Welcome back. If you missed the first half of the preview and the mock first round of the 2021 Draft, I am linking it below. Knock yourself out… not literally.
As I came to putting together this part of the Draft Preview, I started to wonder how I would format it this year? How is it going to stand out from others that opt to write about the AFLW Draft?
Well, I did what any other writer would do – I just got stuck into it and started writing, because really, there is a lot more that unfolds beyond the first round – a few teams at this stage are yet to enter and there are still plenty of players that could find homes and fit in very well – see Joanna Lin last year as an example.
So I thought I’d break the second part of this preview down as much as I can through a format that I know chief Mongrel has used in the past in terms of writing reviews of games and I did one last year as well and I enjoyed it a fair bit.
WHO ARE THE BEST UNDER-19 VICTORIAN TALENTS AVAILABLE HERE?
So, we’re looking to the second round and there are a few players that have been ranked in draft boards that are still available. North Melbourne have the first pick in the second round and may not necessarily go with a young talent – remember, Kim Rennie is still looking to be drafted by the Roos and they need to pull the trigger on her either here or with their third pick, which currently stands at 28.
So let’s say they get Rennie at 19 – the next five Victorian selections belong to either the Western Bulldogs or Carlton, and I can see them drafting kids here.
Amanda Ling is a midfielder that has received big wraps for her ability to win contested ball and her competitiveness in the congestion. In her four games at Port Melbourne, she showed a lot , averaging just under 10 disposals and 5.5 tackles per game. At Oakleigh in the NAB League this year she averaged 17.9 disposals, 6.5 tackles and 3.1 inside 50s per game.
A few defenders could find themselves available here. Key defender Nyakoat Dojiok is an extremely quick player for her size and has a terrific intercepting marking ability. Whilst her speed could see her play a role as a wing option, I think she looks more comfortable as a third-tall defender who can initiate fast ball movement at a moment’s notice – averaged 18 disposals, 3.8 rebound 50s and 2.7 marks per game for the Rebels in the NAB League this year.
Jaide Anthony is another defender, who is not only tough and not afraid to back herself against the flight of the ball, but she’s also got great kicking skills and sound decision making. If she does go inside the first round, I won’t be too shocked given her form for the Dandenong Stingrays in the NAB League – she averaged 13.8 disposals, 3.6 tackles and three rebound 50s per game this year. For Vic Country, she averaged 15.7 disposals, 4.3 rebound 50s, 3.3 marks and four tackles per game.
There are also talls such as Tahlia Gillard and Ingrid Houtsma that could be considered here early in the second round. The Blues could do with an extra ruck option. The Dogs could look at a ruck either to cover the loss of Rennie, but I think they’d be better off looking at small forwards or shoring up midfield depth.
SO WHAT ABOUT THE VFLW TALENT?
I’ve done quite a few games on special comments for WARF Radio this year, and there are quite a few VFLW players that will put their hand up and get picked – I’ve already mentioned both Imogen Barnett and Sophie Locke in the first part, but they’re the tip of the iceberg.
North Melbourne’s Meagan Kiely has had a tremendous year in the VFLW – averaging numbers of 24.5 disposals, 5.3 marks, 5.4 tackles, 3.5 clearances, 3.2 inside 50s and 3.2 rebound 50s across 14 games this year. Her work rate and ability to accumulate possession will find it very enticing for Victorian clubs, if she chooses to nominate there. If she nominates for Tasmania, then North will add another midfielder to what is an already established group.
Her teammate in the VFLW, Sarah Skinner could be someone that the Roos could target a little more considering what she brings to the table. A forward that possesses good goal nous and consistency, Skinner averaged 18 disposals, four marks, 4.6 tackles, 3.8 inside 50s and 2.6 clearances per game this year, and also kicking six goals from 13 games – she’s a player that can generate a lot of scoring opportunities for herself or her team mates.
Casey’s Imogen Milford finished runner-up in the VFLW’s goal-kicking competition to Barnett, kicking 19 goals from 15 games, averaging nine disposals and 4.3 tackles per game. She can be competitive in the air and even provide a chop-out in the ruck this year, but she’s a player that does possess enormous upside.
Others to watch out for include Southern Saints’ Tara Bohanna (Averaged 16.8 disposals, 4.4 marks, 3.7 tackles and kicked 19 goals in 16 matches this year), Collingwood’s Matilda Zander (averaged 14 disposals, 3.7 tackles and kicked 10 goals in 15 matches this year) could look at an interstate move, whilst the Western Bulldogs’ Brooke Hards (averaged 7.5 disposals and 6.1 tackles per game in playing a few roles around the ground) has been a name that has also popped up over the last few days.
WHAT DOES GWS DO WITH THEIR SELECTIONS?
The Giants don’t have a selection until pick 37 after what was a very busy trade period over a month ago.
But with the Giants, much like Adelaide in South Australia, they get full access to their zone without a second club able to pinch a player from under their noses. But the Swans are coming into the league soon, so best make with what you got, right?
They’ve got two selections here – I think Ally Morphett is almost a certainty to be picked up, especially with Jess Allan on the inactive list. Morphett provides another big body to combat in the ruck, but plays in a similar fashion to Erin McKinnon – a great tap ruck, but doesn’t offer much around the ground.
They also need some forward power, goals has been something that has eluded the Giants the past couple of years and they cannot rely on Cora Staunton to kick goals consistently. Do they look at getting Sydney Swans Academy member Jess Doyle? She’s exactly the kind of player the Giants would love to have, she has great forward craft, terrific on the lead and is a solidly consistent finisher in front of goals.
HAVE MELBOURNE SECURED THEMSELVES A STEAL AT PICK 42?
Not that Melbourne needed to do much at all at the Draft anyway, but Melbourne have somehow secured one of the steals of the draft, by claiming Eastern Ranges’ ruck option Georgia Campbell. Melbourne don’t enter the draft until pick 42, which is where you assume the bid will be made from there.
Her father Adrian played for both Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs – 32 games all up, but all it takes is one game for daughters of football players to be eligible. Campbell is rated by a lot of recruiters as a top-20 talent. She’s got good size and excellent tap work, but she also has terrific athletic attributes and already has a very developed forward craft.
At Eastern Ranges this year, Campbell averaged 20.9 hitouts, as well as 8.4 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 1.5 marks per game, but also kicked five goals from eight matches this year. In two games for Vic Metro in the championships, she averaged 12 disposals, 12 hitouts and 2.5 marks per game.
How she fits in at Melbourne will be interesting – She could opt as a backup ruck to Lauren Pearce, whilst enabling Eden Zanker to play more freely as a midfielder who can also rest up forward, but there is a lot of upside and the Demons will walk out of the draft very happy that they were able to snare this talent.
WHO ELSE DO THE CROWS TARGET?
Think back to the Grand Final back in April and the one thing that killed the Crows all game long was composure inside 50. They’re basically loaded in most other areas around the ground – Midfielders? Plenty of those. Forwards? Erin Phillips is still there so that’s fine, so maybe an extra one to prepare for life after her. Defenders? Well stocked for mine.
Not that it matters, but they have picks 20, 34, 47 and 63 – which means nothing considering they have their own talent pool.
In terms of good users of the footy, players that could complement the likes of Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard in the middle, Brooke Tonon is a player that has been touted as a player that can slot into the Crows side right away. She has proven in a premiership side in the SANFLW that she can make smart decisions with the ball moving forward and has got a great kick on her.
I’ve also heard the names of Zoe Venning and Gypsy Schirmer pop up quite frequently as potential draftees. It’ll be a lot harder for Venning to get a game next season considering that she’s another midfielder that loves the in-and-under stuff, but Schrimer is an interesting player to keep your eye out for: A tall unit at 178cm but she’s got terrific athletic attributes and can play in a number of roles, from a forward who can head to the wing, where she can utilise her speed to full effect.
WHERE DOES AMY FRANKLIN LAND IF SHE DOESN’T GO FIRST ROUND?
She’s a chance to land with Freo’s first pick at 14, but if she gets overlooked there, she doesn’t slide past West Coast’s next pick, which currently is Pick 21. I mentioned it in the first part of the Draft Preview that the Eagles would love someone as a tall target to kick to in the forward line and Franklin is just the kind of player that they are looking for.
At 177cm, Franklin is very quick off the mark and is quite agile for someone her size. In the air, she’s a very good target to kick to and has shown that she can take a great contested grab and is very hard to beat on the lead. As well as being a forward option, her marking hands and ability to read the play has seen her play in defence at times as well and hasn’t looked out of place there either.
There’s a lot of upside in Amy Franklin, and whilst the Dockers could do with another key position tall, I think this is a player that could fit in and play right away in a side like the Eagles who are struggling for some forward power.
SHOULD THE SUNS TARGET MATURE-AGERS?
Look I’ll be honest, the Gold Coast’s third pick in my mock draft was one of the more speculative picks, basically because the Queensland talent pool is divided with Brisbane and Gold Coast Academy players. However, the Suns could lock away Casey Wynne a lot later down the draft order and possibly Levi too, considering what happened last year (Maddi Levi was highly rated, but was taken at pick 50).
To answer this question, a large core of the Suns’ team is made up of young players, so they could do with some mature-aged talent. Remember the Lions a few years ago when the Suns raided their talent? They looked at a few mature-agers to help out and overall it’s worked out pretty well, so I’ll say yes – yes they must.
A few that they could look to would include tall midfielder Madison Goodwin who smashed the Queensland draft combine, setting a combine record in the standing vertical jump. That elite leap could also see her slotted into a role in the defensive half as an interceptor. They could also look at Steph O’Brien, despite being new to football, has really picked up the game quite quickly and good be a good tall option up forward.
I’d also watch out to see where Ashanti Bush falls, the Suns are tied to the players based in the NT and Bush, who plays as a mid-sized forward, has a very sharp goal nous and is very dangerous in a one-on-one situation.
WHERE DOES TEGAN CUNNINGHAM GO?
Well, you don’t just retire, then suddenly nominate for the draft without someone whispering in your ear that they’d like you on your list right?
So this will be interesting to see where she lands. Understandably with Tayla Harris now at Melbourne, it was always going to look like that she was going to be on the outer at Melbourne. But, there are quite a few Victorian sides that are looking out for a key forward. Carlton are looking for someone to partner up with Nicola Stevens forward and also help out Serena Gibbs as a developing tall
Collingwood still have a bit of a gap there in terms of key forward depth – the jury is still out on Sophie Alexander, I rate her abilities as a key forward, but she has struggled to string consistency a fair bit this year.
North Melbourne could be an option if they want to yield someone like Imogen Barnett as a long-term prospect and could take Cunningham a bit later. Nonetheless, North need some tall timber heading into this Draft.
Those are the three teams that I can think of that will provide Cunningham an opportunity to slot in and have some kind of impact straight away. I can’t help but think Geelong and Richmond could offer her a spot on their lists too to provide relief to their key forwards, but it’s also worth considering that they’re looking to the future.
WHAT CAN PERRI KING PROVIDE TO NORTH MELBOURNE?
Perri King is, by a country mile, the best Tasmanian prospect in this Draft and as such, will most likely go to North Melbourne with one of their later picks, as they have done with past Drafts. She’s a midfielder that possesses both the hard nut traits – tackles, extracts clearances out of the stoppages and is a good runner, capable of spreading out of the stoppage to be an outrider.
So, what can she provide to North considering the plethora of midfield options that they currently possess? And I don’t just mean the big names, because you can also throw in players like Ellie Gavalas, Mia King, Bella Eddey and Grace Campbell in there as well.
It’s going to be hard to see her in this team if I was to name a round one team for North Melbourne next season. The fact that she can tackle really well and apply defensive pressure immediately has me thinking that she can play as a forward. She averaged 10.5 tackles per game for the Allies in the Under-19 Championships and 9.4 tackles for Tasmania in the NAB League, so she’s got a terrific appetite for the contest, but she only kicked one goal in all of her games this year.
Maybe they could push Emma Kearney into an outside role next year to allow these younger midfielders more minutes? Not that it is an urgent matter, because she showed at various points this year that she can still play a very handy role in the middle. But gee whiz, North are going to be well-stocked in the years that come.
WHAT DOES THE SECOND-ROUND LOOK LIKE?
Well look, no one but me has really asked for this, but I think it’s nice to do something new and seeing as there are a few clubs that enter the Draft here in the second round, I thought, why not – I’ll show you what I think the second round looks like without breaking into more detail, because I feel like I’ve written enough as it is…
Pick 19: North Melbourne – Kim Rennie – 185cm – Ruck
Pick 20: Adelaide – Gypsy Schirmer – 178cm – Forward/Wing
Pick 21: West Coast – Amy Franklin – 177cm – Key Forward
Pick 22: Western Bulldogs – Jaide Anthony – 166cm – Defender
Pick 23: Carlton – Amanda Ling – 161cm – Midfielder
Pick 24: West Coast – Charlotte Thomas – 175cm – Utility
Pick 25: Western Bulldogs – Nyakoat Dijiok – 175cm – Key Defender
Pick 26: Carlton – Tahlia Gillard – 190cm – Ruck/Key Forward
Pick 27: Western Bulldogs – Brooke Hards – 167cm – Utility
Pick 28: North Melbourne – Meagan Kiely – 168cm – Midfielder
Pick 29: Collingwood – Gabbi Featherston – 169cm – Utility
Pick 30: Gold Coast – Madison Goodwin – 174cm – Midfielder/Defender
Pick 31: Fremantle – Tessa Doumanis – 170cm – Forward
Pick 32: Collingwood – Brooke Vickers – 171cm – Defender/Midfielder
Pick 33: Collingwood – Grace Matser – 186cm – Ruck
Pick 34: Adelaide – Brooke Tonon – 167cm – Defender/Wing
Pick 35: Brisbane – Mikayla Pauga – 161cm – Forward/Midfielder
And on that speculative note, there goes my Draft Preview. Best of luck to everyone who has nominated for the Draft and to those who do get drafted, best wishes on a good career.