AFLW - pulling together the initial Essendon squad

It’s not a great article (Frew not mentioned :crazy_face:) but is a a reasonable starting point/introduction.


August 16, 2021
by Peter Williams

WITH four new teams accepted into the AFL Women’s competition, it means there will be at least 120 new players stepping up to the elite level. So just where might the clubs look outside the junior pathway? Draft Central casts an eye over each of the clubs through either their state league team or Academy that might help them get off to the best possible start.

Whilst the makeup of lists and how much compensation the expansion clubs will get is unknown, we take a look at it from a broader sense and who might be some names to remember. The series begins with Essendon, a team that reached the preliminary final of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition and have some great state league players to pick from.

The worst kept secret for the red and black sash when it comes to pre-listing players is current VFL Women’s captain Georgia Nanscawen . The readymade star already has AFL Women’s experience with North Melbourne, and being an elite athlete and professional, Nanscawen is anticipated to get a second crack at the top level, and will be able to gel a group likely made up of young talents entering the system for the first time.

There is no doubt some St Kilda and Carlton fans have been a little nervous with Essendon’s entry given the close ties that Georgia Patrikios and Madison Prespakis have to the club, and whilst there is still a season in between, it would be surprising for the Bombers not to ask the question about bringing that kind of talent into the club. They could immediately have an elite readymade midfield, though there are still those at VFL Women’s level

Alana Barba would be the next choice currently in the red and black behind Nanscawen, with the former Calder Cannons talent always thereabouts for AFLW Draft contention, and would be a prime candidate to don the sash at the elite level. Providing a one-two punch with Nanscawen would give the Bombers plenty of toughness around the ball, but Barba can also go forward and hit the scoreboard.

Courtney Ugle has plenty of class and speed to boot, which gives her a nice point of difference from the Bombers group, and she can play in multiple position as well. Winning the third most disposals behind the aforementioned Nanscawen and Barba, Ugle just makes sense, and she will still only be 26-years-old by the start of the 2022-23 season.

Eloise Ashley-Cooper rounds out a strong core midfield if the former Murray Bushrangers talent gets a call-up, providing good run and carry down the ground, capable of dropping back to help out the defence, or pushing the ball forward and sending it inside 50. She is a readymade talent who could match it with the experienced players now she has had some great form at VFLW level.

Some other names to remember from the red and black VFL Women’s program include ex-Collingwood player and Canadian talent Kendra Heil , as well as defenders Eloise Gardner and Alex Morcom . In the front half, Marianna Anthony became a staple through the middle, whilst Mia-Rae Clifford is a monty to get a fourth chance at AFLW level if the veteran – 36-years-old by the time the 2022 season roles around – chooses so. She is still a damaging forward and one capable of being a source of goals at the top level.

Along with ruck Simone Nalder , midfielder Elisabeth Hosking and Calder Cannons graduates Tamsin Crook , Kasey Lennox and Neve Crowley , the Bombers have a plethora of state league talents to look at, and could upgrade a number of them to the next level. Many will look in anticipation at the Bombers to see what their list shapes like in 12 months time, but one thing is for sure, they will not be short on internal talent.

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Will we also run a VFLW side after fielding the AFLW side.

How does the pre listing work, do we essentially get to promote our VFLW team and draft more, or do our VFL girls have to nom for the draft?

FWIW, every ex-EFC player currently listed in the AFLW. If we got a handful of these mids we could be right up there for that on day one (and Gillard, please!)

  • Danielle Ponter (Adelaide, class small forward, niece of Michael Long)
  • Ally Anderson (Brisbane, mid; is a QLDer)
  • Ruby Svarc (Brisbane, mid/forward; you’d think a gimme if we want her. She and her better sister are from Corowa.)
  • Zali Friswell (Geelong, mid/forward)
  • Georgie Prespakis (Geelong, mid)
  • Lauren Ahrens (Gold Coast, key defender; as a QLDer I’m guessing no, but let us dream!)
  • Tanya Hetherington (GWS, key defender; is a Victorian but obviously nominated for NSW)
  • Tait Mackrill (GWS, Destroyer of Worlds; from SA)
  • Tahlia Gillard (Melbourne, ruck/KPP)
  • Krstel Petrevski (Melbourne, class small forward, niece of Mo22ie; from Halls Creek, WA)
  • Tara Slender (Norf, KPP)
  • Emelia Yassir (Richmond, mid)
  • Georgia Patrikios (Saints, mid)
  • Hayley Bullas (WCE, mid)
  • Maddy Collier (WCE, utility; from NSW)
  • Elizabeth Snell (Footscray, mid)

Jessica “#1” Trend walked away from Freo to be in Big Brother and is Hawks VFLW captain so that may be her first choice. Coming off an ACL. They’d love to get Sarah “Plugger” Perkins back too.

There are plenty of players who are keen Bomber supporters who might be tempted (e.g. Madison Prespakis, Norf captain Emma Kearney).

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Presumably yes. All the other Melbourne clubs do so, except the pissweak Richmond (who handed their licence to Port Melbourne this year).

Not announced yet. Likely to be a mix of:

  • auto-upgrade anyone on our VFLW list
  • bonus early draft picks (diluted by the other three new clubs coming in at the same time)
  • ability to pick Calder Cannons and Bendigo Pioneers girls prior to the draft (which is why I’m sad we didn’t get in this year)
  • a fair bit of free agency (hence me listing the existing ex-EFC AFLW players in the above post).
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IIRC with previous expansion rules, expansion clubs got to pick 4 players (total) from the established clubs, before having to trade picks for the rest (excluding free agent signings).

The question is, what four should we target?

Let’s cap it at say 2 midfielders - as we’ll upgrade some of our VFLW talent, plus the 18/19yos we draft.

I think Madi Prespakis (Carlton) and Georgia Patrikios (Saints) are the midfilders/top two targets to get, so what other spots do we try to fill with the remaining two “freebies”?

I don’t think we could get Huntington from the Doggies, but we could get Bonnie Toogood. Grew up following Essendon, and gives us a forward with a similiar build to Mia-Rae Clifford (Mia-Rae might get one season tops, but not long term, as currently 35 - Toogood is 23).

Now for the fourth freebie (and a defender), I originally thought, let’s go tall and get Stacey Livingstone from Collingwood, but… I reckon we go for a mid-sized defender who reads the ball well, and thus I reckon we go and get Jess Duffin from North Melbourne.

Thoughts?

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Livingstone is an utter beast but she’d be 35yo during our first season.

We 110% need key forwards.

(My AFLW viewing is limited.)

The key forward we could target (if we can’t get Huntington or Toogood from the Dogs) is Eden Zanker from the Dees.

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Confirmed that Charlotte Miller has been promoted to AFLW and VFLW Operations Manager.

An interesting line in the article - we seem to be on the search for an AFLW coach from the outside, as it appears Major will just be the VFLW and Development Coach.

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Not sure how you came to that conclusion: the coming VFLW season in no way conflicts with our first AFLW season. If he’d been announced for two years, sure…

It’s this line that stands out for me…

"We have had initial discussions with a number of potential coaches within the industry and our process to appoint a senior coach remains ongoing.”

Patrikios might be cooked.

Yep, I think so.

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Lennox, an adorable hat, and Julian.

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