The Blues entered the NAB AFL Women’s Draft at pick three, which was essentially the number one pick in the Victorian draft. With that pick they secured the services of Cranbourne’s Bianca Jakobsson. The talented forward had an outstanding year, claiming her club best and fairest and being selected in the VFL Women’s Team of the Year. Jakobsson also had a fantastic exhibition series for the Western Bulldogs, highlighted by her best on ground display against Western Australia back in June.
(From left: Bianca Jakobsson and Carlton coach Damien Keeping. Photo: AFL Photos)
At first glance over the Carlton list, two words come to mind; versatility and hardness. They have loaded up on talls, such as Jakobsson, Kate Gillespie-Jones and Bella Ayre, who can play in a variety of roles. Their two marquee signings are also versatile options. Forward Darcy Vescio can also play in defence and rotate through the midfield, while Brianna Davey has proved that she can both hold down a key defensive position and also be virtually unstoppable through the midfield.
Priority signing, Lauren Arnell, is an experienced inside midfielder who can hit the scoreboard and their rookie selections in Nat Exon and Kate Shierlaw add outside run and ruck/forward flexibility respectively.
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Speaking straight after the draft, coach Damien Keeping was talking up the team’s versatility.
“We were able to be pretty complete in the list that we’ve put together and we want them to be flexible, we want versatility right throughout the list and we think that we’ve achieved that today.” Keeping said.
On draft day, Carlton was able to load up their midfield with a number of tough competitors such as Shae Audley, Madeline Keryk and Katie Loynes. That midfield grunt will be complimented by outside runners such as Sarah Hosking and Tilly Lucas-Rodd. The coach was thrilled to cover all bases at the draft selection table.
“Initially we were looking for the best talent available to us, but our marquee players, priority picks and rookies gave us some flexibility to be able to be really focused on positional needs pretty early in the draft which is the tack that we took. Some of the talent that we’ve been able to attract to the club has just blown us away.” Keeping added.
Indeed, Carlton were also able to select some quality players who had slipped down the draft order; namely Diamond Creek pair Alison Downie (ruck) and Laura Attard (defender) who had both been named in the 2016 VFL Women’s Team of the Year.
KEEP AN EYE ON:
Ayre is an exciting young key forward who is a real competitor. She is hard working and her strong contested marking is a feature of her game. The 18 year-old had an outstanding Youth Girls carnival for Vic Country and was selected in the 2016 Youth Girls All-Australian team at full forward. She had an equally good year for her club, Bendigo Thunder, kicking 38 goals from 10 matches and finishing runner-up in their best and fairest.
The smokey of the draft, Darby excelled at football as a junior playing against boys and is only now returning to the sport. Touted as an exceptional natural athlete and standing at 180cm, it is expected that Darby will be able to play at either end of the ground in a key position.
M: Darcy Vescio - Darebin Falcons
M: Brianna Davey - St Kilda Sharks
P: Lauren Arnell - Darebin Falcons
3: Bianca Jakobsson - Cranbourne
14: Kate Gillespie-Jones - Seaford
19: Sarah Hosking - Seaford
30: Gabriella Pound - Melbourne University
35: Danielle Hardiman - Cranbourne
46: Shae Audley - Diamond Creek
51: Isabella Ayre - Bendigo Thunder
62: Lauren Brazzale - Diamond Creek
67: Breann Moody - Cranbourne
78: Jess Hosking - Seaford
83: Natalie Plane - Seaford
94: Sarah Last - Bendigo Thunder
99: Tilly Lucas-Rodd - St Kilda Sharks
110: Katie Loynes - Diamond Creek
115: Madeline Keryk - Melbourne University
126: Kate Darby - Victoria
129: Alison Downie - Diamond Creek
140: Laura Attard - Diamond Creek
142: Rebecca Privitelli - Eastern Devils
R: Nat Exon - Darebin Falcons
R: Kate Shierlaw - Wimbledon Hawks UK
FA: Hayley Trevean - Bendigo Thunder
FA: Jess Kennedy - Bendigo Thunder
FA: Alison Brown - St Kilda Sharks
M: Marquee Player, P: Priority Pick, R: Rookie, FA: Free Agent