy
Molly McDonald
Courteney Munn
Kelly O’Neill
Georgia Patrikios
Cat Phillips
Hannah Priest
Jess Sedunary
Isabella Shannon
Kate Shierlaw
Olivia Vesely
Nadia von Bertouch
Rhiannon Watt
Tarni White
Claudia Whitfort
Nicola Xenos

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Claudia Whitfort – Clara Fitzpatrick – Melissa Kuys
HB: Darcy Guttridge – Selena Karlson – Nicola Xenos
C: Molly McDonald
HF: Georgia Patrikios – Kate Shierlaw – Nat Exon
F: Kate McCarthy – Courteney Munn – Caitlin Greiser
R: Rhiannon Watt – Alison Brown – Alison Drennan
INT: Jess Sedunary – Tilly Lucas-Rodd- Isabella Shannon – Olivia Vesely – Tarni White

EMG: Sammie Johnson – Emma Mackie – Rosie Dillon

DEPTH: Poppy Kelly, Cat Phillips Tamara Luke, Kelly O’Neill, Hannah Priest, Nadia von Bertouch

St Kilda seem to have gone with a real youth and experience approach, with players nearing the end of their careers, as well as a lot who are just starting. They used the AFL Women’s expansion period to fill holes in the mid-range age bracket area, but it will be the excitement of their youth coming through that will be the eye-catching area of their side. Much like any of the expansion clubs, it is hard to work out how they will front up in Round 1 and play out throughout the year, but expect them to pile in the youth where possible, with Patrikios, Xenos, McDonald and Shannon all getting plenty of games, and White is another player who should get a crack early on upside alone.

The Saints will rely a lot on the experience of their smaller players in Kuys and Lucas-Rodd to hold down the fort in defence in what is either an inexperienced or young defence that will come good with a full season. Guttridge could be a huge inclusion for the Saints off half-back, while up forward, McCarthy is an underrated pick. Their spine might not have a huge name attached, but a lot of the hard working midfielders will make sure to get the ball out to the youthful runners adding that X-factor.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Gold Coast

IN the first of our four AFL Women’s expansion clubs off-season reviews, we take a look at the Gold Coast SUNS, the second Queensland team to join the competition. The SUNS already have a healthy rivalry with Brisbane given the Winter Series that has been a source of competition during the off-season, as well as plenty of Academy players playing alongside those from the Brisbane Academy in the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships.

Being an expansion side, the SUNS were able to pre-list nine players prior to the AFL Women’s Draft, and as early as February, opted for Charlotte Hammans, Ellie Hampson and Kitara Whap-Farrar. All three justified their pre-listings with strong Under-18 carnivals this year, including Hampson taking out Queensland’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Along with the trio, the SUNS opted for more experience in locals, Maddy Roberts, Molly Ritson and Kate Surman, whilst grabbing Lauren Aherns from Essendon and Tayla Thorn from NT Thunder after both plied their trade in the VFLW. Taylor Smith was the final pre-listed SUN after a strong performance in the Winter Series.

Gold Coast was equally busy in the pre-listing period, announcing North Melbourne’s Jamie Stanton as a signing, who was the first experienced player on the list. They then raided Brisbane across the board with plenty of talent, as names such as Sam Virgo and Leah Kaslar headed south down the highway, while Gold Coast also snapped up Jasmyn Hewett from Adelaide. Serene Watson became the first player to be selected by Gold Coast in an AFL Women’s Draft with the Under-18 All Australian defender set to line-up from Round 1. Dee Heslop was the other Queensland player to earn a spot on the list via the draft, while Alexia Hamilton and Georgia Breward are former Eastern Allies representatives and 19-year-olds.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Lauren Ahrens
Lauren Bella
Georgia Breward
Hannah Dunn
Tiarna Ernst
Tori Groves-Little
Alexia Hamilton
Charlotte Hammans
Cheyenne Hammond
Ellie Hampson
Dee Heslop
Jasmyn Hewett
Jordann Hickey
Kalinda Howarth
Leah Kaslar
Paige Parker
Brittany Perry
Emma Pittman
Jade Pregelj
Sally Riley
Molly Ritson
Maddy Roberts
Taylor Smith
Jamie Stanton
Kate Surman
Tayla Thorn
Sam Virgo
Serene Watson
Kitara Whap-Farrar
Jacqui Yorston

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Cheyenne Hammond – Tayla Thorn – Sam Virgo
HB: Leah Kaslar – Tiarna Ernst – Serene Watson
C: Jamie Stanton
HF: Paige Parker – Taylor Smith – Kitara Whap-Farrar
F: Jordann Hickey – Tori Groves-Little – Sally Riley
R: Lauren Bella – Hannah Dunn – Ellie Hampson
INT: Jasmyn Hewett – Brittany Perry – Jacqui Yorston – Charlotte Hammans – Kate Surman
EMG: Jade Pregelj – Dee Heslop – Molly Ritson

DEPTH: Kalinda Howarth, Maddy Roberts, Lauren Ahrens, Georgia Breward, Alexia Hamilton. Emma Pittman

All fans have to go by heading into 2020 for the Gold Coast SUNS is the Winter Series, and it was not surprising to see the magnets being thrown around to trial out players in different positions in order to find combinations that work. Expect the defence to be fairly experienced with the likes of Ernst, Virgo and Kaslar standing up back there, while Sally Riley and Jordann Hickey provide some AFL Women’s experience to an inexperienced forward half.

Teenage talents, Watson, Whap-Farrar, Hampson and Hammans should all work their way into the best 22 from early-on, while the likes of Smith, Heslop, Breward and Hamilton offer some great excitement particularly in the forward half. Stanton will likely be the leader on-field given her extensive AFL Women’s resume, and while the SUNS are a developing side and unlikely to challenge the top sides, do not be surprised if they surprise a few teams with their run and carry style that will likely come from the strengths of their playing group.

NTFL Men’s Premier League weekend preview: Round 11 – Buffs and Saints to battle it out in game of the round

THE final Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League round prior to the Christmas break takes place tomorrow with three teams jostling for second spot, while a loss for others could just about mean curtains on their season.

TIWI BOMBERS vs. WANDERERS
Saturday, December 14, 1.30pm
Tiwi Oval

Round 11 kicks off on the Tiwi Islands with the Bombers hosting Wanderers in a fifth against sixth clash. The Bombers are now six points clear of the Eagles, and are just four points and percentage behind fourth placed Darwin. A win to the Bombers and loss to the Buffs would see Tiwi draw level for a top four spot heading into the Christmas break. The Wanderers desperately need a win too however, with the season slowly slipping away. Considered a proverbial “eight-point game”, the Eagles would slip 10 points adrift of the top five and make it difficult with seven rounds remaining in the new year. A win however, and the Wanderers move within two points of a finals spot. The Bombers have started to build some form in the second half of the season, winning three of their past four games, and only losing the fourth by a goal to reigning premiers and ladder leaders, Nightcliff. The Wanderers grabbed the points the last time these two teams met, but have gone cold over the past month, dropping four consecutive games – albeit to three of the top four teams. What makes the Wanderers’ task more difficult is the fact young star Joel Jeffrey is unavailable, having booted 19 goals in seven games thus far this season. Liam Jurrah (six goals) is also missing, meaning a lot of the scoring prowess will fall on Davin Ferreira‘s (nine) shoulders. Braedon McLean is a player Wanderers has been able to rely on all season, while Dray Thompson and Beau O’Connell provide good support between midfield and attack. The biggest advantage the Bombers have over a lot of sides is their ability to spread the load. They have the most players that have run out this season, but Dion Munkara (14 goals) and Austin Wonaeamirri (13) are the two most prolific goalkickers. With Jason Puruntatameri and Adam Tipungwuti always providing experience and X-factor in the front half, it will be hard to look past the Bombers in this game.

DARWIN BUFFALOES vs. ST MARY’S
Saturday, December 14, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin Buffaloes will turn to some added Victorian Football League (VFL) experience when Port Melbourne star, Shannen Lange runs out for the Buffs tomorrow afternoon. Lange joins former teammate, Ryan Pendlebury at the Double Blues. The pair will provide plenty of run through the middle and allow Daniel Stafford (14 goals from six games) and Christopher Williams to go to work up forward. The Buffs went down to Tiwi Bombers last weekend by 14 points, closing the gap between fourth and fifth. Prior to that, Darwin had knocked off Wanderers, Waratah and Palmerston respectively, but will now look to bounce back and regain that form. A win to the Buffs could potentially see them grab third, and with a large enough win, even second given their opponents hold a four-point, eight-per cent advantage on them. Along with their fresh talent, the Buffaloes will also look to Patrick Boles and Isaac Seden-Kurnoth to provide some strong support. The Saints have been enjoying a strong season in 2019/20 thus far, bouncing back from a lean few years to be a genuine contender and place themselves with a 7-3 record one round out from the Christmas break. A win would ensure the Saints retain second spot, while a loss could see them slip as far as fourth. Jackson Calder has been named in the side and will look to add to his 15 goals from four games this season, while Nathaniel Paredes continues to establish himself as one of the top NTFL players this year. Shannon Rioli is also a danger inside 50, the recently signed Williamstown recruit, Kieren Parnell provides slick kicking skills off half-back, while former North Melbourne and Carlton key forward Jarrad Waite and former GIANTS and Essendon player Shaun Edwards have also been named for their third and second games respectively which means there is plenty of former AFL and current VFL talent on show in the game.

WARATAH vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, December 14, 4.00pm
Gardens Oval

An absolutely stacked Southern Districts side will travel to Gardens Oval in a bid to head into the Christmas break with a win, and possibly second spot when it takes on Waratah tomorrow evening. The Crocs have loaded up on former AFL talent, with Richard Tambling, Michael Barlow, Ed Barlow and Jeff Garlett all named in the side, which could spell trouble for Waratah. The Warriors sit seventh with just three wins from 10 games, but the good news for the side is that all the three victories have come in the past five rounds. Excluding an embarrassing 123-point shellacking at the hands of St Mary’s a fortnight ago, the Warriors were able to knock off Tiwi Bombers, Wanders and Palmerston – albeit the three sides that are around them in the bottom four. The Warriors will need the likes of Kim Kantilla (19 goals) and Abe Ankers (16) to really fire, while Henry Kerinaiua and Matthew Blake have also been a consistent feature in the home side’s team this year. There is no doubting the task to try and knock off Southern Districts is massive, even outside the obvious top-end AFL talent. William Farrer (23 goals in eight games) is in terrific form, while Sam Barnett (17 goals) and Josiah Farrer (10 goals) are also among the key scorers. The Crocs will keep an eye on the earlier game, because if Darwin can topple St Mary’s, then Southern Districts can snatch second spot ahead of a well-earned break.

NIGHTCLIFF vs. PALMERSTON MAGPIES
Saturday, December 14, 7:00pm
TIO Stadium

In what is predicted to be the most one-sided contest of the weekend, bookend sides Nightcliff and Palmerston Magpies go head-to-head tomorrow night at TIO Stadium. The reigning premier Tigers are expected to make light work of the winless wooden spoon favourite Magpies, having already passed the test against Tiwi Bombers, Darwin Buffaloes and Southern Districts in the past month. Excluding a 25-point defeat at the hands of St Mary’s in Round 7, it is hard to find flaws in the Tigers’ premiership defence. The same cannot be said for Palmerston, with the Magpies clearly bottom with an 0-10 record and 26 per cent below the two lowest percentage sides. A fortnight ago the Magpies almost stunned finals-bound Darwin, but fell four points short, and the three games either side of that gallant effort saw a combined deficit of 199 points. Broderick Church has been the Magpies’ highest goal scorer this season with seven majors, alongside Nigel Lockyer Jnr who has only managed the three games. Keidan Holt-Tubbs has slotted six goals in seven games, whereas every other player has two or less. By comparison, Nightcliff has seven players in double-figure goals thus far. It is no surprise to see Trent Melville up the top of the list again with 20 goals from 10 games, and Cameron Illett (15 from nine) and Michael Bricknell (12 from 10) not far behind. Brodie Filo has also been a star in the six games he has played, booting 10 goals and named in the best four times. Kaine Riley will be one of the league best and fairest contenders, named in the Tigers’ best eight of a possible 10 times, while Daniel Bowles has also been consistent. For the Magpies, Jack Berry, Adam Diamond and Sandy Brock have earned the most plaudits from coaches, in what has been an otherwise disappointing start to the season. Neither side can move from its spot regardless of the result, but all signs point to Nightcliff in a fairly easy win here.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Adelaide

REIGNING premier Adelaide is a deserving favourite of chasing its third AFL Women’s flag in four years after keeping together an already impressive list, and adding a host of young and experienced stars to its roster. There were plenty of tears when two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Erin Phillips went down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the 2019 AFL Women’s Grand Final, and just as many recently when Chelsea Randall suffered the same injury that has now ruled her out of the 2020 season.

But through some shrewd recruiting, the Crows picked up the only other MVP winner in the AFL Women’s short history, with former GWS GIANTS’ star Courtney Gum returning back to South Australia after retiring, then opting to give the elite level another crack. Along with Gum, Montana McKinnon will provide the immediate relief for the loss of Jess Allan who headed to the GIANTS due to work, while Jess Sedunary was the only other player to leave for another club, joining St Kilda. Rheanne Lugg and Sally Riley both found second homes through free agency, while Jenna McCormick retired to focus on her international soccer career. Joining the club along with McKinnon through the draft were 2019 Under-18 All Australians, Jaimi Tabb and Madison Newman, while versatile talls, Caitlin Gould and Chelsea Biddell add some much needed depth to the Crows – especially now Randall has gone down. The other two recruits were South Adelaide ball winner, Nicole Campbell, and the best South Australian women’s player in the state league in Najwa Allen who crossed to the state for the 2019 season and showed just how talented she is through the midfield.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Montana McKinnon, Nicole Campbell, Courtney Gum (South Adelaide), Najwa Allen (Norwood), Jaimi Tabb (WWT Eagles), Caitlin Gould (Glenelg), Madison Newman, Chelsea Biddell (West Adelaide)
OUT: Jess Sedunary (St Kilda), Jess Allan (GWS GIANTS), Rheanne Lugg, Sally Riley, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Sarah Perkins (delisted), Jenna McCormick (retired)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Sarah Allan
Najwa Allen
Chelsea Biddell
Nicole Campbell
Dayna Cox
Courtney Cramey
Angela Foley
Jessica Foley
Renee Forth
Nikki Gore
Caitlin Gould
Courtney Gum
Anne Hatchard
Eloise Jones
Sophie Li
Ebony Marinoff
Montana McKinnon
Rhiannon Metcalfe
Justine Mules
Madison Newman
Erin Phillips
Danielle Ponter
Marijana Rajcic
Chloe Scheer
Jaimi Tabb
Stevie-Lee Thompson
Deni Varnhagen
Ruth Wallace

Rookie: Ailish Considine
Inactive list: Hannah Martin (ACL), Chelsea Randall (ACL), Maisie Nankivell (netball)

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Dayna Cox – Sarah Allen – Justine Mules
HB: Courtney Cramey – Marijana Rajcic – Angela Foley
C: Courtney Gum
HF: Danielle Ponter – Chloe Scheer – Erin Phillips
F: Eloise Jones – Stevie-Lee Thompson – Deni Varnhagen
R: Jessica Foley – Anne Hatchard – Ebony Marinoff
INT: Renee Forth – Najwa Allen – Ailish Considine* – Courtney Cramey – Montana McKinnon
EMG: Jaimi Tabb – Rhiannon Metcalfe – Sophie Li

DEPTH: Chelsea Biddell, Nicole Campbell, Nikki Gore, Caitlin Gould, Madison Newman, Ruth Wallace, Hannah Martin*, Chelsea Randall*

*ACL injuries

It is clear the Crows have enviable depth on their roster with a ridiculous amount of talent that is hard to squeeze into the side. Adelaide might opt to begin blooding more young players in season 2020, as the likes of Courtney Cramey, Rhiannon Metcalfe, Sophie Li and even Phillips come towards the twilight of their careers. The huge question will be whether or not Phillips can return in time for the start of the season, but if not, you can be sure she will run out at some stage such is the elite professionalism and determination of the athlete.

Expect names such as McKinnon and Allen to push for a Round 1 spot, with Gum the other obvious choice if fit. The loss of Randall is huge, meaning Marijana Rajcic might have to play taller, or they opt for a team defence. Caitlin Gould could also slot in there, but is likely to take time to adapt to the level, with Newman, Tabb and Nikki Gore others one can expect to feature at some stage. The Crows have plenty of ‘Plan Bs’ with Biddell a readymade key forward option, much like Campbell in midfield, and then there’s the ruck experience of Metcalfe just waiting in the wings. From the dominant midfield to the firepower up forward, this side is every chance to go back-to-back and no-one will be surprised if the super-human athlete in Phillips makes it back for an early return.