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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

Local AFLW clubs set to look nationally

WA women’s coaching specialist Trent Cooper says more clubs will look to draft interstate in the early rounds of the AFLW draft. 


The 2023 AFLW draft will take place on Monday night, however it will be a new look this year.


In previous years, the AFLW draft operated on a state basis, with talent opting to stay with their home states.


Cooper told Sports Breakfast most draft candidates nominated nationally, opening more opportunities for both clubs and players. 


“It’s about 70 per cent of the pool have nominated nationally, and quite a few of the West Australian girls have done that as well, so that means they can go anywhere,” he said. 


“That also means that West Coast and Fremantle can look to the eastern seaboard to bolster their lists.


With pick 2, West Coast has access to the best national talent, in previous years, they would have had first pick of the WA pool. 


While WA product Kaitlyn Srhoj is expected to go early, Cooper predicts West Coast will look over east. 


“It’s a really even draft. I think she could probably go anywhere from three to seven. So, I don’t think West Coast will take her,” he said.

“If (Kristie-Lee) Western-Turner gets through I think they’ll definitely pick her up, she’s a really exciting tall forward but I think the Bulldogs may take her with one. 


“It could be someone like (Jess) Rentsch who I think West Coast could go with. A hard-running player, breaks lines and fends off really well. I think someone like that could be on West Coast’s radar.”


As a result of these rule changes, many clubs have had to change their approach to the draft and broaden their search for talent from state to national level. 


Cooper says, for this reason, the Under-18s National Championship was important, particularly for Srhoj who had a ‘tough’ year at Peel Thunder.  

 

“These rules only came in quite late, so a lot of the recruiting managers were only looking at their own state, so they weren’t out looking at other games,” he said. 


“It was only a month ago that the girls nominated whether they want to go national or not. So someone like Kaitlyn who three months ago, the other clubs weren’t even looking at her, all of a sudden they go this is national, we need to keep an eye on Western Australia. 


“She was best on ground against the Allies in Blacktown so right under the nose of GWS who were there, and they’ve got pick three so that one performance can really elevate her into that position. 


However, despite most WA players including Under 18s captain Anjelique Raison and Ella Slocombe nominating to go nationally, one rising star has requested to stay in WA. 


Georgie Cleaver has made waves this year in both the Netball and Aussie Rules world, representing Australia at the Youth Commonwealth games and winning a WAFLW flag with East Fremantle. 


Cooper believes she’ll have no issues balancing AFLW and Netball, and could be the steal of the draft.  


“If anyone can do it Georgie can,” said Cooper. 


“She’s just got this zest for life and she’s gonna do everything she possibly can until she’s told that she can’t do it anymore and she’ll make a choice at that point. 


“She’s already shown she can balance things really well from a mental perspective, with school, netball, and footy, probably at some stage it might just come down to whether the body can handle it. 


“She’s nominated state-based and West Coast are in a dream position where they can pick her up with pick 42 because Fremantle have traded away all their picks, so it's an absolute bonus for West Coast, they get a top 10 player for 42 in the draft.

“She’ll come in and make an impact straight away, but I also think that she’s going to improve a lot over her football career and be a very good player for the future.”

IMAGE: Code Sports


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