IT was a relatively stable off-season for Collingwood, losing five players to other clubs, but only one was consistently a best 21 player. The Magpies have lost a fair bit of depth which they will be looking to chase down in the draft, and will have to look to the new season minus two of their best players in Brianna Davey and Brittany Bonnici, who are still recovering from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. Despite that, the Pies still managed to reach the finals and will be eyeing off players who can not only fill roles for the now, but also for the future.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 30, 57, 89 | VIC DRAFT POOL: 16, 32, 47
Collingwood will welcome the return of Davey and Bonnici for the 2023 season, but for Season 7, the side will be without them. The Pies also lost key forward Sophie Alexander to the Bombers, whilst emerging youngsters Amelia Velardo (Carlton) and Bella Smith (Sydney) both departed, Ebony O’Dea headed back to South Australia to take up a spot with Port Adelaide, and Aliesha Newman was able to secure a longer contract alongside Smith at the Swans. They brought in three players in Geelong’s Olivia Barber, Carlton’s Lauren Brazzale and Richmond’s Sarah Sansonetti, whilst also recruiting cricketer Emily Smith as a rookie to replace the delisted Imogen Purcell.
Due to the Magpies’ success, they find themselves outside the pointy end of the draft, with Pick 16 in the Victorian pool the first chance to read out a name. The strategy of the Pies will be very fascinating as the easier option – at least for Season 7 – will be to mould existing players into those permanent inside roles. Given the gap between Collingwood’s first and second selections, they will look to make it count. They might pull the trigger on lifelong Pies fan Paige Scott as a forward option, having pieced together a good few games for Geelong VFLW after the national carnival. They could also eye off the likes of Octavia Di Donato or Keely Coyne as players who can run and carry on the outside to replace those runners who go inside. If available, Murray Bushrangers’ Keeley Skepper is another strong choice at the selection, having won Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). She can play inside or in defence.
The later couple of picks – with four becoming three due to the Sansonetti pickup – could be utilised on players with upside. GWV Rebels’ Jamie-Lee Speakman is one who could be called out, with the utility proving herself at both ends through her natural footy smarts, and is another Pies fan from that region. Similarly, Dandenong Stingrays’ Olivia Robinson is a skilful midfielder/forward who could be around the later picks, with teammates Taylah Gatt or Brooke Smith other Stingrays who might fly under the radar. Collingwood has a link with the Chargers, and forward Amelie Smith who spent some time with the club’s VFLW program could be one they have a close eye on.
Collingwood might have a bit of a patch-up season in Season 7 with the loss of Davey and Bonnici, and have lost a chunk of depth. If the Magpies can stand tall through adversity of the upcoming season, then setting themselves up in 2023 will be a good shout. With a number of talented sliders with upside potentially around at their selections, the Magpies have plenty of choices from which to sift through to bring into their AFLW program.