AFTER another bottom three finish, Geelong has brought in some fresh faces to rejuvenate its list ahead of the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft. The Cats lost a couple of key talents that had been viewed as a long-term prospects after coming through the Geelong Falcons pathway, but have also brought in some key players to help with the rebuild. In terms of the draft, the Cats enter it relatively late with their first selection at Pick 33, before having the majority of their picks completed in short succession later in the draft.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 33, 42, 56, 59, 67, 85 | VIC DRAFT POOL: 18, 23, 31, 33, 37, 45
Geelong officially lost former Geelong Falcons Denby Taylor (retired) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (Essendon), with players in the same age bracket in Olivia Barber (Collingwood), Millie Brown (Western Bulldogs) and Stephanie Williams (Richmond) also departing. With Barber gone, the Cats will be looking for some height, as Phoebe McWilliams was also not offered another contract and headed to the Blues. The Cats regained some vital experience in Demon duo Shelley Scott and Jacqueline Parry, with ex-Falcon Ingrid Houtsma returning to Geelong, and the biggest inclusion of all, West Coast star youngster Mikayla Bowen joining the Cattery.
Geelong’s first pick comes in at 18, which is a tough spot for the Cats, mainly because it gets past the most obvious choices and lands in the preference stage of the draft. Last year Geelong showed they was not afraid to look outside its region, though there are a number of Falcons with AFL Draft Combine invites. From an overall perspective, Bendigo’s Octavia Di Donato could e a good fit if still on the board, with the Cats also likely to look at Paige Scott – who impressed up forward for the club’s VFLW side – or potentially pounce on a rebounding defender such as Western Jets’ Laura Elliott. If they opt to go local, expect it to be Charlotte Simpson, an inside midfielder from the Falcons who had a good national carnival. Simpson is also a potential father-daughter selection, with father Sean and brother Sam, both playing for the Cats.
Geelong Falcons forward Analea McKee has garnered interest from AFLW clubs and could be a good fit inside 50 for the Cats, as could the versatile Elizabeth Dowling. Ashleigh Van Loon and Mia Van Dyke are other Falcons representatives, whilst Grace Purcell might have the most upside, but will miss Season 7 due to an anterior crucial ligament (ACL) injury she suffered earlier in the year. The Cats also blooded GWV Rebels ruck Kalani Scoullar through the VFLW program and would be a good fit with Rene Caris‘ departure, whilst Heidi Woodley and Charli Granville seem like unique forward options for the Cats if they adjust their focus to the metropolitan clubs. Bendigo Pioneers’ Tegan Williams is a key position talent who can play both ends who might be a good fit to add size to the squad.
Geelong does not have it easy at the AFL Women’s Draft, but they are in a position to pick up some sliders or value picks later in the draft. Once again there are plenty of Geelong Falcons available if they choose to go local, or they pick up a surprise packet that they view as having high upside. The most interesting pick might be Purcell if they opt to go there, given she will miss Season 7, but as a rebuilding side, can afford to carry a player for a year for the upside they might offer in future years.