The Fremantle Dockers secured the services of Hayley Miller with pick number four in the NAB AFL Women’s Draft. Miller is hard-working midfielder who can also play off half-back. She is also extremely tough, highlighted earlier in the year when she played out the Fremantle v West Coast western derby with a fractured fibula. Both Miller and Fremantle’s second selection, Brianna Green, add depth to Fremantle’s already strong midfield. Headed by marquee signing Kara Donnellan and priority signing Kirby Bentley, it’s a midfield brimming with exhibition and state game experience.
(From left: Hayley Miller and Fremantle coach Michelle Cowan. Photo: AFL Photos)
A feature of the Fremantle list is their athleticism. From the exciting Ebony Antonio in defence to the electrifying Kira Phillips up forward – not to mention the amazing talent through the midfield – the hard-running Fremantle side are sure to enjoy the wide open spaces that the 16-a-side-rule will provide.
This athleticism has been further enhanced with their rookie selections: college basketball convert Gabby O’Sullivan and Australian Olympic javelin thrower Kim Mickle. O’Sullivan’s agility and pace through the midfield for East Fremantle in the second half of the 2016 season caught the eye of Fremantle scouts. Mickle, on the other hand, played football as a junior, but left the sport to pursue a career in athletics. Mickle's time as a professional athlete is sure to stand her in good stead for the rigours of AFLW football.
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Despite a number of Western Australia’s top footballers being lured to interstate clubs, the football talent in WA still runs very deep. Swan Districts and the Coastal Titans, two of the WAWFL’s most dominant teams, are well represented in the Fremantle side. In fact, most players on Fremantle’s list have either played club football or state representative football together. This augurs well for team cohesion over a short pre-season. Speaking after the draft, Fremantle coach Michelle Cowan was pleased to be able to put together a completely homegrown list.
“We’re really proud that every pick of ours is a WA girl. We certainly had the option to pick up outside of WA, but I’m really proud of the selections that we’ve made.” Cowan said.
A trailblazer in her own right, Cowan is always mindful of the bigger picture of this inaugural league.
“Today was just an incredible day; I loved being a part of it and I’m looking forward to getting started.
Unfortunately, girls have missed out but from here they’re going to work really hard and the pressure is already on the girls that got selected. It will be exciting to see how far and how much the competition is going to grow over the next 12 months alone.”
KEEP AN EYE ON:
Haynes is a classy midfielder who can also play off half-back. On the comeback trail from two knee reconstructions, Haynes is well on the way to recapturing the brilliant form that saw her drafted at number one back in 2014. Just days after she was selected by Western Bulldogs for the 2014 exhibition game, she was struck down with her first ACL injury. It has been a long road to recovery for Haynes, but we can’t wait to see her light it up in 2017.
Dana Hooker is another of Fremantle’s midfielders with exhibition and state game experience. She represented the Western Bulldogs in 2014, Melbourne in 2015 and has been a WA state representative from 2011-2016. Hooker gave birth to her first child in June this year and remarkably was back playing with her beloved Coastal Titans just five weeks later. Now, four months on, she has found herself on an AFL list.
M: Kara Donnellan - Swan Districts
M: Kiara Bowers (injured) - Coastal Titans
P: Kirby Bentley - Swan Districts
P: Ebony Antonio - Swan Districts
4: Hayley Miller - Coastal Titans
13: Brianna Green - East Fremantle
20: Ashley Sharp - Swan Districts
29: Lara Filocamo - Coastal Titans
36: Tiah Haynes - Coastal Titans
45: Kira Phillips - Peel Thunderbirds
52: Tayla Bresland - Peel Thunderbirds
61: Amy Lavell - Coastal Titans
68: Stacey Barr - Swan Districts
77: Melissa Caulfield - East Fremantle
84: Cassie Davidson - East Fremantle
93: Taylah Angel - Swan Districts
100: Belinda Smith - East Fremantle
109: Stephanie Cain - Swan Districts
116: Kelly Clinch - Coastal Titans
125: Demi Okely - Peel Thunderbirds
130: Dana Hooker - Coastal Titans
139: Akec Makur Chuot - Swan Districts
R: Kim Mickle
R: Gabby O'Sullivan - East Fremantle
FA: Tarnica Golisano - Coastal Titans
FA: Emily Bonser - Swan Districts
FA: Taryn Priestly - Swan Districts
FA: Gemma Houghton - East Perth
M: Marquee Player, P: Priority Pick, R: Rookie, FA: Free Agent