ANOTHER expansion side into the competition, Port Adelaide has gone about assembling its inaugural AFL Women’s perfectly to be a danger side from day one. Picking up a handful of stars and some readymade state league talents, the Power have the first four picks, and seven of the first eight in the South Australian pool. Port Adelaide will look to shift the power that the Crows have held in the state, and indeed across the competition since inception.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 3, 7, 23, 31, 45, 61, 80 | SA DRAFT POOL: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10
Port Adelaide started off the signing period with a bang, officially getting the signature of the player everyone expected the Power to get, Erin Phillips. Though the elite talent is in the twilight of her career, she has been the best player of the AFL Women’s era, and will serve as an incredible role model for the rest of the side. Fellow Crows Angela Foley and Justine Mules followed Phillips to Alberton, with Port Adelaide’s Gemma Houghton another outstanding signing. Brisbane duo Maria Moloney and Indy Tahau were joined by a quartet of Gold Coast Suns. With Collingwood’s Ebony O’Dea joining Hannah Dunn, Brittany Perry and Cheyenne Hammond among those returning to South Australia, the Power also picked up some star state leagues including SANFLW trio, Jade Halfpenny, Jade De Melo and Alex Ballard, and the best of the WAFLW in Abbey Dowrick, Julia Teakle and Tessa Doumanis forming a strong forwardline.
Like West Coast in the West Australian pool, the selection here – at Pick 3 overall – is a simple one. AFLW Academy member and North Adelaide dual premiership player Hannah Ewings is the clear standout in the South Australian pool, and it would be quite a shock for her name not be called out first on draft night. An inside midfielder/forward, Ewings will be an immediate starter in the side and provide extra potency wherever she plays. Though Port hold a monopoly on picks and the order will not matter, the first pick usually goes to the best performing junior, which is Ewings.
Port Adelaide has the versatility to pick a variety of players with the draft hand at its disposal, but one would expect the Power not to give Adelaide a shot at picking up the standout tall of the top-agers in defender Amelie Borg. Glenelg running defender Sarah Goodwin would be a strong candidate to be the second or third pick to ensure the Crows did not get a look at her. Another All-Australian, the Power could pick up a quartet of All-Australians with their first four picks, including Norwood midfielder Sachi Syme and West Adelaide defender/midfielder Keeley Kustermann. Then there is Gippsland Power midfielder/defender Yasmin Duursma who announced her intentions to join her brother Xavier at Alberton. For more defensive versatility, over-ager Kiera Mueller would be another strong get, with midfielder/forward Ella Little having a breakout season in 2022. Of course the Power could also look to the SANFL Women’s for further mature-age talent, with reigning league best and fairest Jess Bates, teammate and premiership captain Ellie Kellock or Central District midfielder Shelby Smith among the potential options. From a younger perspective, recent State Academy graduates Gypsy Schirmer, Madison Lane and Zoe Venning might be called upon, whilst Bulldogs’ ruck Isabelle Starmer could provide readymade support in that role.
Port has already built an incredibly dangerous list that could easily see it be the most damaging of the expansion sides. With the strongest state league in the country to fall back upon, and a plethora of high draft picks and Under 18 All-Australians, the Power will build a competitive list from day one, but also one that will compete strongly long-term and be a threat for many years to come.