Just over two weeks away from October 18’s 2017 AFLW Draft, you can be sure that clubs are already plotting how to best use their draft picks.
Emerging talent in state competitions and standout juniors are the main focus, but it cannot be forgotten that those who have experienced playing in the top tier competition have plenty to bring to teams.
During the Sign/Trade Period earlier this year, 58 players were delisted from AFLW clubs. Most will likely struggle to get another look in, but that’s not to say that it’s the end of the line.
Of those 58, we have identified six players in particular who have plenty more to give at AFLW level, and will have an impact in 2018 if given the opportunity.
To kick off our draft coverage for 2018, these are the delisted players we have identified as being excellent acquisitions if given a second chance.
Draft history: Pick 128 (Brisbane), 2016
Though she didn’t make a single appearance for the Brisbane Lions in 2017 – only one of two Lions to not play a game – Jade Ransfield has bounced back with a terrific showing in the QWAFL. The New Zealand-born Queenslander kicked 41 goals from 16 outings in Yeronga’s premiership campaign, finishing second in the goal kicking by only two majors. Though she has previously been seen merely as a third-string forward option, Ransfield has shrugged that tag with her efforts this year, and any team serious about adding some firepower must look at targetting the 20-year-old as a genuine forward option.
Draft notes: While her smaller frame means she would struggle to hold down a key position, Ransfield is the perfect second lead-up forward for the swag of teams requiring a more versatile offensive approach. GWS could use a smaller option to compliment Jacinda Barclay and Phoebe McWilliams. If GWS doesn’t approach her, all of Carlton, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs could use a player of her calibre.
Draft history: Pick 145 (Melbourne), 2016
As the last pick in the 2016 AFLW Draft, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Sarah Jolly played only three games before being delisted. But if given a chance in another team, Jolly would be able to display her midfield talents, particularly when going forward. Jolly made the step up to VFLW from Division 3 football last year and was one of the VU Western Spurs’ bests, kicking 10 goals in 14 games across half-forward and being named in the VFLW Team of the Year.
Draft notes: Given Jolly’s forward prowess, she is a solid target for clubs come draft time. The Western Bulldogs should look to her as a replacement goal-kicking midfielder after the departure of Jaimee Lambert.
Draft history: Free agent (Brisbane), 2016
Jordan Membrey appeared to struggle due to not having a defined position in the Brisbane Lions line-up. As a utility, Membrey was often played where she was required, but in a team that had very defined roles for its midfielders, forwards and defenders, the 21-year-old got lost in the shuffle. Membrey is a seriously talented player but her skills were not able to be showcased. If given the chance to make a position hers, there is no doubt whatsoever that Membrey would excel.
Draft notes: Membrey is an explosive player who can rip teams to shreds. Two teams which lacked midfield explosiveness were the Dockers, who relied on Kara Donnellan to do too much, and the Blues, who seemingly forgot to draft a midfield. Carlton should inquire about Membrey’s willingness to return to her birth state and give her a role in a reshaped midfield.
Draft history: Pick 45 (Fremantle), 2016
Kira Phillips is an interesting case. She has been a regular performer when given the opportunity in big matches, but always seems to fall out of favour. This year for Fremantle, the Dockers’ weak forward line looked much more potent with Phillips in it, yet she was in and out of the side. After being delisted, Phillips responded by topping the WAWFL’s goal kicking chart, bagging 38 goals in 11 games for a team that didn’t even make the finals. It’s clear that when given an extended opportunity, Phillips delivers.
Draft notes: It’s interesting to note that Phillips hasn’t been given an extended opportunity while being coached by Michelle Cowan, both in exhibition matches and in the AFLW. With young forwards Emily McGuire and Kate Bartlett both locks to be selected in the draft, Phillips should try her hand in the Victorian draft, where Melbourne would strongly benefit from having a lead-up, mid-sized forward.
Kristy De Pellegrini
Draft history: Pick 81 (GWS), 2016
Despite GWS claiming the inaugural AFLW wooden spoon, Kristy De Pellegrini is one Giant who stood out under difficult circumstances. Though the Giants defence was often bombarded, De Pellegrini was tasked with nullifying the second and third opposition forwards which she did ably. Needless to say, it came as somewhat of a surprise to see her delisted, but her best footy is still ahead of her.
Draft notes: With the ability to guard both tall and small forwards, De Pellegrini is a great target for any team looking to sure up its backline. The big question will be her fitness, having dealt with foot issues in 2016 and having surgery to repair a stress fracture in her tibia this past June. If she has recovered in time, the native Victorian would be a great target for Carlton or Collingwood, which both lost defensive personnel during the trade period.
Akec Makur Chuot
Draft history: Pick 139 (Fremantle), 2016
Akec Makur “Susan” Chuot came to the AFLW with an incredible backstory and an excellent 2016 season behind her, but was not given the opportunity to make an impact. As an explosive ruck known for her relentless attack on the ball, Chuot was resigned to a role in the backline, with Kelly Clinch being favoured in ruck contests around the ground and Gemma Houghton taking the duties up forward. In a team where she can use her skills to impact the game, Chuot would be a phenomenal inclusion.
Draft notes: It’s clear that Chuot won’t get a look in for Fremantle, so either she waits it out for West Coast to join the competition in 2020, or looks interstate. Carlton could use another ruck to assist Alison Downie. Closer to home, Adelaide could look to Chuot as an alternative to powerful ruck Rhiannon Metcalfe.