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AFLW: How your club is faring ahead of 2019

IT’S BEEN a hectic month of signings and trades, but the 2019 AFL Women’s lists are starting to take shape ahead of the draft in October.

Expansion clubs Geelong and North Melbourne had their own exclusive 10-day signing period, before the eight inaugural clubs had their chance at re-signing and trading players.

The sign and trade period concluded with a monster deal which involved five clubs, 12 picks and two trades – Adelaide defender Talia Radan to Melbourne and Collingwood forward Christina Bernardi to Greater Western Sydney.

Just three delisted players found homes in the short free agency window that followed, with two others (Ruby Blair and Jessy Keeffe) re-signed by Brisbane after being delisted.

Each club has two rookie spots. There is no rookie draft this year, but a rookie signing period opened on June 11 and runs until September 28.

Players signed as rookies must not have played football for the past three years or been involved in an AFLW high-performance program.

Here’s a snapshot of each club’s transactions:

ADELAIDE

In: Renee Forth (Greater Western Sydney)
Out: Talia Radan (Melbourne); Sophie Armitstead, Georgia Bevan, Calista Boyd*, Abbey Holmes, Rachael Killian, Becchara Palmer*, Brianna Walling* (delisted).
Draft picks: 8, 30, 37, 41, 47
Rookie spots available: 2

Despite finishing fifth, the Crows were only one win out of the Grand Final, and they’re backing the bulk of their list again in 2019.

Renee Forth – currently playing for the Adelaide-aligned Northern Territory Thunder in the VFLW competition – adds some midfield depth that was sorely lacking at times this season.

Given the emergence of Sarah Allan at full-back, Talia Radan (two games in 2018) isn’t as big a loss as she would have been a year ago.

Sophie Armitstead (three games), Georgia Bevan (five), Abbey Holmes (three) and Rachael Killian (two) were all in and out of the side this season and given the club could only sign a maximum of 23 players ahead of the draft, may have been cut to allow it to fall under the threshold.

Midfielder Bevan is the most likely of the quartet to get re-drafted by Adelaide in October, having missed just two games in two seasons.

BRISBANE

In: Lauren Arnell (Carlton)
Out: Kaitlyn Ashmore, Brittany Gibson, Tahlia Randall, Jamie Stanton (North Melbourne); Nicole Hildebrand (Collingwood); Renee Cowan, Kalinda Howarth, Molly Ritson* (delisted). Ruby Blair and Jessy Keeffe were delisted before being re-signed as free agents.
Draft picks: 9, 22, 33, 44, 55
Rookie spots available: 1 (Krystal Scott was retained as a rookie; Gabby Collingwood was upgraded to the primary list).

Brisbane lost out badly with expansion club North Melbourne signing four of its players. Ashmore had an existing connection with North’s VFLW-aligned club Melbourne University, while Gibson will return to Tasmania to train with the Kangaroos’ contingent there.

The loss of ruck Randall and running defender Stanton really hurts, given they are Queenslanders and had much-improved seasons in 2018.

The Lions will need a ruck or will be forced to rely on 173cm Sharni Webb, as they did in 2017. They also will need additional outside runners as replacements.

The five delisted players (including Blair and Keeffe) did not play a game, although Cowan was sidelined with a left knee injury (torn meniscus).

CARLTON

In: Amelia Barden (Collingwood)
Out: Maddison Gay (Melbourne); Lauren Arnell (Brisbane); Danielle Hardiman, Kate Gillespie-Jones (North Melbourne); Maddy Keryk, Sarah Last, Laura Attard, Kate Shierlaw, Tiahna Cochrane*, Katie-Jayne Grieve* (delisted).
Draft picks: 3, 16, 21, 27, 38, 40, 48
Rookie spots available: 2 (Courtney Webb was upgraded to the primary list).

Carlton received a boost to its inside midfielder stocks with the acquisition of Amelia Barden from Collingwood.

The clean disposal of former netballer Maddy Gay, winner of the club’s best first-year player award, will be missed.

Kate Shierlaw may consider herself unlucky to be delisted, she often provided a target up forward and worked well with Darcy Vescio.

Two key defenders will be on Carlton’s wish-list after the departure of important pair Danielle Hardiman and Kate Gillespie-Jones.

COLLINGWOOD

In: Nicole Hildebrand (Brisbane)
Out: Caitlyn Edwards, Bree White (both retired); Christina Bernardi (Greater Western Sydney); Moana Hope, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King (all North Melbourne) Amelia Barden (Carlton), Lauren Tesoriero, Meg Hutchins and Tara Morgan (all delisted)
Draft Picks: 5, 11, 13, 18, 19, 29, 32, 51
Rookie spots available: 2 (Eliza Hynes, Georgie Parker and Holly Whitford were upgraded to the primary list).

After starting the season with so many forwards some had to play in defence, Collingwood lost five proven goalkickers: Christina Bernardi, Moana Hope, Jasmine Garner, Caitlyn Edwards and Jess Duffin.

The Pies are desperate for depth all over the field, having lost seven of the top 10 from their 2018 best and fairest count. In particular, they will need another ruck to support former rookie Eliza Hynes after the departure of Emma King.

Edwards was an unexpected and costly retirement. The 21-year-old has chosen to focus on her rugby career playing for Western Force.

FREMANTLE

In: Nil
Out: Stacey Barr, Kirby Bentley, Jade De Melo*, Beatrice Devlyn*, Lara Filocamo, Tiah Haynes, Emily McGuire, Belinda Smith, Lisa Webb*, Jodie White (delisted); Amy Lavell (retired).
Draft Picks: 4, 17, 28, 39, 49, 58, 63, 68
Rookie spots available: 2

Fremantle delisted a whopping 11 players, with leading goalkicker Amy Lavell choosing to hang up the boots.

The Dockers have previously re-drafted delisted players who have shown good form in the WAWFL, with midfielder Lara Filocamo (who finished third in the 2017 competition best and fairest award) and NAB Rising Star nominee Emily McGuire the best chance of pulling on the purple jumper again.

Running midfielder Lisa Webb was excellent in her first season but has chosen to step away due to family reasons. In consultation with the AFL, an offer remains on the table for her and she is able to be re-signed at any time if she becomes available.

GEELONG

List: Cassie Blakeway, Maddy Boyd, Richelle Cranston, Kate Darby, Renee Garing, Rebecca Goring, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare, Jordan Ivey, Phoebe McWilliams, Aasta O’Connor, Danielle Orr, Anna Teague
Draft picks: 1, 2, 7, 14, 20, 24, 35, 46, 56, 61, 66, 70, 73, 76, 78
Open-aged signing spots available: 10
Rookie spots available: 2

Geelong is primarily looking to its own VFLW side for any further signings ahead of the draft, as it builds its list ahead of its entry to the competition next year.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

In: Christina Bernardi (Collingwood)
Out: Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams (Geelong); Renee Forth (Adelaide); Melissa Freckleton, Rebecca Privitelli, Alex Saundry, Pippa Smyth, Renee Tomkins, Haneen Zreika* (delisted).
Draft picks: 12, 42, 52, 59, 64, 69, 72, 75
Rookie spots available: 1 (Tait Mackrill was retained; Elle Bennetts was upgraded to the primary list).

A change in attack from Greater Western Sydney after last year’s big list turnover saw 14 new players added.

The Giants got the leading key forward they needed in Christina Bernardi after losing Phoebe McWilliams to Geelong, but would probably like to add another one to cover for Maddy Boyd.

Defender Renee Tomkins is probably the unluckiest to be delisted after playing 11 of 14 games over two seasons.

MELBOURNE

In: Maddison Gay (Carlton); Talia Radan (Adelaide)
Out: Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare* Anna Teague* (Geelong); Jasmine Grierson, Emma Humphries (North Melbourne); Laura Duryea, Maddie Shevlin* and Alyssa Mifsud (delisted).
Draft picks: 6, 15, 31, 43, 51
Rookie spots available: 2

The Demons were hit hard by the expansion club signings, losing six players to Geelong and North Melbourne. Hickey looks like a costly loss on paper, but she will be 34 and coming off a knee reconstruction next year, so it remains to be seen how long she continues playing.

The signing of Radan from Adelaide covers the delisting of Duryea. Radan may not be the quickest key defender around, but she reads the ball well.

Mifsud was a surprising delisting, but with AFLW teams tending to play just one big key forward, she had effectively been forced out with the emergence of Tegan Cunningham.

Gay provides yet more depth in an already strong midfield.

NORTH MELBOURNE

List: Sophie Abbatangelo, Kaitlyn Ashmore, Daria Bannister, Jenna Bruton, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Brittany Gibson, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Jasmine Grierson, Danielle Hardiman, Moana Hope, Emma Humphries, Emma Kearney, Elisha King, Emma King, Georgia Nanscawen, Tahlia Randall, Ashleigh Riddell, Maddison Smith, Jamie Stanton
Draft picks: 25, 36, 53, 57, 62, 67, 71, 74, 77
Open-aged signing spots available: 3
Rookie spots available: 2

North Melbourne has only a few spots left for players ahead of the draft, and may continue its trend of signing players from its VFLW-aligned side Melbourne University.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

In: Belinda Smith (Fremantle)
Out: Daria Bannister, Jenna Bruton, Emma Kearney (North Melbourne); Aasta O’Connor (Geelong); Jess Anderson, Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey, Kim Ebb (delisted).
Draft picks: 10, 23, 26, 34, 45, 55
Rookie spots available: 2 (Naomi Ferres, Kim Rennie and Bonnie Toogood were upgraded to the primary list).

The Bulldogs were relatively quiet in the trade period, but did attempt to get Fremantle star Dana Hooker to Victoria in what would have been a huge coup for the reigning premiers.

They’ve lost some of their much-vaunted midfield depth with Kearney and Bruton crossing to North and a first-choice ruck in O’Connor.

Bailey (two games), Anderson (one), Ashley (zero) and Ebb (zero; back injury) were delisted, with former rookies Ferres, Rennie and Toogood promoted to the senior list.

Running intercept defender Smith should slot straight into the team next year after crossing from Fremantle.

*rookie

Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS