HAVING lost two of its best players before a ball was bounced last season, St Kilda will be hoping for a bit more luck in Season 7. Without Georgia Patrikios and Tyanna Smith, the Saints midfield lacked that touch of class, and they will be hoping to regain some troops for the upcoming season or at least 2023. In the meantime, they have had a few changes both in and out, and will head into the AFL Women’s Draft with four selections – one known – but just the one at the pointy end.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 16, 63, 74, 81 | VIC DRAFT POOL: 7, 36, 41, 44
Th Saints were able to bring in a couple of key players to fill roles over the trade period, with Carlton talent Nicola Stevens able to bring that outside run and carry, and Erin McKinnon will step into the ruck void left by injured tall Rhiannon Watt. The midfield will be a concern with both Tilly Lucas-Rodd (Hawthorn) and Catherine Phillips (Essendon) leaving, and Jacqui Vogt joining Phillips at the Bombers. Kate McCarthy and Watt were among five delistees, while the Saints wee able to pick up Eagle Grace Kelly, as well as Ciara Fitzgerald.
St Kilda is the first Victorian club outside the expansion sides to make a selection, coming in at number seven on the night. They will need to make it count as then there is a long way – 47 picks in fact – to the red, white and black’s next selection. With a number of potential selections in the top echelon of the Victorian pool heading to NSW-ACT, the Saints will see which players are left by the time they enter, but will likely go for best available midfielder. A dream scenario could be Western Jets skipper Charlotte Baskaran who is readymade and a natural leader, while midfielder/forward Bridie Hipwell could be another shrewd pick for the Saints. For some outside pace, Rylie Wilcox is a great choice, while Charlotte Taylor could be the inside replacement the Saints are searching for.
The three later selections are a gamble, but one of them is known in father-daughter selection Caitlin Matthews. As has been the case in past years, the newest Saint was picked up prior to the draft, but the selection will not be known until the night. All the last three selections are close together, which means very little difference which one she ends up at. As the Saints will likely look to bolster that midfield predominantly – given they are getting a defender in Matthews – they could look to their VFLW side and pick up a Charlotte Blair or Olivia Robinson, who are both Dandenong talents representing the Southern Saints. They might look for a more readymade midfield option in Essendon VFLW’s Amelia Radford, or a pure inside type in Felicity Crank or hard runner in Reese Sutton.
St Kilda will have two parts to its draft, the one very early selection, and then the three picks to wrap up the draft. The Saints will look to bolster the midfield, with one more defender guaranteed to walk into the club, and with Pick 7, the red, white and black are guaranteed to pick up an incredibly talented player who is Round 1 ready.