Tag: daisy bateman

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: North Melbourne

HAVING made a splash in its inaugural season, North Melbourne had a relatively quiet trade and draft period, retaining the majority of its list and heading to the draft just looking to top up with some readymade talent to go one better than in 2019 and make finals – hopefully pushing for a flag. The Kangaroos lost Jamie Stanton to her third AFL Women’s club, moving back to Queensland to play with the Gold Coast SUNS, whilst Alison Drennan and Courteney Munn returned to their roots by taking up a spot on St Kilda’s inaugural list. The Roos delisted four players, with none bigger than Mo Hope, whose career has been in the spotlight, but now she is taking time off for personal reasons.

In the draft, the Roos pulled a shock selection at Pick 10, taking mature-age midfielder Ellie Gavalas to be the first non top-age selection in the AFL Women’s Draft. Along with Gavalas, the Roos picked up Carlton’s Sarah Wright and from their own backyard, Tahni Nestor, who moved from Hawthorn to Melbourne University over the off-season. A couple of Tasmanians in the incredibly talented Mia King – who arguably could have been a top 10 selection – and Abbey Green who both made their way from Launceston to the Roos under the affiliation with the Apple Isle. The other two inclusions were a couple of Gaelic football converts in Mairead Seoighe and Aileen Gilroy.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Mairead Seoighe, Aileen Gilroy (Gaelic football), Ellie Gavalas (Western Bulldogs VFLW), Sarah Wright (Carlton VFLW), Mia King, Abbey Green (Launceston), Tahni Nestor (Melbourne University)
OUT: Jamie Stanton (Gold Coast), Alison Drennan, Courteney Munn (St Kilda), Mo Hope, Georgia Nanscawen, Maddison Smith, Jessie Williams (delisted)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Sophie Abbatangelo
Kaitlyn Ashmore
Daria Bannister
Daisy Bateman
Nicole Bresnehan
Jenna Bruton
Jess Duffin
Jasmine Garner
Ellie Gavalas
Britt Gibson
Kate Gillespie-Jones
Abbey Green
Jasmine Grierson
Chloe Haines
Libby Haines
Danielle Hardiman
Emma Humphries
Emma Kearney
Elisha King
Emma King
Mia King
Taylor Mesiti
Tahni Nestor
Tahlia Randall
Ash Riddell
Jess Trend
Sarah Wright

Rookies: Aileen Gilroy, Beth Lynch, Mairead Seoighe

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Jasmine Grierson – Danielle Hardiman – Jess Trend
HB: Jess Duffin – Tahlia Randall – Britt Gibson
C: Emma Kearney
HF: Daisy Bateman – Jasmine Garner – Sophie Abbatangelo
F: Daria Bannister – Kate Gillespie-Jones – Kaitlyn Ashmore
R: Emma King – Jenna Bruton – Ellie Gavalas
INT: Ash Riddell – Elisha King – Sarah Wright – Mia King – Emma Humphries
EMG: Tahni Nestor – Taylor Mesiti – Nicole Bresnehan

DEPTH: Chloe Haines, Libby Haines, Abbey Green, Beth Lynch*, Aileen Gilroy*, Mairead Seoighe*

North Melbourne is lucky enough to head into season 2020 without any major holes to fill, retaining the majority of its list for the year ahead. They might have had to find another midfielder to slot into that onball role left by Stanton, which is why they recruited Gavalas and Wright, with Mia King in turn also likely to be thrown in there. They could move some of their players from defence or attack into that position, but by recruiting readymade midfielders, it allows the likes of Jess Duffin and Kaitlyn Ashmore to continue to play a role in their respective 50s. Kate Gillespie-Jones and Emma King will rotate from ruck to full-forward, with Jasmine Garner being a workhorse roaming in and out of the forward 50. With so many talented players running around at ground level, the firepower of the Roos is clearly notable.

Whilst the Roos did delist their equal leading goalkicker in Hope, they still have Emma King who will provide a strong marking presence and look to build on her eight majors from 2019. There are not many weaknesses in the line-up, and North Melbourne deserve to be one of the title contenders heading into 2020, with even their depth looking quite impressive and realistically more than 25 players capable of slotting into the starting team when the Roos can only pick 21.

VFLW weekly wrap: Finals Week 2 – Bulldogs earn 2019 Grand Final spot

THE Western Bulldogs progressed through to the 2019 Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Grand Final with a hard fought win over ladder leaders Collingwood, forcing the Pies to a preliminary final against the Southern Saints who claimed a 17-point victory over Melbourne Uni. The loss marks the end of the road for the Mugars, while the Dogs have earned a week off to prepare for the grand final.

COLLINGWOOD 0.4 | 1.6 | 1.8 | 1.8 (14)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.2 | 4.4 (26)

GOALS:
Collingwood:
C. Molloy.
Western Bulldogs: B. Lochland 2, S. Molan, N. McMahon.

BEST:
Collingwood:
B. Bonnici, J. Lambert, G. Buchan, S. Casey, C. Molloy, S. Layton
Western Bulldogs: N. Ferres, N. McMahon, A. Guest, K. McLeod, M. Sandral, K. Lamb

Despite registering more shots at goal, the Magpies simply could not convert while the Bulldogs punished them piling on the pressure and nailing crucial goals. The Bulldogs will be licking their lips able to sit back and relax this week after an impressive effort. With a spot in the grand final up for grabs, Collingwood came out hard peppering the goals and nudging ahead at half-time before the tables turned. The black and white did not manage a score in the final term, while the Dogs went on a scoring spree nailing two goals and clenching victory to progress through to the grand final. Collingwood missed Bri Davey who was a late out replaced by Sharni Layton. Davey’s absence around the stoppages was obvious but Brittany Bonnici flexed her muscles going in hard and winning the ball with nothing but sheer grit and determination with a game-high 22 disposals. Chloe Molloy did her part around the ground leading up at the footy and providing an option inside 50 albeit inaccurate in front of goal with 1.2 for the afternoon. Teammate Jaimee Lambert was electric across the field gathering 20 disposals with 13 of them kicks plus seven tackles. The Dogs had no shortage of stand out players with Brooke Lochland showcasing her explosiveness in front of goal with two majors along with 11 touches. Naomi Ferres was a beast around the contest notching up eight tackles and 13 possessions while highlighting her strong hands with four marks. Ellie Gavalas and Ashleigh Guest were both crucial for the Doggies with both players absorbing the pressure and thinking their way through the contest. The win sees the Western Bulldogs earn a spot in the final hoorah, while the Magpies will face off against the Southern Saints in hope to win their way into the grand final.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 3.1 |6.4 | 10.5 | 10.5 (65)
MELBOURNE UNI 2.1 | 5.2 | 5.3 | 7.6 (48)

GOALS:
Southern Saints:
C. Greiser 4, K. Shierlaw, H. Stuart, C. Phillips, E. Mackie, C. Munn, M. Kuys
Melbourne Uni: D. Bateman 2, J. Garner 2, A. Riddell, S. Abbatangelo, J. Bruton

BEST:
Southern Saints:
E. Mackie, C. Greiser, C. Phillips, T. Lucas-Rodd, O. Vesely, K. O”Neill
Melbourne Uni: K. Gillespie-Jones, J. Bruton, J. Garner, E. Kearney, A. Riddell, A. Runnalls

The Southern Saints skipped out to an early lead and did not look back maintaining the pressure throughout the four quarters. Despite not scoring in the last term the Saints did enough to establish a commanding lead and keep Melbourne Uni guessing, spurring them into the prelim. The Saints slotted four consecutive goals in the third term to all but end the hopes of the Mugars and although they did mount a fourth quarter comeback it was little too late. With only six disposals to her name Caitlin Greiser made the most of her chances posing a dominant threat inside the forward 50 with her lethal boot on full display. Greiser nailed four goals straight while applying a bucket load of forward pressure with five tackles. She was ably assisted by teammate Emma Mackie who slotted one major for the game to accompany her 20 touches and nine tackles. It was a comprehensive performance by the Saints midfield with Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Alison Drennan doing their part in close with 20 and 17 disposals respectively. Melissa Kuys also had the ball on a string with 17 touches, one goal and five marks showcasing her strength in the air while Rhiannon Watt was no mean feat competing hard in the ruck with 18 hit outs to her name. Ashleigh Riddell put on a show for Melbourne Uni going in hard and winning the ball at the coalface, notching up 30 disposals and a goal for her efforts. Emma Kearney and Jenna Bruton were both crucial for the Mugars who struggled to have their usual impact. Bruton slotted a major in the second quarter to keep her side in the hunt while also showing is not afraid to throw her weight around with seven tackles. In front of goals, Daisy Bateman led the way converting two goals straight credit to her lead up at the footy and goal sense. The loss ends the Mugars 2019 journey while the Saints keep marching on to play Collingwood in the preliminary final.

Magpies ready to swoop on second chance

FOR the second successive year, Collingwood heads into the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) finals series as the team to beat, sitting atop the table and claiming the minor premiership. But while that history repeats, coach Penny Cula-Reid is keen to ensure that the 2018 finals series history – which contained back-to-back losses and a straight sets exit – will not repeat. Cula-Reid said the “uneasy” nature of the AFLW season has the players determined to prove a point, and also take the learnings from last year in the VFLW to go deeper in 2019.

“I think the group itself has really evolved and developed from last year into this year, and same with AFL girls having such an uneasy AFLW season, coming into VFLW they really wanted to prove something and work on the things they needed to work on,” Cula-Reid said. “(We’re doing) nothing differently because I think that the girls have the experience knowing what it was like in the finals series. “Still going in with the mindset of anything is possible. “Obviously we wanted to make sure we have a winning mentality and making sure our mental game is strong. “We all know finals series are a completely different game and anything can happen on day, and it’s really important for us as a collective that we’re all doing it together.”

The Magpies have enjoyed welcoming a host of Oakleigh Chargers players who stepped up from NAB League Girls and AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships level to don the black and white stripes at VFLW level. Cula-Reid said their fast-tracked development compared to predecessors and current AFLW players was noticeable, and while the game style had been tweaked, it was the young “superstars” that were having an impact in 2019.

I still think the anti-density rule that something teams can expose if they know how to stick to a gameplan,” she said. “But really important, I think it’s just the game, you see these young 18-year-olds coming through and they’re just bloody superstars. “You get them when they’re coming off a championships up in Queensland and we’ve got, Gemma Lagioia, Nicola Xenos and Amelia Van Oosterwijck who unfortunately did her ankle, but these are the kids who have been playing high-level football at the highest possible level they can at such a young age and they just bring a completely different dynamic into our team. “We’re just really excited for them and all the other 18-year-olds who are playing through the finals series, and obviously the draft is coming up so no better time to see them in action than the finals series.”

The Oakleigh Chargers link is one that is going strong for the Magpies, with Cula-Reid working with the NAB League Girls club, to continue their development pathway up to the top level.

“It’s been great,” Cula-Reid said of the two club’s affiliation. “We’ve been very fortunate, especially last year. We had two girls from the Oakleigh Chargers in Katie Lynch and Daisy Bateman both getting drafted to teams, so fantastic exposure for them and I get the chance to go down to training, watch a few of their games, have a chat to their coach Luke (O’Shannessy), and it’s just great for us that we get that talent pool. “But we’re juggling the fact that they play private school football as well, so it’s a bit of a catch-22, we get some of the best talent, but we’ve also got to make sure their schooling is number one.”

The Magpies held the key to the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft with multiple first and second round picks to select the likes of Lynch and Mikala Cann. It is a very different looking story heading into 2020, with the club not making a selection until Pick 67. But considering what the Magpies brought in, Cula-Reid said it was worth the wait.

“We had a great recruit in Brianna Davey and I think for that, she’s worth all the draft picks in the world to be honest,” Cula-Reid. “What she brings to the team is phenomenal. “There’s so much young talent out there, the exposure and the opportunity to have access to the resources that we have at Collingwood and we’ve got some of the best coaches there, like Nathan Buckley who was coach of the year last year and we get to tap into the men’s system as well, so fantastic for us that we get that development from a coaching perspective and now we’ve got a new coach in Steve Symonds, and again his expertise in what he brings to the club … look out for us in 2020.”

Cula-Reid said the introduction of Symonds to the club was a massive benefit and that the pair worked well together in terms of their focus on development and coaching beliefs.

“He came in July, so it was sort of just a one person show until then,” she said. “But he’s taken Norwood to three grand finals, he’s worked in coach development, he’s worked in player development, he’s worked coaching at the highest level too, he’s coached at Adelaide as well. “We’ve very excited and very lucky and fortunate to have someone like Steve come in and he’s taken me under his wing, and like I’ve been saying to a lot of the people that we actually read from the same book, he’s just a few chapters in front of me. I come in to say good morning to him and we sit there for like 40 minutes just talking about football and I’m like ‘we haven’t even started my day yet and we’re already talking footy’ but he’s great having around the club. “Very invested, very involved with the girls, especially in the VFL program. “Obviously moving into the AFL program, he wants to build from here and move into the AFL season.”

Potentially the Magpies could look from within to find the next AFLW star, developing their current and possibly future AFLW players.

“It’s really important for our AFL girls to get experience and exposure in other positions, because on gameday anything can happen and to have that flexibility to throw them from one end of the field to the other, chuck them on the wing or inside mid, it’s part of their football development,” Cula-Reid said. “If we think footy IQ is really important, there’s no way better than if you’re a one-dimensional player, you’re not going to get many opportunities, but if we can throw you up one end of the field or the other, that’s great exposure for them and great development for them, and we’ve got such a young list that anything is possible with these girls, so we’re pretty excited about that.”

Now with the finals about to commence, Cula-Reid has squarely focused on the next month as the Magpies look to win their maiden VFLW premiership. While the Saints are the biggest threat to the Magpies on paper, Cula-Reid said any one of the finals sides could take out the premiership.

“You can’t go past Southern Saints,” she said. “They’re pretty phenomenal all season. “We only met them in Round 1, and unfortunately for us we only had 24 players to pick from on our list then, so I think this weekend’s going to be a different story but they’ve come in leaps and bound. “You can’t go past Richmond, lucky enough for us to win after the siren, and Geelong’s back in the finals series again, you’ve got Melbourne Uni also affiliated with North Melbourne and then you can’t go past any of the other teams in the competition, so anything can happen on the day.”

Collingwood hosts Southern Saints at their spiritual home of Victoria Park from 12pm on Saturday, August 31.

U18 Girls season preview: Oakleigh Chargers

AFTER not winning a game in 2017, Oakleigh Chargers powered to three wins in 2018, including an impressive victory over Gippsland Power in Round 1 – their opponents tomorrow. Female Talent Manager Jennifer Phefley said the girls were able to build on their initial season and put in some impressive performances throughout the year to hold them in good stead for 2019.

“Last season was, for me personally was the first time that I was working with the girls so I came up off from the boys program and it was really good to see the development of the girls over the space of time that we had,” she said. “We went about six months or so, maybe a bit more when you include pre-season, but it’s really exciting to see that development and how quickly it’s happening with the girls.”

Oakleigh finished the year with two draftees – Collingwood taking Katie Lynch and North Melbourne adding Daisy Bateman. Both girls had tasted Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) action with Collingwood in the 2018 season post-TAC Cup Girls. Phefley said the experience had built on their time at the Chargers and set them up for a successful transition into the AFL Women’s competition.

“We actually had Daisy come back to chat to the girls at the club and she said it’s a very big step and I’ve actually spoken to Katie as well – both are loving the challenge but it’s definitely still a very big step and as I said, just a good challenge for the girls that want to take that next step with their football,” Phefley said. “Absolutely (the VFLW experience helped the girls). “The thing is with junior footballers, boys or girls, it depends on their maturity in both their body and mind is set to how well they adapt at that next level and getting a taste of it as a junior is really important.”

Like a number of sides, Oakleigh focused its pre-season attention on strength and conditioning. It was an area of improvement identified last year, and Phefley said the girls were taking the changes in their stride. While they felt the team might have been less prepared for the 2018 season, the Chargers Female Talent Manager said 2019 was a different story.

“(It has gone) really well,” Phefley said. “We identified key areas at the end of last season that we wanted to develop on – particularly the strength and conditioning side of things. We found when the girls got onto the full-ground last year they were a bit under-conditioned so that’s been one of the main focuses in pre-season. “And then just things like overhead marking, ball skills on the ground – those sort of key areas that we’re seeing are really important skills to have when you move up through VFLW and into the AFLW. “I think the girls are feeling pretty confident in that they’ve prepared themselves the best they can. We’ve got a lot of new girls in the squad so I think there’s a bit of an exciting vibe from them that this is their first foray into the competition. So I think it’s a really good, positive vibe from all the girls.”

The top prospect to watch in season 2019 is the silky-skilled Gemma Lagioia who roams between the midfield and forward lines. Phefley said Lagioia was a smooth mover who has a game-turning ability.

“She’s been really good (in pre-season),” she said. “Obviously she’s an outside player so we’re working on those really clean skills. We had a practice match on the weekend and a couple of times she just kind of waltzed through and was able to get the ball really cleanly and it allowed us to come out the other side of the stoppage and take control of the game from that aspect.”

Emily Harley is a tall target who switches between forward and defence, and was recently named as vice-captain of the Chargers. Phefley said she might be in for a change of role in 2019, still playing forward but spending time in the midfield to use her stronger body to the teams’ advantage.

“She’s an interesting one,” Phefley said. “We probably would be looking at her as that tall big-bodied midfielder a bit, and also playing as a forward. “She’s got that massive kick, she’s a very powerful athlete so being able to utilise her assets in that matter – she’s very strong obviously in the contest and in stoppages.”

Phefley said the other player who could catch attention this season is 19-year-old Amelia Peck, who is the Chargers’ tallest player at 183cm. She is described as “very strong, (and) has got very good hands overhead and below her knees” and could become an important player for Oakleigh.

“They’re probably our top three in terms of top-agers this year, we’ve obviously got some other girls coming through and it’s just a matter of seeing how they progress in matches,” Phefley said. “We haven’t seen enough of them, or they’ve developed quite rapidly and so it’s just a matter of where they go from here.”

Looking beyond 2019, Phefley said there was a lot of developing talent at the club, with some players already showing leadership on and off the field.

“Our captain is actually a middle-age player, a 17-year-old – Mimi Hill,” she said. “Obviously she was voted in by the girls so she’s highly rated for her skills and the way she goes about her football both on and off the field. “So she’s definitely one that we’re keeping an eye on over the next two years. “(Others) we’ve got as bottom agers, they’re still quite raw but there’s definitely some exciting things there. “We’ve got Charlie Rowbottom, she’s actually the younger sister of James Rowbottom who was drafted last year, and she’s quite a strong big-bodied 16-year-old. “She’s developed and has got some really good upside, unlike a lot of other 16 year olds she’s got the body to play against the older girls so it’s just giving her confidence to break through packs and take on those bigger bodies.”

While Phefley has remained on board in the female space, long-time Male Talent Manager, Craig Notman headed to Tasmania to manage the new Tasmanian Devils side. A number of other talent managers switched allegiances, including Western’s Jy Bond who moved from the Jets to the Chargers over the off-season.

“It’s been good (having Jy Bond on board),” Phefley said. “Obviously Jy’s been a Charger himself so he’s really jumped in and he’s really enjoying the club. “There’s all our old stalwarts that were here when he was here so it’s been really good. “As it is when anyone new comes in, they bring their ideas, their fresh ideas and something new.”

Looking out to Sunday’s clash with Gippsland Power, Phefley said the team was raring to go, and wanted to bring the heat while building both individual and team development in 2019.

“We just want to improve on last year, so as long as we come out the other end having learnt a couple of things – obviously we’ve placed emphasis in our pre-season on our conditioning, being able to run out games, tackling, pressure around the ball, all those sort of things,” she said. “As long as what we’ve been training, we’re able to put into practice and develop along the way – that’s all we can really ask for.”

Draftee Watch: Round 1

IN our new weekly series Draftee Watch, we take a look at the top performing 2018 draftee from each AFL Women’s side to see how they have made the step up to the elite level. In Round 1, Geelong’s Nina Morrison and GWS GIANTS’ Alyce Parker won the Rising Star nominations.

Adelaide: Chloe Scheer

Scheer came into the competition as a great unknown coming off a 12-month knee injury. Her junior career is nothing short of accolade-ridden with multiple league best and fairests, renowned for her high footy IQ and goal sense up forward. She booted Adelaide’s only goal on the weekend and looked lively in a game that was tight defensively. Hannah Martin, Maisie Nankivell and Jess Foley were other Crows who ran out onto Norwood Oval for their first games.

Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick

The West Australian utility started her AFL Women’s career off strongly, notching up nine disposals in a solid first hit-out in Lions colours. She was one of many Brisbane debutants on the day, and along with the likes of Paige Parker, Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw and Lauren Bella, enjoyed the narrow win over GWS GIANTS.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis

The clear standout for the Navy Blues in a game they would like to move on from quicker rather than later. The top five selection had 13 disposals and laid five tackles in an imposing performance, regarded by the commentary team as the Blues’ top midfielder on the day. She had her work cut out for her, but there is no doubting her potential in the future. Former VFL Women’s players, Collingwood captain Jess Edwards (eight disposals, five tackles and a goal) and Hawthorn Rising Star Award winner, Jayde Van Dyk were others who held their own in the heavy loss to the Roos.

Collingwood: Erica Fowler

Mature-age draftee stories are often just as impressive as teenagers entering the AFL Women’s, and with Eliza Hynes out, Fowler shared the load with Sharni Layton in the ruck. Fowler notched up seven disposals. three marks and eight tackles on her way to 75 AFL Fantasy Points. Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann and Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen were among other Magpies who stood up in the loss to Geelong.

Fremantle: Parris Laurie

The 24 year-old Laurie was impressive in the heat across four quarters for the Dockers in their upset win over Melbourne at Casey Fields. Laurie notched up 10 disposals, one mark, six tackles and 66 AFL Fantasy Points to be the top performing Dockers debutant. If starts are anything to go by, the first quarter by Sabreena Duffy was out of this world, booting 1.1 and setting up another goal in what was a dominant first term, before finishing with nine disposals and 42 AFL Fantasy Points.

Geelong: Nina Morrison

Geelong had no shortage of young stars coming through the side, but Morrison produced a terrific performance worthy of her number one selection. Of the debutants in Round 1, Morrison recorded the most disposals and equal most tackles, with 22 and eight. She kicked what would become the winning poster on her way to 92 AFL Fantasy Points. Olivia Purcell (15 disposals, two marks and six tackles), Rebecca Webster (11 disposals and three marks) and Denby Taylor (eight disposals and one tackle) were others who stood out throughout the win over Collingwood.

GWS GIANTS: Alyce Parker

The Thurgoona product was sensational on the weekend in GWS GIANTS’ narrow loss to the Brisbane Lions. Behind Morrison, Parker was the next highest disposal winner of the draftees, and moved around the field like a veteran, amassing 18 touches, four marks and three tackles on her way to 63 AFL Fantasy Points. Haneen Zreika, a teammate of Parker’s at junior level, also impressed on debut with 15 disposals, one mark and three tackles, while Yvonne Bonner booted a goal in the loss.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks

The Gippsland Power co-captain was the sole Melbourne debutant in the Dees’ loss to Fremantle at Casey Fields on Sunday. Having booted two goals in Gippsland’s first ever Under 18s win at the ground 12 months prior, Hanks played up forward and amassed seven disposals and two tackles in a solid first-up performance.

North Melbourne: Nicole Bresnehan

It was fitting that Bresnehan was the top performing North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos player, with the Clarence local standing out at North Hobart. Bresnehan notched up seven disposals, two marks and two tackles in the Kangaroos’ huge win over Carlton, while former Oakleigh Chargers’ goal sneak, Daisy Bateman also had a taste of AFL Women’s action in the opening round.

Western Bulldogs: Eleanor Brown

The former Sandringham Dragons and Vic Metro winger played her role in the Western Bulldogs’ thrilling interstate win over Adelaide. Brown had five disposals, three marks and two tackles in the defeat, while Celine Moody – the sister of Carlton ruck, Breann – also enjoyed her first win.

AFLW season previews: North Melbourne

NORTH Melbourne’s recruiting strategy was a bold one, poaching players from all sorts of AFLW clubs. As a result, the Kangaroos did not do much damage in the draft, but still picked up some handy players to go with their experienced line-up.

List: Emma Kearney, Jasmine Garner, Jamie Stanton, Jess Duffin, Danielle Hardiman, Tahlia Randall, Jenna Bruton, Katherine Gillespie-Jones, Maddison Smith, Brittany Gibson, Daria Bannister, Ash Riddell,  Georgia Nanscawen, Elisha King, Kaitlyn Ashmore, Moana Hope, Emma King, Emma Humphries, Jasmine Grierson, Sophie Abbatangelo, Jessie Williams, Taylor Mesiti, Alison Drennan, Jess Trend, Nicole Bresnehan, Libby Haines, Chloe Haines, Courteney Munn, Daisy Bateman, Beth Lynch

The North Melbourne list has a total of four former Collingwood players, four Brisbane players, three Western Bulldogs players, two Carlton players and two Melbourne players. Out of their 30-player list, 15 players have already played AFLW, which will give the Kangaroos plenty of confidence heading into the season. They have also sourced some talented players from the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with Sophie Abbatangelo, Ash Riddell, Jess Trend, Courteney Munn, Alison Drennan and Beth Lynch, adding further depth to their talent pool. Top that off with some exciting Under 18 talent in Daisy Bateman, Chloe Haines and Libby Haines and North Melbourne has one of the strongest lists in the AFLW without even playing a game as a team.

Area of strength: Forward line

North Melbourne has recruited some big names in its forward line, led by former Collingwood forward, Moana Hope. This will be a big year for Hope who has copped criticism from her past two years of AFLW. Interestingly, she played no VFLW in the off-season so she comes into this AFLW season with fresh legs. She will be joined by Abbatangelo, who is arguably just as dangerous. She was dominant for Melbourne University in the VFLW and also knew how to rack up the disposals. Jasmine Garner is also likely to play inside 50, but has versatility to go back in defence as well. Add in Daisy Bateman, who came second in the TAC Cup Girls’ goal kicking, and kicked six goals for Collingwood’s VFLW side in 10 games, and North Melbourne has a pretty exciting line-up inside its forward 50.

Area of weakness: Defence

It is quite hard to find a weakness in North Melbourne’s line-up, but the structure of their defence is quite interesting. The Kangaroos have a lot of running defenders but could struggle when it comes to matching up on dangerous forwards such as Sabrina Frederick-Traub. Garner is a good-sized defender but inexperienced in the backline after spending half a season there for the Pies last year. Kate Gillespie-Jones has the strength to match up on a key position player, but her skills can sometimes disappoint. Tahlia Randall is the one who could potentially play that role but is also inexperienced.

Players to watch:

Sophie Abbatangelo

Abbatangelo was one of the first players recruited to North Melbourne and it’s not hard to see why. From eight games for Melbourne University, she averaged 15.6 disposals and also kicked four goals. Her best game came in Round 1 when she racked up 20 disposals against Geelong. Abbatangelo creates real excitement with the ball in hand and can excel both in the midfield and up forward. Given North Melbourne’s stacked midfield, Abbatangelo is likely to be used up forward for the 2019 season.

Alison Drennan

Alison Drennan was the equal winner of the Southern Saints’ Best and Fairest, along with Rhiannon Watt. She managed to rack up the disposals week in, week out, and used it well both by hand and by foot. A clever footballer that dominates on the inside, Drennan will be a key force in the North Melbourne line-up. She averaged 22.4 disposals per game, and racked up more than 20 touched on nine occasions.

Daisy Bateman

Daisy Bateman scored 14 goals in seven games for the Oakleigh Chargers in the TAC Cup Girls competition. Her best game came against the Bendigo Pioneers where she scored five goals. Bateman then went on to play for Collingwood in the VFLW and scored three goal on debut, proving she has what it takes against the bigger bodies. When representing Vic Metro, Bateman provided a great target up forward and read the ball well, often running out the back for a quick major, which is a trademark of her game.

2019 prediction: 3rd in Conference A

Although North Melbourne has a ready-made AFLW list, it’s always very hard for a new team to go straight into the finals in its first season. The Kangaroos do have a chance to get off to a good start, hosting the first ever AFLW match at Hobart against the Blues to open the season. Following that, they face the Giants, Bulldogs and Melbourne, which may prompt a wake-up call. Expect North Melbourne to be a high-scoring team with some firepower up forward, while the Haines twins should cause some havoc through the midfield and defence.

2019 North Melbourne AFLW Fixture

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North Hobart OvalRound 1
Drummoyne OvalRound 2
University of Tasmania StadiumRound 3
Casey FieldsRound 4
Avalon Airport OvalRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Fremantle OvalRound 7

Young guns shine in AFLW practice matches

FOOTY is back and it was welcomed by five AFL Women’s practice games on Saturday, which allowed fans to witness how teams were shaping up ahead of the AFLW’s season. While the results were secondary, there were plenty of eye-catching moments across the country with three games in Victoria, one in Queensland and one in the Northern Territory.

We take a look at how each game went down:

 

GWS GIANTS 3.1 | 5.3 | 9.6 | 11.9 (75)
BRISBANE 1.1 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 4.4 (16)

Layshon Park, Brisbane

GOALS:

GWS: Schmidt 3, Staunton 3, Bonner, Zreika, Gisu, Collier, Bennetts,
Brisbane: Wuetschner, McCarthy, Frederick-Traub, Dowrick.

Club wraps:

GIANTS thump Lions in AFLW practice match

Key points:

1 GWS could be the dark horse of season 2019

GWS could end up being a sneaky chance for the flag in 2019 if their form in the pre-season is anything to go by. Sliding up the radar perfectly and with no Phoebe McWilliams for the upcoming season, the GIANTS went about their business in terrific fashion, manufacturing goals from multiple sources, with Aimee Schmidt and Cora Staunton booting three apiece.

2 Brisbane take long-term approach

We have seen first hand the embarrassment of riches that Brisbane has at its disposal in Queensland, albeit having to share the youngsters once the Gold Coast side enters the competition in 12 months. On the weekend there was the likes of McKenzie Dowrick – who booted a goal on debut – and fellow All Australian, Lauren Bella who started in the ruck going up against another All Australian, but that at senior level in Erin McKinnon. A terrific showing of faith from coach, Craig Starcevich.

3 Cross-coders are as impressive as ever

You need not look far, but the likes of Taylah Davies, a former GWS GIANTS netballer was really strong in the air and looked at home with the oblong ball. With Staunton already showing the success of international recruits to the game, it will be great to see how many of the former netballers, basketballers and other sporting stars, can have an impact in season 2019.

 

GEELONG 0.1 | 3.3 | 6.3 | 7.4 (46)
CARLTON 2.0 | 3.1 | 5.1 | 7.2 (44)

Ikon Park, Carlton North

GOALS:

Geelong: McWilliams 4, Ivey, Clifford, Darby.
Carlton: Davey 4, Plane 2, Audley.

Club wraps:

Cats record impressive two-point win
Blues show plenty of promise

Key points:

1 Brianna Davey is a star

In case anyone had forgotten what the Carlton captain was capable of, the star midfielder who missed the bulk of the 2018 season played forward and was a standout. She booted four goals across the game and was a lively target, shaping as a third option outside of dynamo, Darcy Vescio and tall timber, Tayla Harris inside 50 for the Blues.

2 Phoebe McWilliams will cause serious headaches

Much like Davey, McWilliams is as damaging at ground level as she is in the air, and she showed it in her first game in the blue and white hoops. Since crossing from the GWS GIANTS in the off-season, McWilliams enjoyed a VFL Women’s premiership with Hawthorn, ironically against her new teammates. She fitted in well and looms as a potential leading goal kicker now the midfield kicking to her has some serious depth.

3 Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison showing what the fuss is about

We have promoted their abilities for the past 12 months, but Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison let their football do the talking in the match at Ikon Park. Prespakis was judged one of the best on-field, copping a hit and bouncing back, while Morrison was exciting and enjoyed a win with her new teammates. Prespakis and Morrison could be the AFL Women’s equivalent debate of Marcus Bontempelli and Patrick Cripps – both stars in their own way and huge futures for their respective clubs.

 

MELBOURNE 0.0 | 2.3 | 2.5 | 4.10 (34)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.1 | 1.2 | 7.2 | 9.2 (56)

Casey Fields, Cranbourne

GOALS:

Melbourne: Hore 2, Hickey, Scott.
North Melbourne: Hope 2, Abbatangelo 2, Bateman, Garner, Kearney, Riddell, C Haines.

Club wraps:

Cordner remaining positive
Report card: Practice match

Key points:

1 North Melbourne will be scary when they click

It is something the fans of the AFL Women’s competition feared when North Melbourne assembled a “dream team” of sorts, picking up reigning league best and fairest winner, Emma Kearney, and key Collingwood players in Mo Hope, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Jess Duffin among others. While Duffin was out playing for the Renegades, the Kangaroos had no troubles kicking a winning score. At first they did not manage to find the flow, but then booted six goals in the third term to storm away with the match.

2 Melbourne will take time

The Demons have lost one of the biggest names of the AFL Women’s competition – and she never even left the club. Daisy Pearce will sit out the 2019 season while she is pregnant with twins, and the Demons will search to fill that hole with a host of young up-and-coming players. They have recruited well with Tyla Hanks and Maddy Brancatisano among those who could step up into the Dees’ midfield, but the experienced side will just take a bit of time with a number of fresh faces coming through. Fatigue was another factor, according to Harriet Cordner, but Melbourne will still be a tough assignment this season.

3 Kangaroos forward line the best in the business

They might be brand new, but the fact VFL Women’s talents, Sophie Abbatangelo and Ash Riddell stepped up and showed no fear upon their senior level debuts shows even North Melbourne’s next tier of players will provide great depth in season 2019. While much is talked about their high profile recruits, adding in those players along with young talents, Daisy Bateman – who kicked the opening Roos’ goal – and Chloe and Libby Haines, shows that the side will have the depth to cover any injuries to their top stars.

 

BULLDOGS 1.1 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 5.5 (35)
COLLINGWOOD 0.2 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 4.4 (28)

MARS Stadium, Ballarat

GOALS:

Bulldogs: Brennan, Blackburn, McLeod, Hunt, Gamble.
Collingwood: Rowe 2, McIntosh, Hildebrand.

Club wraps:

Dogs score pre-season win over Magpies
Good signs in narrow loss to Dogs

Key points:

1 Western Bulldogs will be force again

While the Magpies do not have a great deal of support in regards to their flag chances, the Western Bulldogs looked ultra-impressive in their seven-point win over the Pies, having the ability to rest co-captain Ellie Blackburn in the second half after a superb first half. They shared the goals around and used precision kicking to hurt the Magpies.

2 Baby Magpies and cross-coders stand tall

They were always going to be inexperienced compared to the reigning premiers, but the Magpies draftees were impressive throughout the loss. Dandenong Stingrays’ skipper, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers talent, Katie Lynch were a couple of names raised by coach Wayne Siekman after the game, while cross-coders Sarah Rowe and Sharni Layton were very competitive in the forward half.

3 Dogs sweat on Lochland’s ankle

Leading goalscorer, and forward dynamo Brooke Lochland caused some worry amongst Dogs fans when she was taken from the field after a collision. While full results were yet to come at the time of publication, AFL Women’s reporter Sarah Black believed it was not as serious as first thought.

 

ADELAIDE 2.2 | 5.2 | 8.3 | 9.4 (58)
FREMANTLE 1.4 | 3.4 | 3.7 | 5.8 (38)

TIO Stadium, Darwin

GOALS:

Adelaide: Scheer 2, Thompson 2, Forth, A Foley, Varnhagen, J Foley, Phillips.
Fremantle: Antonio 2, Houghton 2, Bresland.

Club wraps:

New Crows impress in trial match victory
Freo challenged by Crows in Darwin

Key points:

1 Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer impact at either end

Young guns, Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer gave an indication they will be key players in Matthew Clarke’s Adelaide side this season, playing roles at either end. Ponter’s work out of defence using her slick skills to hit-up targets is different from her forward craft with Essendon VFL Women’s side, while Scheer was prolific up forward booting a goal and returning successfully from a knee injury that kept her from being drafted following her top-age year.

2 Fremantle will be competitive

With the amount of changes the Dockers have had, particularly with experience heading out the door and young talents walking in, it was always going to be tough against a premiership contender in challenging conditions. They looked solid early, but were outclassed in the third term before holding firm in the final stanza to avoid a blowout. The Dockers are a side that will be introducing plenty of new faces to the side in season 2019, so expect there to be some mixed results.

3 Crows talls go down

The win was somewhat soured by tall Crows, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Jasmyn Hewett, as they were forced from the field and will undergo scans during the week. It was the position that the Crows could ill-afford to lose, and will be sweating on the results. Given how strong the Crows are through the midfield, Adelaide will be keen to have a dominant force in the ruck giving the onballers first touch.

Feature Image credit: Arj Giese

AFLW Draft review: North Melbourne

NORTH Melbourne had a solid list even before the draft started, so it was interesting to see which direction the side would take in the AFL Women’s Draft. The Kangaroos picked up an exciting young trio and complemented them with some talented state league players, making them a side to watch in 2019.

 

What they needed:

  • More forwards to support Moana Hope and Maddison Smith
  • Another defender to support Katherine Gillespie-Jones and Danielle Hardiman
  • Midfield depth

 

Players selected:

Daisy Bateman – Oakleigh Chargers

Bateman lit up the TAC Cup Girls competition in 2018, coming second in the goal kicking and averaging the most goals per game. She continued her TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year form into the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, kicking five goals from four games to be named in the All Australian side. She also played six games for Collingwood in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, kicking 10 goals. That’s why it was surprising that she made the move to North Melbourne, after a successful stint with the Pies and the Chargers, who Collingwood has a strong connection with. She will be a great fit in the Kangaroos’ forward line with her ability to sneak behind the pack and out-mark bigger opponents.

Courteney Munn – Southern Saints

Courteney Munn is likely to be a focal point inside the North Melbourne arc. Standing at 182cm tall, she kicked 10 goals from 14 games with the Southern Saints this season in the VFLW. Munn was named in the best three times. She will complement the likes of Moana Hope and Maddison Smith well, providing some tall timber in what is set to be an exciting Kangaroos forward line.

Chloe Haines – Burnie Dockers

Chloe Haines was one of the Eastern Allies’ star players in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, patrolling the defensive 50. She has a great set of hands and a booming kick that often sees her side escape out of trouble. While playing for Burnie, Haines proved that she could head up forward and do some damage in the front half of the ground, kicking six goals in 12 games. She was also named in the best five times for Burnie, and featured twice during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Haines will provide great support for Gillespie-Jones and Hardiman in the back half of the ground.

Libby Haines – Burnie Dockers

Libby Haines likes to roam around the midfield, using her strength to power through congestion. She uses the ball well both by hand and by foot and can take a solid mark. She was an important player for the Eastern Allies and also contributed well for the Burnie Dockers in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s competition. She played 11 games for the Dockers and was named in the best five times. For the Eastern Allies, she was named in the best on three occasions. She will be able to add to the depth of Emma Kearney, Daria Bannister and Jenna Bruton in the midfield.

Nicole Bresnehan – Clarence Roos

Nicole Bresnehan had a consistent year for the Roos in the TSL Women’s competition. She was named in the best seven times out of her 14 games, and also chipped in with two goals for the season. She also spent some time with North Melbourne’s VFLW affiliate, Melbourne University, playing one game for the Mugars. Bresnehan is also a proven leader, vice-captaining the Roos this year. She is a utility who can contribute around the ground, adding to North Melbourne’s depth in terms of versatile players. Alongside Jasmine Garner and Jess Duffin, Bresnehan could thrive in Kangaroos colours.

 

How they went:

North Melbourne had one of the strongest lists going into the AFL Women’s Draft after a remarkable off-season that saw many star players being poached from their clubs. Now with a couple of exciting young talents to top it off, the Kangaroos are looking more threatening than ever. Daisy Bateman and Courteney Munn provide a good variety of size in the forward line to complement Moana Hope and Maddison Smith, while Chloe Haines is a good addition to the back 50. Her twin sister, Libby boosts the midfield and Nicole Bresnehan tops off a long list of versatile players. With this list, North Melbourne is set to excite many in its opening season of AFL Women’s.

2018 AFLW Draft Order

2018 NAB AFLW DRAFT ORDER

FIRST ROUND
1 Geelong – Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 Geelong – Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
3 Carlton – Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
4 Fremantle – Jasmin Stewart (Claremont/Western Australia)
5 Collingwood – Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
6 Melbourne – Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
7 Geelong – Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
8 Adelaide – Nikki Gore (South Adelaide/South Australia/Central Allies)
9 Brisbane –  Paige Parker (Coorparoo/Queensland)
10 Western Bulldogs – Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
11 Collingwood – Katie Lynch (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
12 Greater Western Sydney – Alyce Parker (Thurgoona Bulldogs/NSW-ACT/Eastern Allies)

SECOND ROUND
13 Collingwood – Mikala Cann (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
14 Geelong – Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
15 Melbourne . – Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
16 Carlton – Abbie McKay (father-daughter selection – Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
17 Fremantle – Sabreena Duffy (Peel Thunderbirds/Western Australia)
18 Collingwood – Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
19 Collingwood – Maddie Shevlin (Casey Demons)
20 Geelong – Denby Taylor (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21 Carlton – Jayde Van Dyk (Hawthorn VFLW)
22 Brisbane – Natalie Grider (University of Queensland/Queensland)
23 Western Bulldogs – Aisling McCarthy (Ireland)
24 Geelong – Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
25 North Melbourne – Daisy Bateman (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

THIRD ROUND
26 Western Bulldogs – Kate Bartlett (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
27 Carlton – Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
28 Fremantle – Phillipa Seth (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
29 Collingwood – Sophie Alexander (compensation)
30 Adelaide – Jessica Foley (Fitzroy/South Australia)
31 Melbourne – Jordann Hickey (NT Thunder VFLW)
32 Collingwood –  Georgia Gourlay (Casey Demons VFLW)
33 Brisbane – McKenzie Dowrick (Subiaco/Western Australia)
34 Western Bulldogs – Selena Karlson (Southern Saints VFLW)
35 Geelong – Rene Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
36 North Melbourne –  Courtney Munn (Southern Saints VFLW)

FOURTH ROUND
37 Adelaide – Chloe Scheer (Central District/South Australia)
38 Carlton – Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
39 Fremantle – Courtney Stubbs (Subiaco/Western Australia)
40 Carlton – Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints VFLW)
41 Adelaide – Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District/South Australia)
42 Carlton – Jessica Edwards (Collingwood VFLW)
43 Greater Western Sydney Brittany Perry (North Adelaide/South Australia)
44 Melbourne –  Shelley Heath (Southern Saints VFLW)
45 Brisbane – Lauren Bella (Bond University/Queensland)
46 Western Bulldogs – Jessie Davies (Western Bulldogs VFLW)
47 Geelong – Maighan Fogas (Geelong VFLW)
48 Adelaide – Danielle Ponter (Northern Territory/Central Allies)

FIFTH ROUND
49 Fremantle – Parris Laurie (Claremont/Western Australia) *Carlton passed this pick
50 Collingwood – Jordan Membrey (Wilston Grange/Queensland)
51 Adelaide – Hannah Martin (West Adelaide/South Australia)
52 GWS – Lisa Whiteley (South Adelaide/South Australia)
53 North Melbourne – Chloe Haines (Burnie Dockers/ Tasmania)
54 Brisbane – Tori Groves-Little (Coorparoo/ Queensland)
55 Geelong- Elise Coventry (Geelong VFLW)
56 North Melbourne- Libby Haines (Burnie Dockers/ Tasmania)
57 Fremantle- Laura Pugh (West Perth/Western Australia)
58 Greater Western Sydney- Ingrid Nielsen (UNSW Hawks)

SIXTH ROUND
59 Brisbane – Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw (Bond University /Queensland)
60 Geelong – Madeline Keryk (Geelong VFLW)
61 North Melbourne – Nicole Bresnehan (Clarence Roos/Tasmania)
62 Fremantle – Matilda Sergeant (Claremont/Western Australia)
63 Greater Western Sydney – Renee Tomkins (Auburn Giants/NSW-ACT)

SEVENTH ROUND
64 Fremantle – Ebony Dowson (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
65 Greater Western Sydney – Delma Gisu (Wilston Grange/Queensland)

EIGHTH ROUND
66 Greater Western Sydney – Haneen Zreika (Auburn Giants/NSW-ACT)
67 Collingwood – Erica Fowler (Collingwood VFLW)

NINTH ROUND
68 Fremantle – Ebony O’Dea (Adelaide University/South Australia)
69 Brisbane – Jacqueline Yorston (Wilston Grange/ Queensland) *compensation
70 Brisbane – Jade Ellenger (Coorparoo/ Queensland) *compensation

2018 AFL Women’s Draft Preview

TOMORROW marks another chapter in the rise of AFL Women’s with the third draft since the competition’s inception, and this year is likely to be littered with primarily youth players as the talent numbers increase at junior ranks. We take a look at tomorrow’s draft and answer some key questions you might have.

What time does it start?

The AFL website will stream the AFL Women’s Draft from 11.45am, with the official proceedings to get underway from midday. After initial speeches and welcoming, Geelong coach, Paul Hood will have the first two chances to read out the names of players to run out in the blue and white hoops.

Who will be pick one?

It was a race to the finish between Nina Morrison andMadison Prespakis – with a number of others putting their hands up – but expect the tackling machine from the Falcons, Morrison to be the first name called out after nominating Geelong as her region of choice, whereas Prespakis nominated Vic Metro.

Which players can teams select?

For the first time, there will be six Victorian sides heading to the draft, with Geelong and North Melbourne joining the league. Given it’s regional base, the fact AFL Women’s players are still on part-time contracts and the costs associated with committing to the competition, the Cats have the ability to select any player that picked the “Geelong only” region, or the “All of Victoria” region. The other five teams may select players from the “Vic Metro” region, or the “All of Victoria” region. For the interstate clubs, they select players that have nominated their state. With only one side in each state, it means they will head to the draft knowing which players they will add to their list – but still hold suspense for their fans!

Who are the names to look out for?

Aside from Morrison and Prespakis, who will likely be off the board early, other Victorians to keep in mind are Olivia Purcell (Geelong only), who will come into consideration at Pick 2, as will cricketer/footballer, Sophie Van De Heuvel, who has had interest from multiple clubs, including the Cats. Given Geelong is guaranteed to lock away Purcell, the Cats have the ability to select Van De Heuvel with Pick 2, and then secure her for 2019 before the other Victorian sides enter the draft. Dandenong Stingrays skipper, Jordyn Allen, and Gippsland Power’s Tyla Hanks are the other two who have come into consideration in the first round early, with Collingwood and Melbourne waiting on exactly what Geelong will do with Pick 2, and Carlton with Pick 3. For Geelong fans, other names to look out for a bit later on are Georgia Clarke and Rebecca Webster, who both primarily play off half-back, with Webster also able to fill a role on the inside.

Across the country, Sabreena Duffy is the name that will be the big one for Fremantle fans, with the West Australian captain leading the team throughout her accolade-littered junior career and will join the purple army. Nikki Gore has been the name whispered throughout South Australia this year, and the Crows will be very excited to have her on board, while Alyce Parker is the steal of the draft at Pick 12, with the Thurgoona Bulldogs star right up with the top couple of players in the draft crop. The Brisbane Lions have an interesting dilemma on their hands with both ruck, Lauren Bella, and utility, McKenzie Dowrick, worthy first round picks after the latter chose to leave Western Australia and nominate for Queensland. North Melbourne also has first access to Tasmanian players as part of their arrangement coming into the league, so twin sisters, Libby and Chloe Haines will be high on their radar, as could Lauren Stevenson as the three players from the Apple Isle who have stood out the most this year.

What about mature-agers?

There are still plenty of mature-agers floating about that will slot into AFL Women’s sides at the draft. Jayde Van Dyk is a young star who took out the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Rising Star Award. There was talk of her potentially going Pick 1, and while it is hard to see Geelong not choosing the Falcons poster girl, Van Dyk could well come into consideration at Pick 2, or perhaps Pick 7 depending on the level of interest from other clubs. While the list of region choices is not publicly available, the fact the talk about her potentially going Pick 1, meant there is a hint she might have selected the “All of Victoria” region.

Outside of Van Dyk, others who have shone in the VFL Women’s who were not already picked up are Essendon hardnut, Hayley Bullas, who was a tackling machine, and named in the VFL Women’s Team of the Year. She is sure to attract interest from clubs after her superb season, as is Richmond’s Alice Edmonds who was also named in the Team of the Year on the bench. Collingwood’s Jess Edwards comes with high regard for her leadership and versatility, with the South Australian recruit sure to be another coming into consideration for clubs, including the Magpies.

Who is already drafted prior to the draft?

There are three players who have already been selected in the AFL Women’s Draft after being subjected to a bidding process. Abbie McKay, the first ever father-daughter selection was picked up by Carlton with Pick 16, after matching a bid for the tough, inside midfielder. Meanwhile, Collingwood has picked up two of it’s VFL Women’s players in Team of the Year representative, Sophie Alexander and Erica Fowler. Alexander drew a bid from Melbourne at Pick 31 – the only Victorian team between Collingwood’s two picks – that has cost the Magpies Pick 29. Fowler did not draw a bid and was penciled in Round 9, with the final selection of the AFL Women’s Draft – Pick 70.

Some players worth keeping an eye on their names throughout the draft?

The first place to look is the AFL Women’s Academy, which holds the players who have been identified as some of the top talents prior to this season. Emerson Woods blitzed the testing at the AFL Women’s Draft Combine and will be one that might come into consideration in the early stages of the draft, while ruck, Rene Caris is the standout tall from Victoria, and Georgia Macpherson is a rebounding defender who can play tall or small. Courtney Jones has shown an ability to play at either end or through the middle, while Denby Taylor will not stray too far from the Falcons homebase when she lands at Geelong.

There are those teenagers who have impressed more at senior level, including Collingwood’s Daisy Bateman, Katie Lynch and Hannah McLaren, Williamstown’s Megan Williamson, Carlton’s Maddy Brancatisano, Hawthorn’s Mikala Cann and Southern Saints’ Eleanor Brown. For South Australia, Janet Baird and Danielle Ponter are classy players who could be Crows players by the end of tomorrow, while Courtney Hodder (Fremantle) whose AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships were ruined by injury, and Tori Groves-Little (Brisbane) are other AFL Academy players who will be considered.

Where can I find out more information about the players?

We have conducted 60 interviews with top-age players, including every Victorian representative in 2018. To hear their story in their own words, head to our AFLW Draft Features page.