2023 AFLW Draft preview: West Coast

AFTER another disappointing season, West Coast has entered the dawn of a new era with Daisy Pearce replacing Michael Prior as coach for the 2024 AFLW season. Having already made a move in her first week at the club recruiting ex-Tiger Jess Hosking, there is optimism out west for what the future holds with a talented list.


In: Verity Simmons (Category B), Jess Hosking (delisted free agent), Annabel Johnson, Alison Drennan, Roxanne Roux, Pick 14, Pick 38
Out: Aimee Schmidt, Emma Humphries, Jess Sedunary, Isabella Simmons (retired), Krstel Petrevski, Ella Smith, Kate Bartlett (delisted), Aisling McCarthy, Shanae Davison, Eleanor Hartill, Pick 23

Draft Selections: 2, 14, 38, 42, 62

West Coast has had its second big exodus in three seasons, with a mammoth 10 players either delisted, traded or retiring. There is plenty of experience retiring from the blue and gold, with Emma Humphries, Aimee Schmidt and Jessica Sedunary all departing, as is younger tall, Isabella Simmons. From a trade perspective, the Eagles lost talented midfielder Aisling McCarthy to Fremantle, and duo Shanae Davison and Eleanor Hartill to Brisbane. They did however add some experienced replacements in Alison Drennan, Annabel Johnson and Roxanne Roux to cover all three lines.


West Coast is sitting pretty with second pick in the 2023 AFLW Draft. Though the Eagles have been heavily linked to Kristie-Lee Weston-Turner, it appears the athletic tall forward might be too good to turn down for the Western Bulldogs at pick one. Therefore, the Eagles will focus their attention on a couple of natural leaders with the next pick.

The main target is GWV Rebels skipper Jessica Rentsch who is one firming into the spot. The explosive half-back/midfielder can play in multiple positions and also overcame a serious injury the year before – broken leg – to get better and better this year and finish on a high. A strong and tenacious player with high metres gained.

The other player to keep in mind Tasmanian Brooke Barwick is a tough and clean small who can play inside or outside, and just makes terrific decisions with ball-in-hand. Despite standing at 157cm, Barwick plays with fantastic intensity, but also terrific skill and poise. Though she missed 2023 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, she will be right to go in 2024.


West Coast has another three selections inside the top 50 picks, with a second first rounder coming in at Pick 14. Expect that selection to be a national nominee, with the Eagles able to play it cool boasting four picks before Fremantle even enters the draft. With either speed (Rentsch) or class (Barwick) covered by the first selection, the Eagles would likely add another tough midfielder to the group.

Unless defender Cleo Buttifant is available – which seems unlikely unless the Dogs opt elsewhere with their four picks – the Eagles might take a look at Calder Cannons midfielder and Vic Metro MVP, Kayley Kavanagh for the selection. Kavanagh offers that immediate inside depth and has been ultra-consistent all year in each team she has played in.

If available and they pick Barwick with Pick 2, the Eagles might consider pairing up Tasmanians with Georgia Clark at the next selection, or take a combination of Jasmyn Thompson, Tunisha Kikoak or Mackenzie Ford. The other target might be Western Jets skipper Kiera Whiley who has also opted to go national.

Later on, ruck/forward Georgie Cleaver looks too good to turn down and will be a steal given her state nomination, while Eva O’Donnell another local who nominated state. Other West Australians who might be around the mark but nominated nationally include state captain and vice-captain, Anjelique Raison and Jaime Henry respectively. She could play as a wing/forward. From the WAFLW, damaging forward Courtney Zappara, and league best and fairest winner Jayme Harken are more immediate solutions for the club.


West Coast is about to go through plenty of change on and off the field, with a new coach in place and some fresh faces along the way. The Eagles have the young core to be an eye-catching unit in the future, but will still take time to develop.

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