2022 AFLW Draft preview: West Coast
UNDOUBTEDLY one of the most active players in the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft, West Coast is primed to welcome seven new players onto its list for Season 7. The Eagles have positioned themselves well to have the upper hand against their state rivals Fremantle, with seven of the first eight selections in the West Australian pool. The Eagles will also be able to welcome a generational talent onto their list, and look to continue the rebuild and influx of young players at the club.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 14, 15, 24, 36, 43, 47, 53 | WA DRAFT POOL: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8
West Coast had a lengthy list of outs from season 2022 heading into the AFLW Draft, with Maddy Collier heading to expansion club Sydney, Grace Kelly going to St Kilda, and Niamh Kelly and Amber Ward taking up a spot with the Crows in Adelaide. The biggest loss was that of young gun and best and fairest winner Mikayla Bowen, who wanted a change of scenery, heading to the Cattery. A whopping five players retired in Tayla Bresland, Melissa Caulfield, Andrea Gilmore, Courtney Guard and Parris Laurie, while the Eagles further delisted Ashlee Atkins and Lauren Gauci. The Eagles did manage to pick up a few players through the trade period, receiving West Australian Krstel Petrevski, developing tall Isabella Simmons and Crows hard-running utility Jessica Sedunary. Having four priority selections, the Eagles also chose mature-age talent from the WAFLW in Claremont duo Ella Smith and Sasha Goranova to beef up the midfield, and welcome back former Eagles-listed talent Kate Bartlett after the Peel Thunder goalkicker won two league goalkicking awards the past two seasons.
The easiest call of any first pick in this series, it is going to be Peel Thunder’s Ella Roberts. Not to be fooled by being Pick 14, the Eagles are picking up the star of the AFLW Draft, and most consistent over the past few years. Having earned an AFLW Under 19 Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP) as a 16-year-old, as well as back-to-back West Australian MVPs and All-Australian selections, Roberts is the premier player across the country. She will have an immediate impact at AFLW level playing as a forward, and will eventually follow a similar trajectory to her junior career and spend time up the ground. Eagles fans following the WAFLW know Roberts needs little introduction, and no doubt they will be thrilled to have her in the blue and gold.
West Coast is in the box seat to select the players the Eagles need without too much interference from their purple neighbours. They have the first three picks, but their choices are made more difficult by anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries to two of the brightest draft hopefuls in Lauren Wakfer and Emily Elkington. West Coast can afford to carry extra players for Season 7 as part of the rebuild, and will be more likely to select them than Fremantle, who remain in the premiership window. They would get a ruck and a skilful, tough midfielder in those two, and with the chances Fremantle will likely leave them given injuries, they can be taken after the Dockers pick. Swan Districts Abbygail Bushby and Peel Thunder’s Jaide Britton are the top two available for Season 7, and would be good shouts to fill out those second and third selections. Bushby is a running midfielder/forward who plays more inside, while Britton is a skilful outside winger. Later on, one would expect the Eagles to pick up at least Wakfer, but possibly both the injured talents, with another Claremont mature-ager in Madeleine Scanlon also stepping up this season. That leaves Bella Mann as the other West Australian with an AFLW Draft Combine invite, meaning at least one player will land on the Eagles list who does not have a combine invite. The Eagles will likely pick up a mature-age readymade talent and could go Claremont’s Claire Ortlepp, Subiaco’s Tarnica Golisano or perhaps a surprise packet in former Fremantle forward Sabreena Duffy among the potential choices. West Coast have a lot of options to pick from, so the Eagles are in a great spot heading into the 2022 AFLW Draft.
West Coast have seven of the first eight selections in the West Australian pool for the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft, and will be able to pick up a mix of top-age and mature-age talents for the upcoming Season 7. The Eagles will pick up Roberts who will headline the draft crop, whilst being able to surround here with plenty of familiar faces out of the WAFLW as they hope to rise up the ladder in the coming seasons.