REIGNING premiers Adelaide head into the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft with the biggest challenge the Crows have faced since inception. The most successful organisation will play second fiddle at the draft to newcomers Port Adelaide, with the Power set to pick the eyes out of this year’s South Australian pool. In the first of our AFLW Draft preview series, we take a look at who the Crows might be able to target with their selections.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 40, 75, 78, 96 | SA DRAFT POOL: 5, 8, 9, 10
Adelaide is the most successful team in AFL Women’s history, and will look to continue their success despite a new challenge in the form of rivals Port Adelaide. The Power have picked up a handful of Crows for their expansion bid, headlined by veteran but the greatest modern day player in Erin Phillips. The reigning premiers managed to re-sign the majority of their list, with the likes of Anne Hatchard, Ebony Marinoff and Sarah Allan all among those targeted but retained.
Adelaide will have to go into the draft to pick the fifth best available player, and with the strength of the list – and across all thirds of the ground – the Crows have the flexibility to snap up whoever Port leaves on the table. One option might be Norwood’s Lana Schwerdt, with the daughter of former Crow Stephen (25 games) eligible for the tricolours. She is another talented midfielder who is tough as nails, while fellow Redleg and All-Australian talent Sachi Syme is another experienced midfielder. If looking to add some firepower up forward, Ella Little is one capable of filling a role, whilst SANFLW leading goalkicker Alana Lishmund showed plenty in her over-age year. If Amelie Borg is left on the board, then the Crows would be thrilled to snap up the strong defender.
Adelaide has the capacity to go mature-age given its flag window, even without Phillips in the front half of the ground. A readymade forward option is South Adelaide’s Jess Waterhouse who is an elite kick of the footy and so dangerous inside 50. Through the midfield, Glenelg duo Jessica Bates and Ellie Kellock would surely come under consideration, whilst Central District skipper Shelby Smith is another readymade choice for the Crows. Some of the later options on the board might be South Adelaide defender Jaslynne Smith, West Adelaide on-baller Zoe Venning or Bulldogs ruck Isabelle Starmer who have all pieced together strong seasons. Former AFLW-listed talents in Jessica Edwards (ex-Carlton) and Katelyn Pope (ex-West Coast) both starred in the premiership-winning Roosters’ side.
The Crows do not need a lot as the fear of being ravaged by Port Adelaide from some externally did not quite happen, and they remain a real premiership contender in season seven. They have the ideal scenario of being able to pick up some sliders and readymade players who can step up and play a role. With the SANFLW being the strongest state league competition in the country, there is little doubt the reigning premiers can plug some holes and have a crack at yet another flag.