Next Wednesday cannot come fast enough as we continue the slow crawl towards the 2017 AFLW Draft.
Though the wait may be tough, the influx of stories and player profiles produced by larger media outlets is helping tide us over. Having the AFLW reported on daily once again is an exciting reminder that the second season isn’t too far away.
But bringing ourselves back to the present, today we look at two 18-year-old draft prospects who could very well be top players in 2018, but not before looking at a player who elevated herself to ‘star’ status in the VFLW this year.
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 three: Sonia Dorizzi, Daria Bannister and Eloise Jones
Part four: Jodie White, Courtney Gum and Anna Teague
Part five: Calista Boyd, Brianna Walling and Gabby Collingwood
Part six: Courtney Webb, Tiahna Cochrane and Rachelle Martin
Jenna Bruton (St Kilda, VIC)
Having played exhibition matches in the past with Melbourne, it would’ve been assumed that Jenna Bruton would be selected to compete in the inaugural AFLW season.
However, Bruton stepped away from the game to spend time with family and reassess, returning in 2017 and becoming a must-see player in the VFLW.
With improved fitness to go on top of her natural ball-winning ability, Bruton was magnificent for St Kilda and deservedly took out the Sharks’ 2017 best and fairest, also finishing tied second for the team’s best player in the finals.
At 22 years old, Bruton looks to have a bright future ahead in the AFLW.
Draft notes: Unlike with some of the young draft prospects, clubs will be well aware of what they are getting with Jenna Bruton, which elevates her up the draft pecking order. Though some younger players will be selected ahead of her, it won’t take too long for Bruton’s name to be called out when the experienced VFLW players start getting picked.
Nicky Steel (Mosman, NSW)
It must be said that there isn’t an overwhelming amount of NSW youth talent that is ready to make the step up to AFLW, particularly in defence. However, Nicky Steel is the exception.
The 18-year-old full-back has raised her level in her final year of youth footy for Mosman, and was consistently named in the NSW/ACT best players during the AFLW Under-18 National Championships despite the side’s struggles.
As part of the flag-winning Mosman side, Steel showed her abilities at both full-back in lock-down roles, and up at centre half-back where she assumed more of a rebound role.
Though she still has a rather thin frame, she will be an impressive AFLW defender in her first season and improve as a lock-down defender when she adds more muscle.
Draft notes: When considering GWS’s defensive stocks, Nicky Steel just seems to fit. As part of a defensive unit with Renee Tomkins, Amanda Farrugia and Rebecca Privitelli, Steel would be eased into senior football while still being asked to play an important role as part of her development. It would be very surprising to say the least if she isn’t drafted by the Giants.
Georgia Gee (Beaconsfield/Dandenong Stingrays, VIC)
Though Georgia Gee may have been overshadowed on paper by the Vic Country midfield in the AFLW Under-18 National Championships, she was a real impact player on closer inspection.
As an outside midfielder, Gee was impressive across the half-forward line in particular, and had another sensational season with the Beaconsfield side which won the South East Juniors Grand Final by a massive 128 points, the team’s fifth straight flag.
In the past five seasons alone with Beaconsfield, Gee has kicked an excellent 129 goals in 59 games as a goal-scoring mid, which is further proof of her ability to damage opposition sides if given space. She also turned heads in Dandenong’s TAC Cup campaign.
Though she is only slight at 157cms, Gee is a great reader of the ball in flight and is an exceptional kick of the football, particularly inside forward 50.
Draft notes: Though she may not be in the conversation for the first round, teams will be well aware of the impact Georgia Gee could have either on a wing, half-forward flank or forward pocket. Depending on the approach certain clubs take, Gee could be drafted as early as the second round.