With the AFLW competition in its infancy and one-year contracts the norm, it wouldn’t be unexpected for a team to snap up an established, older talent in their tilt for a flag.
In fact, many clubs did it in the inaugural season with the likes of Phoebe McWilliams, Meg Hutchins, Nicole Callinan, Melissa Hickey and league best and fairest Erin Phillips all having an influence.
As we approach AFLW Draft day, here are three veterans who could still have a real impact on the competition.
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 five: Calista Boyd, Brianna Walling and Gabby Collingwood
Part six: Courtney Webb, Tiahna Cochrane and Rachelle Martin
Jodie White (Coastal Titans, WA)
Fremantle coach Michelle Cowan said the Dockers will look for a ruck in the AFLW Draft, and there’s no better option than the WAWFL’s team of the decade ruckwoman, and the reigning league best and fairest.
Jodie White has been playing football for much longer than many of today’s AFLW stars; the 36-year-old started her career with the Coastal Titans in the West Australian Women’s Football League in 2004.
She returned to the game this year after a two-year hiatus and won the league best and fairest, the Dhara Kerr medal.
The All-Australian ruck is, unsurprisingly, a great tap ruck but is also effective all over the ground where she consistently follows up her efforts, even finding the goals on occasion.
Draft notes: We know that Freo wants a ruck, and while there are a few young players who could fill the void, having them learn from an experienced veteran like Jodie White, all while she aids the Dockers with her performances, would be a win all around. White might just be inclined to partially give up family life for a few months in pursuit of an AFLW spot on the back of her efforts this year.
Courtney Gum (Glenelg/Adelaide University, SA)
Courtney Gum started playing football at 29, but the 169cm midfielder has quickly racked up the accolades and 2017 has been another sensational year.
Taking out the inaugural SANFL best and fairest, averaging 24.3 possessions a game, Gum’s best game in the home and away season saw her rack up 35 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles and a goal.
Gum continued this form into the Adelaide Football League where she played for Adelaide University, putting in a remarkable performance in the grand final, finishing up the day with seven goals in an emphatic win despite an injured ankle in the warm-up.
With great presence on the field, the 35-year-old ball magnet often muscles her way through the contest, pushing up the ground and creating opportunities for her teammates with her ability to clear the ball.
Draft notes: It’s somewhat surprising that Courtney Gum wasn’t selected for Adelaide last year given she fits the mould of a rough, skilled midfielder perfectly, which makes her a comfortable fit for the Crows. In this age of one-year contracts, the Crows will be looking to hold onto their AFLW title, and drafting a player like Gum would go a long way to changing up Adelaide’s midfield without compromising.
Anna Teague (Geelong, VIC)
With a decade of basketball under her belt, 28-year-old Anna Teague made her football debut this year for Geelong in the VFLW competition, where she was a member of the leadership group.
The former captain of the Geelong Supercats, with whom she played 139 games, the 174cm Teague seamlessly transferred her basketball skills to the footy field and delivered for the Cats.
Quick and fleet-footed, Teague was a pillar of strength for the Cats in her first season, providing plenty of headaches for opposition forwards who found her difficult to outmark.
Her efforts all year saw her come third in Geelong’s best and fairest count, behind midfielders Cassie Blakeway and Lily Mithen.
Draft notes: She wins the football and often gets the best of her direct opponent – what more could you want from a defender? However, with only 20 picks available to Victorian teams, Anna Teague could miss out with so many young midfielders and key position players coming through. If that’s the case, she will no doubt be one of the first names on Geelong’s list for 2018.