2023 AFLW Draft preview: GWS

GREATER Western Sydney (GWS) Giants again had a season to forget, finishing 16th and winning just two of 10 throughout Season 8. The Giants did have some excuses, losing key midfield star Alyce Parker to injury and all-time leading goalkicker Cora Staunton at the end of Season 7, with Season 8 Rising Star Zarlie Goldsworthy being among the positives to come out of the year.


In: Mikayla Pauga, Aliesha Newman, Courtney Murphy, Pick 30, Pic 39, Pick 61, Pick 66, Pick 69
Out: Tait Mackrill, Grace Hill, Tess Cattle, Zara Hamilton (delisted), Rene Caris, Jodie Hicks, Ally Dallaway (traded), Pick 24, Pick 43

Draft Selections: 3, 39, 61, 63, 66, 69

GWS was not shy on making moves, with a lot of the depth players delisted, while Ally Dallaway was a surprise departure to Richmond alongside Jodie Hicks, while recent acquisition Rene Caris went to her third club after being picked up ahead of Season 8. The Giants managed to hold onto Pick 3, and grabbed some more X-Factor in the front half with Mikayla Pauga and Aliesha Newman, while adding rookie Courtney Murphy from the Lions.


GWS is well placed with its first selection in the AFL Women’s Draft, holding onto Pick 3 with an a certainty the Giants will look nationally for their draft pick. Given it is anticipated that Kristie-Lee Weston-Turner will be off the board either via the Bulldogs or Eagles, the Giants just have to predict the other player taken before making arrangements for Pick 3.

It has been rare in the past that the Giants can find childhood supporters just purely because the club has only been around over the past decade, but they have one in the top-end of the draft in Jessica Rentsch. The GWV Rebels skipper has nominated nationally and is a huge fan of the club, breaking away from her parents’ supporter bases of Carlton and Essendon.

Rentsch would provide explosive speed off half-back and incredible defensive pressure, replacing some key players from the Giants of past years. Given she is keen and willing to head there, GWS may opt for the talented runner who overcame a broken leg mid-year last year to get better and better as the season went on.

If Brooke Barwick is on the board, the Tasmanian seems a strong choice given she has to relocate regardless and has that brilliant midfield prowess. She has a lot of potential and despite standing at 157cm, packs a punch. Her offensive and defensive pressure really shines and would be a fantastic acquisition for the Giants.

The other player who is a good fit for the Giants is West Australian Kaitlyn Srhoj who is a marking winger with inside experience. She can also play off a flank and provides great run and carry similar to Rentsch in that regard.


After Pick 3, the Giants have to wait a while until their next selection coming in at 39. Trying to calculate who might be there then is difficult, though some extra firepower up forward or midfield support would seemingly be a potential option.

GWS has some tall options that should be still on the board, in Lions Academy forward Lilu Hung and Sturt speedster Zara Walsh. Both are very different players but can fill the void up forward, as good wing/forward Jacinta Baldwick – who can also play inside – given her strength.

Local talent Cleo Buttifant would be well and truly off the board by that stage, but Mel Staunton – who won the AFLW Academy MVP – could be matched with Pick 39 or potentially taken outright. Sophia de Castella is the daughter of marathon runner Robert and is the other Giants Academy member to earn an AFLW Draft Combine invite.

From a state level, Macquarie University forward Sophie Kavanagh and Murray Bushrangers tall Alice Voss are others who might come into the mix with some of the Giants’ later picks.


GWS Giants are set to grab an elite young talent with Pick 3, having plenty of options to choose from this year. They will likely be able to scoop up some speed and hardness with their first choice, and then go best available and needs with the later selections.

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