2022 AFLW Draft team review: Western Bulldogs
AFTER losing a number of players to other AFL Women’s sides, the Western Bulldogs added four new faces through the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft to add to those couple of experienced players through the Trade Period. The Western Bulldogs welcomed talented youngsters Millie Brown (Geelong) and Daisy Bateman (North Melbourne) for either end of the field, then added more speed to the already electrifying lineup through the draft to make the Dogs one of the quickest teams going around.
Run and carry. The Bulldogs opted to pick up players who are not afraid to take the game on and have that athletic touch about them, with Northern Knights speedster Wilcox so creative going forward. She is joined by fellow midfielder Coyne who could play inside or outside, whilst Wilcox can also go forward and be a menace inside 50. Woodley is a natural forward who pushes up the ground with high upside and she can certainly move with ball-in-hand, while Vernon comes from the Carlton system, looking to make the most of a second chance by adding some red to her jumper. Following on from their draft last year where they picked up the need for speed, the Dogs have added even more pace to that side.
WHERE THEY FIT:
Three of the four should fit in fairly early in the season if not straight away, with Wilcox, Coyne and Vernon all potentially able to roll into the best 21. Wilcox in particular can add that flair inside 50, and will be a damaging player who could eventually move onto a wing, but will likely start as that small forward, akin to as she did progressing through the Knights program. Coyne will be a midfield candidate for the Dogs, but could take time to crack into that onball group, which means she will either work her way into the side, or start off a forward flank and earn her stripes.
Vernon is the most readymade talent having come from Carlton, and will be one who can slide straight into the 21 if required, and has that experience to help with a young group despite still being young herself. Woodley will likely be a candidate for a later debut given she is more of a project type, though the forward has some upside and come along nicely from when she first started at the Cannons, to her Vic Metro representation.
The Western Bulldogs have plenty of potential for the future, and while they are still building – and have lost some experience over the off-season through expansion, trades and general departures – they were able to bring in some great talent for the future. The Dogs added some genuine speed into their lineup, with the draftees particularly influential in transiiton.