Powerhouse club Collingwood were next in the NAB AFL Women’s Draft proceedings. With their first pick – pick six overall – they secured the services of Melbourne University’s Nicola Stevens. Stevens was one of best defenders in the draft and had an outstanding season in the VFL Women’s competition. She has established herself as one of the most reliable defenders in the game and has the ability to both lock down her opponent and provide run of half-back. Her intercept marking and excellent reading of the play are other features of her game, as is her superb disposal by foot.
(Collingwood draftee, Nicola Stevens. Photo: AFL Photos)
Speaking after the draft, Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman was over the moon with their selections.
“We’re super excited, especially to get Stevens and Chiocci with our first two picks… On paper, we’ve probably got one of the best defences and as I said on stage, defence wins premierships.” Siekman said.
Collingwood certainly have a backline that’s overflowing with quality. Former Western Bulldogs skipper and current Diamond Creek star, Steph Chiocci, was snapped up by the Magpies with their second pick. Chiocci’s run and carry off half-back should prove to be extra damaging with the added space provided by the 16-a-side rule. With pick 43 they secured East Fremantle’s Caitlyn Edwards. Edwards is another half-back with real pace and excellent disposal by foot.
Add the experience of Eastern Devils veteran, Meg Hutchins (priority signing), Melbourne Uni’s Cecilia McIntosh and St Kilda’s Penny Cula-Reid and the Magpies definitely have all their defensive bases covered.
Emma King (marquee signing) headlines Collingwood’s midfield. Touted as one of the best rucks in the country, her superb tap work is sure to give her midfielders first use of the footy. Exciting young midfielder Brittany Bonnici is sure to reap the benefits. Bonnici can win her own footy, but if given time and space, her speed and skill will hurt the opposition.
The core of Collingwood’s midfield is likely to be rounded out by Bree White (VU Western Spurs), Alicia Eva (Melbourne Uni), Amelia Barden (Diamond Creek) and Melissa Kuys (Knox). White, Eva and Kuys bring plenty of experience and footy smarts, not to mention skill and leadership. Barden is a true inside midfielder, but they are all tough competitors. There will be no easy contests against this midfield.
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Fresh off her 106 goal VFL Women’s season, the marquee signing of Moana Hope was a no brainer for Collingwood. When it comes to hitting the scoreboard, Hope can pretty much do it all. Damaging on the lead and perhaps even more damaging on the ground, Hope is a guaranteed goalkicker. As she proved in the most recent exhibition match, the wide-open spaces and quick ball movement will play right into her hands, literally.
However, this isn’t to say that the Collingwood forward line will be a one-woman show. Joining Hope is her St Kilda Sharks teammate Jasmine Garner, a key position forward who is fantastic mark. Garner has an existing forward line chemistry with Hope having contributed 41 goals for the Sharks this season.
Their forward line is further boosted by Diamond Creek’s Jess Cameron, who also proved she can kick bags of goals on the big stage, plus the Eastern Devil’s Sarah D’Arcy, an outstanding hit-up forward who presents all day.
KEEP AN EYE ON:
Emma Grant is the captain of Bendigo Thunder who were runners up in this year’s VWFL Premier Division Grand Final. Grant had a sensational year taking out the Helen Lambert medal, awarded to the best and fairest player in the VWFL Premier Division. Grant is a true utility and an excellent reader the play. She played in a variety of roles for Bendigo throughout 2016, we expect Collingwood will use her in much the same way in 2017.
Another of Collingwood’s WA imports, Schleicher, from East Fremantle, is a highly rated young ruck prospect. After playing for Western Australia in the Youth Girls Championship Grand Final at the MCG, Schleicher returned to WA and had a strong finish to her 2016 season. She finished the year with nine senior appearances for East Fremantle and was also their starting ruck in the 2016 WAWFL Grand Final.
M: Moana Hope - St Kilda Sharks
M: Emma King - Coastal Titans
P: Meg Hutchins - Eastern Devils
6: Nicola Stevens - Melbourne Uni
11: Stephanie Chiocci - Diamond Creek
22: Sarah D'Arcy - Eastern Devils
27: Brittany Bonnici - St Kilda Sharks
38: Bree White - VU Western Spurs
43: Caitlyn Edwards - East Fremantle
54: Alicia Eva - Melbourne Uni
59: Amelia Barden - Diamond Creek
70: Stacey Livingstone - Port Melbourne Colts
75: Jessica Cameron - Diamond Creek
86: Jasmine Garner - St Kilda Sharks
91: Emma Grant - Bendigo
102: Penny Cula-Reid - St Kilda Sharks
107: Lauren Tesoriero - Eastern Devils
118: Melissa Kuys - Knox
123: Cecilia McIntosh - Melbourne Uni
132: Christina Bernardi - Diamond Creek
137: Ruby Schleicher - Western Australia
144: Tara Morgan - South Fremantle
R: Helen Roden
R: Kate Sheahan
FA: Kendra Heil - Eastern Devils
FA: Sophie Casey - Eastern Devils
FA: Lou Wotton - Eastern Devils
M: Marquee Player, P: Priority Pick, R: Rookie, FA: Free Agent