2023 AFLW Draft review: West Coast

AFTER another low finish in Season 8, West Coast hit the draft and recruited three top-age talents and a readymade former Docker to complete its list ahead of 2024. Holding the second pick in the AFL Women’s Draft, the Eagles opted for GWV Rebels captain Jessica Rentsch – who has family over there – then chose Vic Metro MVP and Eagles’ supporter Kayley Kavanagh. East Fremantle ruck/forward Georgie Cleaver and Claremont utility Matilda Sergeant were the local selections at Pick 39 and 42 respectively.

Jess Rentsch (GWV Rebels / Vic Country)
11/10/2005 | 172cm | Midfielder / Defender

Boasting explosive speed and a terrific defensive attitude, Rentsch was superb when over in Western Australia for Vic Country, laying a couple of huge crunching tackles late in the game. She finished off the year with a 27-disposal, three-goal performance for GWV Rebels against Bendigo Pioneers, and has been able to impact games in multiple ways. Look for her to play off a back flank and provide some run and carry, while being injected into the midfield at times.

Kayley Kavanagh (Calder Cannons / Vic Metro)
06/07/2005 | 169cm | Midfielder

Capping off a remarkable 2023 season, Kavanagh bolted up draft boards after going from Calder Cannons inside midfielder to Vic Metro star onballer and earning the MVP for her state. She continued that form until the end of the season back at Talent League level, and has brilliantly clean hands and a natural contested ball-winning ability. Her outside game and aerial ability improved as the season went on, which was a major focus for the 18-year-old.

Georgie Cleaver (East Fremantle / Western Australia)
14/08/2005 | 181cm | Ruck / Forward

Clearly a first round prospect on ability, the Eagles were able to snatch her up at Pick 39 due to her state nomination. Holding four picks before the Dockers got a look at the draft, West Coast picked up the athletic ruck/forward who is also a train-on player for West Coast Fever in the Suncorp Super Netball. Cleaver is a massive Eagles fan – as is Kavanagh – which has that additional loyalty attached as they live out their childhood dreams.

Matilda Sergeant (Claremont / Western Australia)
13/03/1999 | 169cm | Defender / Midfielder

After playing 19 games for Fremantle between 2019 and 2022, Sergeant made her way back onto an AFL Women’s list. Able to play as a midfielder, or more recently a defender, she is a strong player who competes well across the ground. No stranger to finding the ball, expect her to be a player who can immediately make an impact and will add much needed experience to what is still quite a young West Coast lineup heading into 2024.


West Coast loved the physicality of the quartet the Eagles picked up, with all four players boasting strong defensive pressure at ground level. While Cleaver is the tall making key position talent, the others all add depth to the midfield, with Rentsch and Sergeant also capable of playing off half-back as well.

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