2022 AFLW Draft preview: Western Bulldogs
HAVING lost half of its best forwards during the off-season, Western Bulldogs will be on the lookout for some extra firepower in the upcoming 2022 AFL Women’s Draft. The Bulldogs had a tough off-season losing some of their most damaging players, including a former number one selection. Those losses were off-set by bringing in a couple of young, developing talents who could add a spark up respective ends of the ground. Now the Bulldogs head into the AFLW Draft with four selections to bring in some quality talents.
AFLW DRAFT PICKS: 21, 29, 37, 68 | VIC DRAFT POOL: 10, 15, 20, 38
The biggest shock of the off-season – perhaps across the entire league not just the Western Bulldogs – was the announcement that key forward Isabel Huntington would head north to GWS GIANTS. Having suffered multiple anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, the former number one selection had an unlucky run, but showed more than enough to suggest she could be one of the best players in the league on her day. Fellow tall Bonnie Toogood went back to her roots and took up a spot with Essendon, with the Bombers fan joining Ellyse Gamble at The Hangar. Another forward-turned-midfielder Brooke Lochland also exited to an expansion side, but to Sydney, while Ashleigh Guest and Hannah Scott both retired. The Bulldogs were able to recoup some of the losses by bringing in some X-factor in North Melbourne forward Daisy Bateman who fills a direct need, while Millie Brown crossed from the Cattery to be an aerial presence at Whitten Oval.
Western Bulldogs enter the draft at Pick 21, or the 10th pick in the Victorian pool. The losses of some of the top Victorian prospects to NSW-ACT might have changed a few tactics from clubs and the Dogs will have to wait and see who is available at the selection. They would no doubt love it local Western Jets talent Charlotte Baskaran slid, though that seems unlikely. A Northern Knights feel at the Western Bulldogs might be a shout towards Rylie Wilcox as that extra firepower up forward. A like-for-like selection when it comes to the missing talls could be Eastern Ranges Mia Austin who looms as the pick of the key forwards.
The Bulldogs have another two picks inside the Top 20 Victorian selections, so it means they will still grab either some sliders or some value pickups. A couple of AFLW Draft Combine invitees who have run out for the Bulldogs’ VFL Women’s side are Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels duo Jamie-Lee Speakman and Molly Walton. They might also try and grab an overage tall who can play multiple positions such as Geelong Falcons duo Analea McKee or Elizabeth Dowling, or developing tall Amelie Smith. Bendigo Pioneers utility Tegan Williams is a like-for-like with Huntington, while Eastern Ranges’ Charli Granville and Oakleigh Chargers’ Charlotte Taylor might also fill important roles for the red, white and blue. If they look to pick up a defender, then Western Jets rebounding machine Laura Elliott, along with Speakman are good shouts.
Western Bulldogs have lost a fair bit of talent in the off-season, brought in a couple of high-upside players and positioned themselves so they can fill a few needs. Though they might not have too many picks at the pointy end, there will be more than enough value pickups for the Dogs to be able to develop some players be it talls or smalls.