Tag: Eleanor brown

U18 Girls season preview: Sandringham Dragons

DEALT a tough draw to open season 2018, Sandringham Dragons were 1-2 after going down to both of the eventual grand finalists in their first three games. Come the end of the regular season, the Dragons were unlucky to have just missed out on a grand final berth as they built some serious momentum and finished in third at 7-2. Girls Head Coach, Tamara Hyett said her side was unfortunate not to meet those teams with some form under its belt, but built into the season well and marks it as a success given the immense personal development shown by individual players.

“You try and develop a really good rapport amongst the players and it just took us a couple of rounds to get going but I think ideally you try and compete against the best when you’re at your best and unfortunately we weren’t in the first couple of rounds,” she said. But I think we proved that we were a good side by season’s end. “From where we came from, from day one and especially Round 1 to how all of our players developed throughout the season, I think it was good reward with the finishing result, just missing out on the grand final. I think the pleasing thing was that every girl improved throughout the season – you measure success by individual improvement, well at least we do, and so it was a successful year.”

The respective journeys of the Dragons’ two eventual draftees serve as evidence of that individual improvement, as both Eleanor Brown and Abbie McKay now boast AFL Women’s experience. Brown grew on and off the field throughout the year and made the wing her own on the back of pure dedication – something Hyett says the Dragons staff were deeply impressed by.

“Eleanor had a stand-out year on the wing and every game she just grew in confidence – from someone who was quite reserved and shy, to then becoming quite vocal, backing herself going for marks and things like that was great to see and I think she’s someone that we probably had to hold back a bit because she wanted to work and wanted it so bad that she was doing probably too much with extra sessions and things like that. But it was just rewards for the effort and improvement that she showed across the year,” she said.

A more natural footballer with the pedigree to suggest so, McKay has gone on to become the AFLW’s first ever father-daughter draftee, as well as the first father-daughter pick to grace the field as she ran out for Carlton in Round 4. Given talent aside, Hyett said McKay showed great determination to improve once she realised how far she could go.

“(Abbie) is a natural footballer so if she wanted to get drafted, she’d get drafted, and she did. I think she realised how good she could be, especially playing for Victoria at the championships – she’s just a natural footballer. A pretty driven girl internally, doesn’t show much externally but internally she’s pretty driven and we saw on the weekend that she made a seamless transition really into AFLW so that’s a credit to her and her ability to want to improve and want to be out there,” she said.

In a team sense, Hyett is not looking to change much heading into the new season – sighting fundamental skills as a key area for fast-tracking the development of each player, while also giving them the freedom to express themselves on-field.

“We’re probably focused a little bit more on the fundamentals because we have had a whole new batch basically and I don’t think you can do enough skills work. As far as the structure of the program, it’s very similar, we’re very lucky we’re well resourced with our strength and conditioning department and also the physios and things like that,” Hyett said. “I think from a pure footy sense that something we’ve focussed more on is the fundamentals and we want the girls to play with flair – I think that’s one thing that we’ve changed since we’ve just given the girls license to go off and show us what you can do, we want to see them at their best, not playing a defensive style at all.”

Should the new top four finals structure have been in place last year, the Dragons may have been better poised to challenge Geelong and Northern than they were earlier in the season, but they are set to face a similar fate as a clash with the reigning premiers awaits in Round 1. Hyett is not fazed by the challenge though, with promising players coming on across each age group set to put them in good stead for the early-season bout.

“I think it’s the best thing (playing Geelong), you want to see where you’re at early in the season and playing the defending champions is an ideal first round match-up for us and it’ll be a good gauge. Hopefully the work we’ve done in the off-season and from last year has been good and you never know but success is not really measured in wins and losses but I think a lot of our girls have grown and hopefully that’ll show up on Sunday,” she said.

Leading the pack are three outstanding top-age talents, with a raft of middle-agers also set to poise Sandringham as one of the competition’s stronger sides. A solid pre-season has built on the already admirable fitness base of those leaders, with each Dragon looking to keep standards at a relative high.

“I think the pleasing thing was that the girls that are backing up from last year have, as of day one of pre-season, come back improved physically – fitness-wise and also the fundamentals skill-wise,” she said. “Then we’ve got a really good balance of new young players as well as some top-age players who have come in so I think it’s a really balanced squad and hopefully we can all gel together and go really well.

Skipper Molly Denahy Maloney is one who sets the tone for her teammates in training and on matchday.

“I think our captain leads by example. She just grows and grows every session, she’s a fantastic leader who sets the standard physically and vocally as well,” Hyett said. “On and off the field when she speaks, everyone listens and her skills and determination I think will set her up for a really good year.”

Fellow top-agers, Margie Purcell and Sophie Rothfield are also coming on strong, impressing Hyett with their mix of grit and class while taking their games to the next level.

“Someone like Margie was pretty raw last year – started half-forward and ended up rotating on a wing,” she said. “Her game’s gone to the next level, her skills, her outside run and she’s really tough.
“She’s a really great pressure player, uses her speed without the ball but when she gets the ball in hand she takes off and adds a little bit of flair and toughness at the same time,” she said. “Then you’ve got someone like Soph’ who’s just got natural talent and if she puts it all together, anything’s possible – she’s got raw talent.”

A raft of middle-age talent is also something Hyett is excited by, with a range of players filling out the core of the team and looking to make a real impact.

“Girls like Alice Burke who won our best and fairest, they’re just constantly improving and learning about footy,” Hyett said. “So, footy IQ and their game sense is increasing, as well as the foot skills so I think Alice is in for a good year, she’s part of our leadership group as well. “Someone like Eliza McNamara has unbelievable speed, she’s just an athlete… I think she wears bruises with pride but also her skills have improved out of sight – the same with Winnie Laing, tough as nails and her skills have improved as well.”

Sarah Hartwig is also one who has impressed, holding down a spot in the side as a 16-year-old last year. Hyett said her continual progress has been impressive in the back half, epitomising the overall squad growth shown in the skill stakes.
“Probably our number one defender, Sarah Hartwig who has still got two years in the program and she takes a key forward, backs herself and very rarely gets beaten,” she said. “So those girls have all gone to a new level too as far as skills go which is what we want them to improve on. They’re all really good athletes and just constantly improving on skills and footy IQ and game smarts.”

With a practice match win over the Knights to build on, Sandringham looks a contender once again and may well be a side to benefit from the new finals structure with a host of talent across the field set to hold them in good stead for 2019.

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

AFTER an exhilarating first round, which saw four of the five matches go down to the wire, teams prepare to tweak game styles or mix up team sheets in order to get an advantage over their opponents. Four of the first round losers face off, with Melbourne heading to Victoria Park on Saturday to face the Magpies, while Carlton hosts Adelaide at Ikon Park on Sunday. The two sides who head home without any points face an uphill battle in the race for finals action. The fifth losing side from Round 1, GWS GIANTS has its own mammoth effort – trying to take down North Melbourne who simply blitzed Carlton. A maximum of three sides can remain undefeated after Round 2 with first round winners, Geelong and Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle and Brisbane facing off over the weekend.

GWS GIANTS vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Friday, February 8, 7.15pm
Drummoyne Oval

In the opening game of the round, new side North Melbourne fresh off a huge victory over Carlton, head to Drummoyne Oval to face the GIANTS. The GIANTS are playing just their second game at the venue, following a loss to the Blues this time last year. The battle within the contest is the All-Australian rucks going head-to-head with Kangaroos’ Emma King and GIANTS’ Erin McKinnon. North Melbourne’s midfield has great depth to it, lead by last year’s League Best and Fairest winner, Emma Kearney, Jamie Stanton, Jess Duffin and Ash Riddell, of whom the latter was ultra-impressive on debut. North Melbourne’s dynamic forward line features former Magpies, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope, premiership-winning Bulldog Jenna Bruton, and former Lion Kaitlyn Ashmore. With the strength around the ground, it will be hard to contain the Roos if they win the midfield battle.

The one area the GIANTS could get an upper hand is through rebounding forward with an equally impressive, albeit underrated forward line. Jess Dal Pos, former Magpie Christina Bernardi and defender-turned-forward Cora Staunton are all capable of multiple goals, while Haneen Zreika was impressive on debut last week. The midfield simply has to win its fair share of head-to-heads, with Courtney Gum, Rebecca Beeson, Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker leading the way, while Amanda Farrugia, Emma Swanson and Tanya Hetherington will have big jobs coming out of defence. The Kangaroos took a massive 56 marks in last week’s huge win over Carlton, while still laying 66 tackles. The GIANTS laid just the 42 and only five in the forward 50, and will need to show more pressure inside 50 against a side capable of hurting you on the scoreboard really quickly. Both teams are generally good ball users and make the most of their opportunities so it will be fascinating to see which team can take the early advantage and put it on the scoreboard. North Melbourne will head in as favourites, but it is far from completely clear cut, and this will be a huge win for the GIANTS if they can get the job done at home.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 0-1-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • Emma Kearney averages 20 disposals, 6.5 tackles, 4.5 clearances, four inside 50s and a goal against the GIANTS from two clashes.
  • Both AFL Women’s All Australian rucks are set to go head-to-head with Emma King taking on Erin McKinnon. In the battle between the pair last year, King won convincingly with 11 disposals and 18 hitouts to McKinnon’s three disposals and 14 hitouts.
  • GWS GIANTS’ only game at the venue resulted in a loss to Carlton last year, while North Melbourne looks to back up its only game – a huge win over Carlton last week.
  • The GIANTS have won two, drawn two and lost three games in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

 

COLLINGWOOD vs. MELBOURNE
Saturday, February 9, 4.45pm
Victoria Park

At one of the homes of traditional football, Collingwood hosts Melbourne in what has become a must-win for both sides. After heart-breaking losses in Round 1 despite leading at the final change, neither team can afford to go 0-2, with the reality that teams need at least four wins to secure a finals berth. A second loss means they must win four of their final five games as a minimum and with both still to play their respective conference favourites, it would spell trouble for their post-season hopes. However, for the winner, it is a chance to balance the ledger and get back on track early in the season. Collingwood has been a slow starter in year’s gone by, and has been overhauled with youth since last season, while Melbourne has also brought a number of young players into the team, furthering the development of players who got their starts last season. With both teams defensively capable, it will make for a great clash. The sides also sit at one win each in the head-to-head, funnily enough after the losing side in each game got a head start, but was run over the top of in the second halves.

Both teams have made two changes, with a debutant and a return from a long-term injury headlining the selection moves. Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch comes into the side after Sophie Alexander’s concussion last week ruled her out of the game. Kristy Stratton was also ruled out through injury, with the Magpies opting to go tall by bringing in Eliza Hynes to try and stretch the Melbourne defence when forward, while rotating with Sharni Layton and Eliza Fowler. Melbourne have brought in Ainslie Kemp who has not played since 2017 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear – sadly replacing Shae Sloane who suffered the exact same injury. The Dees have also brought in Ashleigh Guest for Claudia Whitfort. The key to victory for the Demons is restricting the run of Collingwood’s defence, which helped the Magpies hold up against Geelong last week with Ash Brazill causing all sorts of headaches, while Jordyn Allen was equally as impressive. They also need to clamp down on Jaimee Lambert who has the ability to turn a game with great plays, while Catherine Phillips could be the one asked to restrict Sarah D’Arcy from dominating in the air. For the Magpies, they need to be wary of Melbourne’s firepower with Tegan Cunningham and Eden Zanker likely to stretch the defence, while Aliesha Newman has pace to burn and both Kate Hore and Maddison Gay are capable of getting over the back and hurting teams on the rebound. Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen are up there with the best midfields in the competition, and will look to control the stoppages around the ground and give their forwards early opportunities.

H2H: Collingwood 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Collingwood 9.4 (58) defeated Melbourne 3.6 (24) at TIO Traeger Park, Round 4, 2018

After booting the opening two goals of the match and keeping Collingwood goalless in the opening term, the Demons only managed 1.4 for the rest of the match as the Magpies piled on 9.4 to run away with the match by 34 points. Magpies captain, Steph Chiocchi played one of her best games under lights, booting a goal from 17 disposals, two marks, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Jaimee Lambert had a team-high 19 disposals as well as three inside 50s and two rebounds. Caitlyn Edwards and Mo Hope both booted two goals in the victory, but arguably the best performance was that of Brittany Bonnici who tagged Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce and restricted her to a career-low nine disposals. For the Demons, Elise O’Dea was the top performer with 19 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Karen Paxman had 18 touches and three rebounds.

Fun facts:

  • Of the 42 players to take the field in last year’s clash in the Top End, just 24 players remain available for selection in season 2019. Even more remarkably, just eight players from Collingwood’s first match against the Demons – two years ago – remain on the list.
  • Elise O’Dea (17 disposals) and Karen Paxman (16.5 disposals) average the most disposals against the Magpies from their two clashes.
  • Sarah D’Arcy and Emma Grant average the most disposals against the Demons, with 10 touches apiece.
  • Both sides were in the lead at three quarter time after holding their opponent scoreless in the third term last week only to go on to lose the game in heartbreaking circumstances.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. GEELONG
Saturday, February 9, 7.15pm
VU Whitten Oval

H2H: Western Bulldogs 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 4-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

In the other game that will be the first time these teams go head-to-head is between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs and new side, Geelong. Both teams had a win in Round 1 and this weekend marks the first home game for the Bulldogs, which means they will unfurl the 2018 AFL Women’s flag in front of what is predicted to be a strong crowd at VU Whitten Oval. The winner will most certainly get an early advantage given the strength of their opponent, and it marks the first game for the sides which sees them pitted against a non-conference rival. Both teams also know how to close out tight games, having survived one-point thrillers in the opening round to secure the four points. Given their experience and depth across the field, Western Bulldogs will head in as favourites, but Geelong are expected to throw down a challenge with a couple of key players returning.

The Cats have welcomed back key forward, Phoebe McWilliams and ruck, Erin Hoare to bolster their side against the reigning premiers. Georgie Rankin and Maighan Fogas have been the two unlucky players omitted from the victorious side last Saturday night, with Fogas and key defender, Georgia Clarke named as emergencies for the clash. The Dogs will unveil Irish debutant, Aisling McCarthy who comes into the side, replacing the omitted Belinda Smith. The enticing battle will see which defence holds up the best as both sides proved to have their respective opposition’s measure last week. Co-captain, Katie Brennan booted the Bulldogs’ two goals against the Crows, while Meg McDonald, Rebecca Goring and Madeline Keryk were among the Cats’ best under pressure when the Magpies were attacking. While the heartbreaking story of Nina Morrison doing her ACL at training will dominate headlines, Geelong still has a huge core of youth including Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Sophie Van De Heuvel who will face established young talents in Monique Conti and Bonnie Toogood, and first round draftee, Eleanor Brown. Co-captain Ellie Blackburn is always a crucial player for the Dogs and will look to take control in the midfield, while the Dogs’ defence of Lauren Spark, Libby Birch and Hannah Scott will provide plenty of rebound.

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The Western Bulldogs lost three consecutive matches at VU Whitten Oval in 2017, but have since won all three games they have played there, and is the Dogs’ first home game since winning the 2018 AFL Women’s flag.
  • Aasta O’Connor will play against her old side for the first time, lining up in the ruck to face Kim Rennie, while sharing the ruck duties with Erin Hoare in the blue and white hoops.
  • Ellie Blackburn averaged 16.9 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.25 tackles and 3.25 clearances last season, the most of any current Western Bulldogs player.
  • With Brooke Lochland injured for the season, Phoebe McWilliams will be the leading goal kicker from last season in the match, booting seven goals for the GIANTS.

 

CARLTON vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, February 10, 4.05pm
Ikon Park

H2H: Carlton 0 | Adelaide 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Adelaide 0-0-0

For the first time in 2019, Ikon Park hosts a match with the Blues heading back home to welcome the Crows in a Sunday evening game. The ground has traditionally been the host of the opening game of the year between bitter rivals, Carlton and Collingwood but that has changed in 2019. These teams are both heading into the match off the back of a loss, with Carlton’s heavy defeat to North Melbourne not the ideal start to the season following a wooden spoon, while the Crows will rue missed opportunities in front of goal after booting 1.11 against the Bulldogs at Norwood Oval. Adelaide is yet to play at Ikon Park, while Carlton has made it somewhat of a fortress winning four and drawing a fifth game from its seven matches at the venue. Considering they have only won one match outside Ikon Park, it has been a comfort zone and the Crows cannot afford to take them lightly. With Adelaide in the tougher conference, they would not want to drop this game and go 0-2 to start the season, while Carlton will look for its first win under Daniel Harford who would have learnt plenty from the round one defeat.

Looking at the Round 1 matches, efficiency inside 50 looks to be key, with Adelaide having a 75 per cent scoring efficiency with 18 shots from 24 attempts, while Carlton had just 10 shots from 29 attempts – 35 per cent scoring efficiency. Both sides have impressive forward lines on paper, but they will need to convert their opportunities. Any forward 50 with Darcy Vescio, Tayla Harris and Brianna Davey – who has actually been named in defence – is going to worry opposition defenders, while Erin Phillips is as good as anyone one-on-one and is lining up at full-forward, while Chloe Scheer is a young star who will only get better. Speaking of young stars, Madison Prespakis carried the weight of the midfield on her shoulders last week and was ultra-impressive on debut, so the Crows will need to be aware of her presence. The Adelaide midfield has greater depth and the Blues should look to limit the influence of Ebony Marinoff who racked up 23 disposals and laid 11 tackles in Round 1. If Carlton can restrict her influence on the inside and win the contested ball – with the likes of Jess Hosking and Katie Loynes getting on top, it will go a long way to causing an upset. Chelsea Randall leads the defence, while the experience of Renee Forth through the midfield will be important. Carlton will need to control the ruck contest through Breann Moody, and break even in the middle, while the Crows will focus on clearance domination to give their forwards first opportunity and more importantly, those forwards need to convert.

Last time they met: Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20) at Norwood Oval, Round 5, 2018.

Adelaide flexed their muscles against the Blues when the sides were heading in opposite directions. The Crows at home booted six goals to one after quarter time to run away from the Blues, but counted the cost of the win with injuries to Erin Phillips and Courtney Cramey. Ruth Wallace booted three goals, while Eloise Jones finished with two, as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall shared 31 disposals. Breann Moody was dominant in the ruck for the Blues with 29 hitouts from 11 disposals and four clearances, while Tayla Harris had 11 disposals, three marks and booted a goal.

Fun facts:

  • Despite winning the wooden spoon last season, Carlton has a strong record at Ikon Park, having won four and drawn one from seven attempts.
  • If Carlton lose the match, it will mark more than a year since they won their last match.
  • While she picked up an injury in the second game, Erin Phillips was everywhere in the Crows’ first win over the Blues, racking up 21 disposals and eight clearances. In the same game, Ebony Marinoff laid 14 tackles from 16 disposals, her exact disposal average against Carlton.
  • Of the Carlton players to play against Adelaide in both games, the omitted Tilly Lucas-Rodd averages the most disposals with 13.5, while Darcy Vescio averages two goals per game against the Crows.

 

FREMANTLE vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, February 10, 3.05pm
Fremantle Oval

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Brisbane 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 2-3-0 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Both sides won against the odds in Round 1, with Fremantle toppling Melbourne in scorching weather at Casey Fields after being 14 points down at the final break, while Brisbane knocked off GWS GIANTS a fortnight after succumbing to the GIANTS in a heavy practice match loss. Both sides had plenty to be positive about last week, most importantly securing an early four points, while also having plenty to improve upon for this week. Fremantle are back at home in Western Australia, but at their only other clash at the venue, Brisbane took home the points, though it was two years ago. Both teams look to be very different to that clash, with the Lions having a host of youth coming through, as do the Dockers while also filtering in some experienced local talent. Brisbane will go in as favourites given their history in the competition, but Fremantle’s performance last week certainly raised eyebrows and showed that everyone could be underrating the Dockers.

Both sides play a different brand of football which is really exciting for this clash. In Round 1, Fremantle battered and bruised their way to an impressive contested ball style, getting the pull forward to record a huge 11 marks inside 50, while laying 10 tackles in the arc. They harassed and pressured the Demons into making uncharacteristic mistakes, laying 77 tackles in the process. The Lions have tall targets up forward, but opted for a balanced possession game and spread well around the ground. They intercepted the GIANTS 51 times and took the game on, trying to unsettle the defence with possession football, but going when required. This game could well be a combination of both styles and sets up for a huge clash. The Lions forward line is severely underrated with Sabrina Frederick-Traub the dominant key position player, while McKenzie Dowrick and Jess Wuetschner are incredibly clever and dangerous around goals. Throw in Jordan Zanchetta, Emma Zielke and the defensively-minded but strong, Lauren Arnell and the Lions front six is as good as any. Ebony Antonio and Tayla Bresland were strong in defence last week, while the midfield of Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan are not huge ball winners, but always effective. They tackle the biggest ball-winning duo of Emily Bates and Ally Anderson who had the ball on a string last week, while the potential match-up of Kiara Bowers and Sam Virgo could be entertaining based on Round 1 form. Both teams have immensely talented youth coming through, and both teams’ first round picks, Sabreena Duffy and Paige Parker, have been named in the side.

Last time they met: Brisbane 3.4 (22) defeated Fremantle 2.3 (15) at South Pine Sports Complex, Round 4, 2018.

In a low-scoring affair that saw just one goal kicked in the first half, Brisbane held on in a thriller to win by seven points and remain on track for a grand final berth. Dynamic forward, Jess Wuetschner booted two goals from 18 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s, while Kate Lutkins and Ally Anderson both had 18 touches in the win. For the Dockers, Lara Filocamo had 18 disposals and laid five tackles. Kara Donnellan laid a whopping 10 tackles and had five clearances and 15 disposals.

Fun facts:

  • In their only clash at the venue, Brisbane defeated Fremantle by 13 points in Round 2, 2017. Fremantle has a 100 per cent winning ratio at Fremantle Oval over Victorian sides, but a zero per cent winning ratio over non-Victorian sides.
  • Jess Wuetschner has been the dominant goal kicker in the matches between these sides, averaging two goals per game.
  • Lara Filocamo averages the most disposals between the sides, with 17.5 per match.
  • Both sides won their opening round matches by less than a kick, with Fremantle getting a dress rehearsal for the scorching West Australian heat, winning at Casey Fields in 38 degrees Celcius.

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

Eq. 1st : Sophie Taylor, Matthew Cocks [ 3 ]
Eq. 3rd : Peter Williams, Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 2 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

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: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers will come into 2019 hoping to go back-to-back for the first time in the AFLW competition, having picked up a wealth of experienced players to join their side this year. But with the loss of last year’s Best and Fairest, Emma Kearney to North Melbourne and leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland to injury for the majority of the season, their Bulldogs’ plans could be skewed.

Last season: 1st – five wins, two losses.

Changes:

In: Belinda Smith, Eleanor Brown, Aisling McCarthy, Kate Bartlett, Selena Karlson, Jessie Davies, Tessa Boyd, Celine Moody

Out: Daria Bannister, Jenna Bruton, Emma Kearney, Aasta O’Connor, Jess Anderson, Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey, Kim Ebb

With a lot of experience lost in the off-season, the Bulldogs opted to do a straight swap in the draft, opting for more experience over youth. Paul Groves and his assistants would’ve followed the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition closely, picking up four players who had experience in that league. Classy midfielder, Eleanor Brown had the honour of adding TAC Cup Girls and Vic Metro experience to her VFLW experience last year, proving she has what it takes to shine at AFLW level. Brown can play an inside or outside role in the midfield and can roll across to the half-back line, which she did successfully in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships in July. Brown came up against a clever forward in Kate Bartlett during those championships, who she will now play alongside at the Dogs. Bartlett played for Western Australia as a 19 year-old last year, working hard to earn a chance to play AFLW alongside another ‘KB’ in Katie Brennan.

Area of strength: Forward line

The Bulldogs have one of the most attractive forward lines in the competition. This is of course headlined by Brennan, who is a class above with her marking and goal kicking ability. If she can stay injury and suspension free this season, she will be a key part in taking the Bulldogs to the top again. She will also have Kate Bartlett inside 50 to complement her. The Western Australian forward is also strong overhead and has a great goal sense under pressure, playing as a deep or high forward. AFLW fans were starved of seeing Isabel Huntington reach her potential last season due to her heartbreaking Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. While she had another knee scare in the off-season, the 2016 number one draft pick will be ready to go in 2019, and she will certainly be one to watch with her prowess in the air and long kick. Add in the best on ground in the Grand Final, Monique Conti and the Bulldogs have a dangerous forward line that combines dominance in the air and speed on the field.

Area of weakness: Midfield

The Bulldogs lost a key midfield duo in the off-season to North Melbourne, waving goodbye to Kearney and Jenna Bruton. While Aasta O’Connor mainly plays in defence, she was often a key cog in the ruck for the Bulldogs in seasons gone by, meaning she is another loss in the middle of the ground for the reigning premiers. The Bulldogs are fortunate that Ellie Blackburn has still stuck around, as she and Kearney combined to be a lethal duo last season. Blackburn has been elevated to the club’s co-captain alongside Brennan this season, allowing her to relish her on-field leadership as well as her obvious talent. Sandringham Dragons product, Brown could be the one to combine with Blackburn this season, as Blackburn’s great hands and precise kicks have given opposition midfields headaches in past years.

Players to watch:

Isabel Huntington

Huntington’s debut game was cruelly halted in the first half when she ruptured her ACL against Brisbane, not even getting to complete a full game in her debut appearance for the side. Now having been cleared of another ACL rupture after an innocuous training incident, Huntington is on track to play her debut game for the Bulldogs in Round 1, and if last year’s glimpse is anything to go by, she will be a dominant force inside 50. Huntington’s overhead marking is elite and she is strong in the contests. Combine that with her long kick, and she is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Naomi Ferres

Ferres had a brilliant season in the VFLW for the Western Bulldogs, taking out the club’s Best and Fairest at the end of the season. Despite only playing seven matches, Ferres was named in the best in each game, averaging 17.4 disposals per game. This included finishing off her season with three consecutive games in which she racked up 20 disposals per game. Clearly, Ferres is one that knows how to find the football and is clever both by hand and by foot, which will make her a key cog in the Bulldogs’ 2019 midfield, given the loss of Bruton and Kearney.

Eleanor Brown

Brown was one of the most composed players in the TAC Cup Girls competition last year, winning the ball with ease in the midfield. She was often able to clear space with her long kick or create space with her outside running, making her one of Sandringham’s key players across the season. Brown was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year at half-forward for her efforts, highlighting her versatility across the field. In the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, she found herself at half-back on the last day of the Gold Coast tournament, and was a key playmaker, racking up plenty of disposals and acting as an anchor across the back line. She made the Under-18 All-Australian team because of this game and her efforts across the tournament for Vic Metro.

2019 prediction: 1st in Conference A

Despite some key losses in the off-season, the Bulldogs should still be the ones to watch when it comes to the premiership race. A forward line containing Brennan, Huntington, Conti and Bartlett, a defence containing the likes of Hannah Scott, Libby Birch and Lauren Spark and a midfield which consists of bona-fide stars in Blackburn, Brown and Ferres still makes the Bulldogs a highly talented team. Considering their success last season, they do have one of the harder draws in the 2019 season, facing off against Adelaide and the two new expansion teams in Geelong and North Melbourne, and hosting a Grand Final rematch against the Lions in the first four rounds of the season. If the Bulldogs can win at least two of those games, they will be well on track for another premiership berth, as they have an easy draw after that, facing off against Fremantle, Melbourne and Carlton in the last three rounds of the season.

2019 AFLW Western Bulldogs Fixture

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Norwood OvalRound 1
Whitten OvalRound 2
University of Tasmania StadiumRound 3
Whitten OvalRound 4
Fremantle OvalRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Whitten OvalRound 7

AFLW Draft review: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers have chosen to defend their premiership title by bolstering their forward line stocks. While the Bulldogs lost star players such as Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton and Aasta O’Connor, they don’t seem to be too worried, recruiting some young, experienced and international talent into their 2019 side.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to replace Emma Kearney, Daria Bannister and Jenna Bruton
  • Ruck/ versatility to fill the void of Aasta O’Connor
  • Defenders to cover the loss of Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey and Kim Ebb

 

Players selected:

Eleanor Brown – Sandringham Dragons

Eleanor Brown will be a fitting replacement for Emma Kearney in the midfield. She possesses elite ball-use, especially by hand, often disposing of the ball quickly and cleanly to escape congestion. Brown also has a long and powerful kick, and can make an influence all over the ground. She spent some time at half-back during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, racking up numerous disposals. She can also mark the ball well, making her a good fit to replace the loss of an important premiership trio.

Aisling McCarthy – Tipperary (Ireland)

Coming from the Crosscoders program, McCarthy impressed the Bulldogs, who took the forward with their 23rd pick. McCarthy played in the forward line for her Gaelic football side, and has now crossed over to Australian Rules to display her speed and agility in the competition. She will be a great addition to one of the most exciting forward lines in the league, which contains the likes of Katie Brennan, Isabel Huntington, Bonnie Toogood and Brooke Lochland.

Kate Bartlett – Peel Thunderbirds

The Bulldogs have further bolstered their inside 50 stocks with the addition of 19 year-old Kate Bartlett. Bartlett missed out on being drafted last year but will get her chance in the red, white and blue this season. It was hard to look past her at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, as she dominated inside 50 for Western Australia, kicking six goals in five games and creating plenty of scoring opportunities. She earned a place in the All Australian team as a result, and will now fly across the country to join the Bulldogs.

Selena Karlson – Southern Saints

Selena Karlson will help aid the loss of Bailey, Ebb and Ashley, who departed the club in the off-season. She is a smart defender who played 12 games for the Southern Saints this season and finished in the top 10 of their Best and Fairest. Karlson was also named in the best three times.

Jessie Davies – Western Bulldogs

Jessie Davies is no stranger to the Western Bulldogs outfit, having spent time with them during the VFLW. She is a versatile utility who will add some depth to the side. Davies played seven games for the Bulldogs this season and is also a member of the VU Western Spurs. Having a player that can be used all over the ground will help the Bulldogs cover their off-season losses, especially that of Aasta O’Connor, who can be used in different areas of the ground.

 

How they went:

Instead of replacing their losses, the Bulldogs went in a different direction for the draft, opting to boost their already powerful forward line. This isn’t a bad strategy at all, as more firepower inside 50 gives them more of a chance to defend their premiership title. But in the midfield, they could struggle, as the loss of Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton and Daria Bannister will be hard to replace. Thankfully, Eleanor Brown will fill a part of this void, thanks to her brilliant hands and strong kicking. Selena Karlson will also fill part of the absence of Ebb, Bailey and Ashley in defence, after playing for the Southern Saints this year. Having a versatile player like Jessie Davies will also be valuable to add support roles into different sections of the field. Despite a stellar inside 50 line-up, the Bulldogs could struggle through the midfield and in defence, with the loss of some key players. Aasta O’Connor’s void in the ruck has also not been filled, making the ruck situation an interesting one.

Next wave of AFL Women’s talent uncovered in top 12

YEARS of hard work for some came down to a couple of hours of celebration, and for the top 12 selected in the AFL Women’s Draft, they not only realised their dream, but also walked straight into media street and the realisation that their lives were about to change. Here are the top 12 from today’s draft.

Geelong selected star outside midfielder, Nina Morrison with its first pick.

Morrison was extremely impressive in the TAC Cup Girls competition and Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition with her blistering outside run and chase-down tackling. She won the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest (along with Madison Prespakis), was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Vic Country at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and was named the MVP of the tournament (also alongside Prespakis).

Morrison was joined by Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels midfielder/ forward, Sophie Van De Huevel at Geelong in 2019.

The talented cricketer/ footballer’s strength in the contest was outstanding and her goal sense was just as good, showcasing her impressive versatility. Van De Huevel represented Vic Country this year and was named in the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian team.

The first Victorian metropolitan player to be selected was Madison Prespakis, who went to Carlton at pick three.

Prespakis dominated in the midfield, and also rolled up forward for the Calder Cannons this season, being named best-on-ground in all but one game she played in. She has had a stellar year, being named the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest (with Nina Morrison), the MVP for Vic Metro in the AFL Women’s Championships, the overall MVP for the tournament (with Morrison) and the Calder Cannons Best and Fairest.

Fremantle secured midfielder, Jasmin Stewart with pick four.

Stewart has a great left-foot kick and her agility is sublime. She was invited to the AFL Women’s Combine this year and tested well.

With pick five, Collingwood gave defender/midfielder, Jordyn Allen a black and white jumper.

Allen marks the football extremely well and has a booming kick, impressing for the Dandenong Stingrays this season. She captained the side in the TAC Cup Girls competition and also got a spot in the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side on the half-back flank.

At pick six, Melbourne took Gippsland midfielder, Tyla Hanks. 

Hanks was a star for the Power this season, excelling in the midfield and proving her versatility by making an impact in the forward line at times. She was named in the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side as a follower this year, and led the Gippsland Power beautifully as a co-captain.

With their third pick in the top 12, the Cats welcomed Rebecca Webster to their side.

The talented midfielder/ defender has impressed for the Bushrangers throughout her tenure at the club with her strength and long kick. Webster is a member of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Academy and represented Vic Country at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships this year.

The first South Australian to be selected was speedy midfielder, Nikki Gore. 

Gore combines strength, speed and agility with ease, and has done so in both South Australian and NT Thunder colours. She is a member of the AFL Women’s Academy and has a high work ethic that will undoubtedly be invaluable for the Crows.

At pick 10, the Bulldogs have selected Eleanor Brown.

Brown dominated in the midfield for Sandringham in the TAC Cup Girls season and made a name for herself at half-back for Vic Metro. She was one of the top performers at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships.

Collingwood’s second pick in the top 12 was Katie Lynch.

Lynch had limited game time for the Chargers this season but whenever she did play, her impact was profound in the midfield. She represented Vic Country in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships this year.

The last pick in the top 12 was secured by the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants, who picked up Thurgoona’s Alyce Parker. 

Parker is a powerful midfielder who can roll up forward and make a serious impact. She was named in the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side, was named MVP for both the Central Allies and NSW in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and was named best-on-ground in Thurgoona’s premiership side this year.

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.

AFLW Draft Preview: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers have suffered some losses already, losing AFL Women’s Best and Fairest, Emma Kearney as well as Jenna Bruton and Aasta O’Connor ahead of their 2019 AFL Women’s campaign. However, the Bulldogs have signed three exciting players in Fremantle’s Belinda Smith, Tom Boyd’s sister, Tessa and Breann Moody’s sister and Carlton Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s player, Celine. If they can secure some up and coming stars to go along with this solid list, they could be a chance to defend their title.

 

Last season: 1st – Premiers

IN: Belinda Smith, Tessa Boyd (rookie), Celine Moody (rookie)
OUT: Daria Bannister, Jenna Bruton, Emma Kearney, Aasta O’Connor, Jess Anderson, Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey, Kim Ebb

WESTERN BULLDOGS AFLW LIST (25/30)

  • Deanna Berry
  • Libby Birch
  • Ellie Blackburn
  • Katie Brennan
  • Tessa Boyd
  • Nicole Callinan
  • Monique Conti
  • Tiarna Ernst
  • Naomi Ferres
  • Elise Gamble
  • Angelia Gogos
  • Bailey Hunt
  • Isabel Huntington
  • Kristy Lamb
  • Brooke Lochland
  • Emma Mackie
  • Kristen McLeod
  • Celine Moody
  • Kimberley Rennie
  • Hannah Scott
  • Belinda Smith
  • Lauren Spark
  • Bonnie Toogood
  • Aisling Utri
  • Hayley Wildes

 

DRAFT PICKS

10, 23, 26, 34, 45, 55

POSSIBLE DRAFT PROSPECTS

With the loss of Jenna Bruton and Emma Kearney in the midfield, the Bulldogs will be looking for some up and coming talent to fill the gap. The Bulldogs could land either Mikala Cann or Emerson Woods from the Eastern Ranges if any of them are still available after nine picks. Their TAC Cup Girls teammate, Charlotte Wilson is also a potential prospect for the Bulldogs. Wilson tested well in the AFL Women’s Draft Combine and is a great one-on-one defender who can go into the ruck when needed. With the loss of Aasta O’Connor in the ruck department, Wilson will be a big help, as will Vic Metro’s leading ruck, Carla RendelmannRendelmann dominated in the ruck for the Cannons this season in the TAC Cup Girls and has consistently been doing so over the years. She would be a very handy addition to the Bulldogs’ ruck stocks. If Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels star, Rene Caris nominates for all of Victoria or metropolitan Victoria, expect the Bulldogs to keep a close eye on her, as the AFL Women’s Academy member has the capacity to match up against bigger bodies and dominate at ground level. Eleanor Brown is another name who could come into the mix for the Bulldogs, with the Dragons midfielder proving to have an impact wherever she plays.

AFLW Draft preview: Carlton

THE Blues have conducted a big clean-out after finishing on the bottom of the ladder, and would hope to boost their side with young talent. Amelia Barden, who comes from Collingwood will add to Carlton’s inside midfield brigade while rugby sevens duo, Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker could add exciting aggression and agility to the Blues’ outfit. With Darcy Vescio having a stellar Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season and Brianna Davey sticking with the Blues, a rise could be on the cards for Carlton.

 

Last season: 8th

In: Amelia Barden, Chloe Dalton, Brooke Walker

Out: Maddison Gay, Lauren Arnell, Danielle Hardiman, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Maddy Keryk, Sarah Last, Laura Attard, Kate Shierlaw, Tiahna Cochrane (rookie), Katie-Jayne Grieve (rookie), Sophie Li

CARLTON AFLW List (21/30)

  • Shae Audley
  • Amelia Barden
  • Lauren Brazzale
  • Chloe Dalton
  • Brianna Davey
  • Alison Downie
  • Georgia Gee
  • Kerryn Harrington
  • Tayla Harris
  • Reni Hicks
  • Jess Hosking
  • Sarah Hosking
  • Bridie Kennedy
  • Katie Loynes
  • Tilly Lucas-Rodd
  • Breann Moody
  • Natalie Plane
  • Gabriella Pound
  • Nicola Stevens
  • Darcy Vescio
  • Brooke Walker
  • Courtney Webb

DRAFT PICKS

3, 16, 27, 38, 48, 49

POSSIBLE DRAFT PROSPECTS

The Blues have the first of the Victorian metropolitan picks and undoubtedly, Calder Cannons captain, Madison Prespakis will be on their mind. Prespakis was a favourite to go number one in the AFL Women’s Draft this year, but after nominating to go a metropolitan Victorian club, it ruled her out of going to Geelong at pick one. This presents a prime opportunity for the Blues to take one of the best Victorian metropolitan players. Vic Country representative, Tyla Hanks will also be a key prospect, having played with the Blues in the VFL Women’s season. Hanks was the leading disposal-getter in her first game with the Blues and has proved to be a dangerous midfielder throughout her junior career. Carlton AFL Women’s coach, Daniel Harford has expressed interest in Sandringham Dragons midfielder, Abbie McKay, who is the daughter of Carlton premiership player, Andrew McKay. These midfielders could help fill the void left by Maddison Gay and Madeline Keryk, who were both delisted from Carlton’s list. The Blues will make history by drafting McKay, as it will be the first ever father-daughter selection. With the loss of Danielle Hardiman and Kate Gillespie-Jones,Carlton could fill its defensive stocks by drafting Vic Country representative, Jordyn Allen. Allen led the way for the Dandenong Stingrays this season and also made the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side. Vic Metro representative, Eleanor Brown may also be a name that the Blues will keep an eye on, as she can play in the midfield or across half-back.