There is finally some AFLW stuff to write about because over the past week and a bit, the annual trade period took place. It wound up on Wednesday afternoon, with plenty of deals done over the period.

There hasn’t been a lot of coverage in regard to the AFLW since the season got shut down prematurely because of what was going on in Australia with Covid-19.

Which is why I am here.

As someone who absolutely loves the AFLW and is a sucker for dissecting a trade period, I thought I’d take a look at the Trade period with a bit more depth, by highlighting the seven winners of the AFLW Trade Period for all of my fellow aficionados of women’s footy.

 

#7 – Collingwood

The Pies were so close to toppling North Melbourne in that first week of the Finals, falling two points short at the final siren. Their two acquisitions over the trade period are both very interesting choices, but I feel they can help the Pies take the next step in 2021.

I’m very indifferent about Aliesha Newman. I recognize that she has the pace and I enjoy the fact that she takes the game on. But my biggest concern is that her skill set leaves a bit to be desired, based on the number of times I’ve seen her miss easy shots in years gone by. However, the thing Collingwood fans should get excited about is that at 24, her best footy is indeed ahead of her.

Their other pick-up in Abbey Green gives the Pies a tall that can operate as a second ruck, as well as hold down a key post in the forward line. Green played two games for North Melbourne in 2020 and kicked two goals in one match of footy this year – the only thing that will work against her is that it was against Richmond – everyone kicked goals against Richmond. But all the same, the Pies have picked up a player that they can see playing back-up to Sharni Layton in the ruck.

 

#6 – West Coast Eagles

It’s a bit hard to assess what the Eagles need when they won just one game in 2020. However, they brought in two inclusions that should be integral parts to the side in the new year.

As a Bulldog supporter, watching Aisling McCarthy develop and flourish as a player in her two seasons at the club will be something that Eagles fans should get excited for next season. This year, McCarthy played as a midfielder and showcased that she doesn’t hesitate to find the hard footy and has proven to be a sound tackler. If the Eagles feel that she is not needed in the middle, then she has certainly shown capabilities as a forward option, kicking a goal in all but one match in her debut season and given that West Coast were one of the worst scoring teams this year, that’s something they could certainly do with.

Also, picking up Tayla Bresland for as little as pick 46 could prove to be an acquisition for their defensive stocks. The likes of Emily McGuire and Chantella Perera were handed some serious lessons this year in defence and Bresland’s presence could ease some of the pressure on these players as the Eagles look towards a much better (hopefully) 2021.

 

#5 – St. Kilda

After a promising debut season this year, St. Kilda added a couple of players that should assist the younger brigade of players make the next jump in their development next year.

Jayde Van Dyk is a player that I rate really highly. She missed all but one game for the Blues this year as she battled an ankle injury, but maybe that is a big reason why the Saints got her so cheaply, with Pick 36. Her upside is enormous and if she gets a full-season under her belt, watch out next year. Her first year at Carlton saw her play every game as a defender and showed that not only can she play a shutdown role beautifully but can also get her hands on the footy. St. Kilda’s defence is pretty sound, so perhaps there is scope for someone to push further up the ground?

Bianca Jakobsson is another great pick up for the Saints for a pick that I would consider a bit under for someone of her calibre – the Saints gave up pick 29. Jakobsson missed the 2020 season for Melbourne due to work commitments, but when the Saints see her on the park next year, she’ll be a very sound acquisition. Her best footy is as an intercept player off half back, but she has also shown that she can float forward and put through a goal or two.

 

#4 – Adelaide

It was not a good year for the Crows as they looked to defend their title as the best team in the competition. However, in fairness to Adelaide, one of their co-captains ruptured her ACL on the eve of the season, and the other was racing against the clock to come back fit for the team, ergo her impact was minimal at best.

The retirements of premiership players Courtney Cramey, Jess Foley and Sophie Li will all sting, as they have been valuable contributors, but the players coming in can help cover the losses of all of them. The return of Jess Sedunary will be pleasant for Crows’ fans as she played in their inaugural premiership team. If she can stay healthy, they have a player that works as hard as anyone and has the pace to be a serious threat on both a wing and across half-forward.

Hannah Munyard will be a player I’ll have a keen eye for. She played three games for the Western Bulldogs this year and I was impressed with her abilities by foot and her speed along the wing. Now that she is back in her home state, she will not only get more games, but she should continue to build on her form this year. Lisa Whiteley from GWS played two games for the Giants last year and none this year, so it’s hard to get a read, but the Crows could see her as a like-for-like replacement for Cramey.

 

#3 – Western Bulldogs

I wouldn’t mind a trade period where the Dogs don’t lose an excess of players. But to be perfectly honest, this was one trade period, where I felt as if they won more than they lost.

Losing both Aisling McCarthy and Hannah Munyard – both of whom are young players that are just starting to make names for themselves is a bit of a blow. But when you consider that the Bulldogs also picked up three draft picks in the first round – that’s good for a team that is currently in a rebuilding phase. Especially if it is three picks inside Victoria’s top 10, you can argue that the Bulldogs have an exciting future ahead of you.

The McCarthy deal to West Coast not only saw them pick up the 10th pick in the Victorian crop, but saw the Dogs ensure that they get the second pick in the Victorian draft, swapping picks 2 and 3 around with the Eagles.

I like the acquisition of Katie Lynch from Collingwood. A first-round pick back in the 2018 AFL Draft, Lynch only played one match in 2020 after playing all but one in 2019. At 179cm, she’s seen as a tall forward that can also provide an option in the middle. The Dogs don’t have many tall midfielders, so it will be interesting to see what Nathan Burke does with her in the new year.

 

#2 – Richmond

Well, when a team doesn’t win a game for the year and the margins get worse as the season progressed, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that Richmond need help – from all aspects of the ground. Experience at the top-level was something the Tigers lacked this year, but brought in four established players that will give their young and inexperienced campaigners a bit of a chop out, because a few of their first-year players had a hard time this year.

The addition of Sarah Hosking from Carlton adds another dynamic to Richmond’s midfield, considering Monique Conti was a one-woman machine in the middle, she’ll welcome the help. The likes of Sophie Molan, Maddy Brancatisano and Emma Horne would also like the help as they are still young and developing. I also like the addition of Sarah Dargan – she’s still 21 but has shown that she can hold her own in a number of positions. I think she’s another player that not just aid the Tigers, but flourish in her own right.

Sarah D’Arcy adds some badly needed scoring power, but her running capacity could see her played further up the ground, considering the likes of Christina Bernardi, Sabrina Frederick are occupying key posts, and Katie Brennan could find herself back as a forward in 2021. It’s definitely interesting to see where she fits in the grand scheme of things next year. As will it be with Harriet Cordner, she has shown plenty of grit as a key defender at Melbourne, and should add some more depth in defence at Tigerland.

Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned that they still have the first pick in this year’s draft. I’m keen to see what this Richmond side will look like in 2021.

 

#1 – Carlton

If the Blues weren’t a serious contender for the flag before, you definitely should consider them for 2021. Yes, the losses of both Sarah Hosking and Jayde Van Dyk hurt, but they have covered them with players that should at least cover their departures, if not make the team better off.

Elise O’Dea, what can I say that hasn’t already been mentioned by others? Melbourne’s loss is Carlton’s gain for sure. A two-time All-Australian and a co-captain last year, O’Dea is a top-line midfielder that possesses good skills on both sides and can hit the scoreboard. Her addition boosts a midfield brigade already boasting players like Maddy Prespakis, Katie Loynes, Grace Egan and Lucy McEvoy – it is going to rival the likes of Fremantle and North as the scariest midfield set up in the league next year.

Not only should their other two recruits see plenty of game time for the Blues next year, but both are also under 21, so there’s also plenty of upside. O’Dea’s teammate from Melbourne Maddy Guerin possesses good pace, and could add something as a pressure forward, or possibly find herself on a wing. Charlotte Hammans was picked up from the Gold Coast in virtually the last minute of the trade period. She didn’t play any games for the Suns this year, but she is a forward who is good on the lead and a decent overhead mark.

 

Other Things To Mention

I left Melbourne off this list, mainly because I’m not exactly sure what to make of them. Yes, they got some good draft picks in the first round, but it came at the expense of several established players. We’ll reassess whether or not they win the trade period in 12 months’ time, when Melbourne have drafted and have gone through one season.

North Melbourne didn’t need to do much with their list, but have done away with a steal, acquiring Grace Campbell from Richmond for pick 43. Campbell finished fourth in Richmond’s best and fairest, displaying a good knack for finding the footy and being tenacious at the contest. They’ve got a good one there.

The last-minute addition of Ali Drennan to the Gold Coast Suns is a good get for them. I mentioned in their defeat to Fremantle in their Final game of the season that they need some star power in the middle. Whilst Drennan isn’t that, what she is though is another hard in and under midfielder that will give the likes of Jamie Stanton, Jacqui Yorston and Hannah Dunn a bit of a chop-out.

I didn’t expect Geelong to make much noise in terms of recruitment. They’re a side that is building their list from the ground up. Acquiring picks three picks inside the top 30 (10, 20 and 27) as well as pick 39 is a sound return. I expect the Cats to pick up some decent talent here and continue their build.

That will be it from me. The next few months will be about trying to find out the players that will be leading this year’s Draft class. It’ll be a bit tougher to dissect this year’s draft, given that we got very little exposure in the under 18’s this year and the VFLW season was called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But like a lot of other things, it’s not impossible to come through with a list of the best prospects in the country. Should be fun to do at least whilst I’m stuck in self-isolation.