Draft Her: Calista Boyd, Brianna Walling and Gabby Collingwood

Contributions by Matt Marsden

It’s hard to believe that we have moved under 48 hours until the AFLW Draft. It doesn’t feel like so long ago that we were talking about the first AFLW Draft class.

It does feel very different this time around, however, with only 49 players going to be selected, a far cry from the 145 we witnessed last year.

With so much talent and so few positions, you can’t help but think just how good next year’s draft class will be with more draft picks and almost two years worth of talent at hand. That’s good news for Geelong and North Melbourne!

Today, we look at two more draft options for the Adelaide Crows, as well as a midfielder who has overcome the odds to be in a position to be drafted.

The highlighted players’ potential AFL Women’s teams are based on the assumption that the respective players have nominated for their home state’s draft.

Part one: Renee Cowan, Tanya Hetherington and Chantella Perera
Part two: Jenna Bruton, Nicky Steel and Georgia Gee
Part three: Sonia Dorizzi, Daria Bannister and Eloise Jones
Part four: Jodie White, Courtney Gum and Anna Teague
Part six: Courtney Webb, Tiahna Cochrane and Rachelle Martin

 

Calista Boyd (Wanderers, NT)
Position: Midfielder
Calista Boyd kicked six goals in her third game for the Wanderers in 2016 after kicking two bags of four in the previous two games, and the lightning quick midfielder has never looked back.

The former touch footy representative player was a member of the 2017 NT Under-18 squad, and one of the best NT players across all six games. She was named in the Under-18 All-Australian squad.

Boyd’s speed enables her to push her opponent up the ground before doubling back inside her forward fifty rapidly, and with her ability to find the goals, she’s a threat in both the centre of the field and up forward.

One of only two NT players invited to the recent AFLW Draft Combine, Boyd made the top ten in the running vertical jump and came second in the 20-metre sprint, running only six hundredths of a second behind the leader.

Draft notes: In an Adelaide line-up that is more focused on physicality, Calista Boyd offers almost the polar opposite. She is blindingly quick, and her natural goal sense makes her a player you need to clamp down on. Boyd should be selected shortly after a few high profile South Australian players.

 

Brianna Walling (Glenelg/Morphettville Park, SA)
Position: Forward
While fellow South Australians Jessica Allan and Jasmyn Hewett starred at the recent AFLW Draft Combine, Adelaide would be short-sighted to overlook 18-year-old Brianna Walling.

Walling began playing as a nine-year-old, joining her first all-female team, Morphettville Park, as a 14-year-old. Walling was selected by Glenelg to play for the Tigers in the inaugural SANFL Statewide Super Women’s season in 2017, and she played for the Allies in the 2017 AFLW Under-18 National Championships.

At only 165cm, Walling is the definition of a small forward; however, her speed and agility, and her willingness to take on the contest, make her a valuable contributor. Walling uses the ball well, unsurprising given her nearly ten years in the game.

Draft notes: When you look at the names in Adelaide’s forward line, Brianna Walling offers a smaller alternatively. Despite their frames being different, Walling draws comparisons to Sarah Perkins in terms of her work rate inside the forward 50. She’d definitely be a candidate for a later selection.

 

Gabby Collingwood (University of Queensland, QLD)
Position: Midfielder/Forward
Whether Gabby Collingwood gets drafted or not – and we are willing to back that she will – just being in her position is incredible, having recovered from a brain tumour diagnosed as a nine-year-old and a residual tumour later in her teens.

The midfielder was Queensland’s most consistent player in the AFLW Under-18 National Championships. As part of the Brisbane Lions academy, Collingwood has been able to develop from a small forward to a lively midfielder with great distribution skills.

Her endurance is one of her best traits, able to rotate from the half-forward line to the midfielder to the forward pocket multiple times in a quarter, as she often did in the Nationals.

As a member of the Under-18 All-Australian squad, Collingwood was also a key performer in University of Queensland’s QWAFL campaign.

Draft notes: There hasn’t been much talk about Gabby Collingwood, but she is arguably the best midfielder in the Queensland draft pool this year, and easily their best attacking midfield option. No matter whether the Lions use their first pick or eighth, Collingwood should make her AFLW dream come true.

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