Under the Radar: Talented trio in focus
AS the various state leagues are either heating up or winding down depending on the state, there are some players who loom as great value in the end of year AFL Women’s Draft. The AFL Women’s lists – bar any players put on inactive lists late – are set but clubs are still working hard to identify talent for the 2024 season (Season 9).
In this article we will focus in on a trio players from across the country who might come into consideration off the back of strong seasons.
Chelsea Gillard (Maroochydore/Lions Academy)
08/10/2005 | 178cm | Key Forward
Gillard kicks off our list as a key position player who is one flying under the radar this season. Standing at 178cm, the predominant key forward has strong hands, competes well one-on-one and has a lovely booming kick that can hit the scoreboard. Though she has not has much exposure as some others her age, Gillard came through the Calder Cannons junior pathway before moving up to Maroochydore in Queensland to be involved with the Lions Academy. She is hoping to play against the Cannons on June 3 and will be a difficult matchup for her former teammates.
Madison Lane (Central District)
06/08/2003 | 162cm | Small Defender
After having some injury interruptions over the journey, the former state captain has enjoyed more of a consistent run in 2023. Since returning from injury in Round 3, the Central District defender has averaged 14.8 disposals, 3.1 marks and 4.5 rebound 50s while using the ball at 76 per cent disposal efficiency. A goldmine for good value selections, Lane is a name that is thereabouts when talking about mature-age draft prospects, with her balance of natural smarts and balance a standout aspect of her game. She is a little undersized against some opponents but does well one-on-one, and is a reliable user of the ball under pressure.
Charli Wicksteed (South Fremantle)
04/11/2002 | 169cm | Midfielder/Forward
An eye-catching player who turns 21 at the end of the year, Wicksteed has a nice balance of athleticism and skill that will attract clubs. She used to play as a forward where she showed glimpses without consistency, but since getting a chance in the midfield, has turned it on. Wicksteed typically bursts out of the stoppages and gets the ball forward to dangerous spots, but is also capable of hitting the scoreboard too having had that forward nous. Funnily enough, teammate Tahleah Mulder‘s rise to the AFL Women’s has helped Wicksteed secure a midfield spot at the Bulldogs and play a similar role.