2023 AFLW Draft preview: St Kilda

ST KILDA had a season of two halves, starting slowly before a remarkable come-from-behind victory over Collingwood sparked a late season revival. It was not enough to get the Saints into finals, but they came close, and given they had one of the quietest Trade Period’s showed that they are happy with building on their current list.


In: Rene Caris, Paige Trudgeon
Out: Rosie Dillon, Deanna Jolliffe, Erin McKinnon, Renee Saulitis, Jayde Van Dyk (delisted), Pick 31

Draft Selections: 10, 50, 70

St Kilda was not overly active in the Trade Period, instead opting to fill some needs with Giants ruck Rene Caris coming to her third club via a trade to replace the delisted Erin McKinnon, and Carlton defender Paige Trudgeon coming in to fill the gap left by Jayde Van Dyk. The Saints also bid farewell to inaugural best and fairest winner Rosie Dillon, as well as Deanna Jolliffe and Renee Saulitis, while moving on Pick 31 to have a large gap between their first and second AFLW Draft selections.


St Kilda enters the draft with another top 10 pick, albeit the last of that group. It does mean the Saints can recruit a player with some serious X-Factor in that range, and West Australian Ella Slocombe is the player heavily linked to the red, white and black.

Slocombe is an explosive midfielder with great skills and decision making, able to play midfield or up forward, and bears traits similar to Saints young gun Tyanna Smith. When up and about, Slocombe is an ultra-exciting player with plenty of upside, and had a breakout 2023 season.

The Saints could well add an additional tall defender in Cleo Buttifant to try and snag her off the Dogs if they wait until their final pick to select her, while a variety of pressure players such as Elaine Grigg, Chloe Adams and Kayley Kavanagh will be around the mark or a bit later. Not afraid to pick a draft bolter, local talent in Dragon, Isabel Bacon is another who might come into consideration.


St Kilda will have a long wait until its second pick down at 50, with the majority of players off the board. If there is a tall left, the Saints may look to top up some depth in that area, with the likes of Indiana Williams (Lions Academy) and Gabby Eaton (Swans Academy) two Northern Academy prospects with talent and could be long-term players.

From a midfield perspective, Holly Ifould is one who might be around, providing some great run on the outside and having improved her contested work as the season went along. Closer to home, Stingrays skipper Jemma Ramsdale is another strong choice, while the Saints may pair up some Dragons and look to Sandringham skipper, Annabelle Embelton.

Father-daughter prospect Charlotte Simpson will likely be taken with Pick 70 – list numbers pending – though a club could be cheeky and put in a bid to force the Saints to match with Pick 50. Simpson is a strong inside midfielder who did play some forward time for Geelong Falcons last year, and is readymade to step into the Saints’ midfield coming off a Lambert-Pearce Medal in the VFL Women’s.


St Kilda retained its top 10 pick in this year’s AFLW Draft and will be able to pick up an exciting youngster. Expect the last two picks to be a combination of Simpson and a needs-based selection, as the Saints hope to go a little better in 2024 – courtesy of a stronger start to the season – and reach finals.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments