IN arguably the easiest to predict AFLW Draft hand in the entire competition, Sydney will be first off the board both to select and to finish selecting in the Swans’ inaugural draft. The New South Wales side will hold the coveted top pick, having convinced a couple of top Victorian prospects to head north, and the Swans will make five selections, all of which will come by Pick 13, before the first established team even enters the draft. With two players pre-selected who will have to be picked up, the two Victorian talents and a Swans fan from the GIANTS Academy, Sydney’s draft haul is looking impressive.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 1, 5, 11, 12, 13 | VIC DRAFT POOL: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Though not landing a massive fish in terms of recruits, the Swans did pick up some quality players who can step up to fill important roles. Western Bulldogs’ Brooke Lochland is a dangerous forward who is capable of kicking bags, with Melbourne’s Brenna Tarrant and Collingwood’s Aliesha Newman providing some good options inside 50. In defence, Maddy Collier and Rebecca Privitelli provide some experience, with rucks Alexia Hamilton and Ally Morphett providing depth in that area. Lisa Steane will add some outside dash, with Sarah Dargan providing the inside hardness. Of the first timers stepping up, VFLW talents Paige Sheppard, Molly Eastman and Sarah Skinner are readymade options, while overagers Ruby Sargent-Wilson and Jaide Anthony have bright futures.
Sydney boasts Pick 1 in the AFL Women’s Draft, which is now tipped to be Western Jets star, Montana Ham. Having convinced the 178cm midfielder/forward to head to the Harbour City, the top Vic Metro prospect from this year’s AFLW Under 18 Championships will be an immediate hit, and one who can be that franchise player the Swans fans get around. Strong overhead and in the contest, Ham is a player who can easily start Round 1 in the middle, or as a leading target inside 50, whatever coach Scott Gowans is keen on.
The other two “live selections” are expected to be GIANTS Academy midfielder/forward Cynthia Hamilton, and smooth-moving inside midfielder Sofia Hurley. Hamilton provides the inside hardness and contested marking, while Hurley is the evasive type who can explode from a stoppage and deliver the ball inside 50. Like Ham, Hurley hails from Melbourne, having run around for the Sandringham Dragons where she won back-to-back best and fairests. Hamilton would join sister Lexi at the club, having weighed up nomination both NSW-ACT and Victoria. The local talent would have been tipped for Pick 1 before Ham chose to come up, though if the club went with a local then she is the one to go for. The remaining two selections are two players the Swans have committed to are athletic star Montana Beruldsen and Alice Mitchell who are expected to be Picks 12 ad 13.
Sydney Swans might have a predictable AFLW Draft hand, but they are guaranteed three young gun talents to go with their high-upside local players to complete a five-pick haul. Not hanging around for the long, the Swans draft will be run and done pretty quick, with everything over by Pick 13 and be able to prepare for a big preseason ahead of the red and white’s inaugural season at the elite level.