AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Renee Saulitis (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft. Next under the microscope is Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels utility Renee Saulitis, a clever player who stands up in big moments.
Renee Saulitis (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
Strengths: Goal sense, class, versatility, X-factor, agility
2020 NAB League stats: 2 games | 12.0 disposals | 2.5 marks | 3.0 tackles | 0.5 inside 50s | 0.5 rebounds | 2 goals
2019 NAB League stats: 9 games | 6.8 disposals | 1.6 marks | 2.1 tackles | 1.3 inside 50s | 0.3 rebounds | 4 goals
2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 3 games | 5.7 disposals | 0.3 marks | 2.3 tackles | 2.0 clearances | 0.7 inside 50s | 1.0 rebounds | 1 goal
One of the most damaging prospects who does not need a lot of touches to do serious damage, Saulitis has proven she is capable of playing anywhere on the ground. Starting as a small forward in her bottom-age year, Saulitis spent time in defence last season after kicking a few goals in the early rounds of the NAB League Girls. She started onball in 2020, but would rest forward to effect, such as when she booted two last quarter goals to help her side get across the line against Sandringham Dragons in Round 1.
While there might not be a lot of her at 165cm, Saulitis is nimble and classy. She is so dangerous around goals, and when a team needs a spark, she is the one to turn to. Last season following the NAB League, if there was a goal kicked out of congestion or something created out of nothing, you could almost guarantee it came off the boot of the pocket rocket. Then her transformation to play in defence and through the midfield was a big tick.
Her season earned her a place in Vic Country’s squad as a middle-ager having starred at the Under 16s Championships the year before. She was also a member of the successful Ballarat Grammar side that triumphed in the Herald Sun Shield competition two of the the past three seasons. Hailing from the rich football factory that is the Hampden region, Saulitis possesses plenty of upside for the future.
With the NAB League Girls to kick off again in September, expect Saultis to be one to watch for the Rebels, as they strive to push hard for a potential title in 2020. She might not win the amount of ball that some others do, but she rarely wastes it, and her ability to plug in anywhere, and have an impact is noticeable. She is most damaging up forward, so watch her start in the middle then go forward to hit the scoreboard like all good midfielders.