The AFLW Season 7 has some new players! Clubs and athletes who have joined the ranks.
Every year a “Draft” occurs, as new talent is sought out, lists change for clubs and players are ‘traded’ between teams.
The lead-up to this event is one of intense pressure and stress for some, hope-filled for others and ultimately deciding for all on the night of ‘The Draft’. Players are traded between each club at the highest level of sport year-to-year.
For some this happens well before the drills of pre-season training have begun and contracts are already signed. Others they may be dropped off the list from one club, and not picked up by another. And some fates are sealed on the day of ‘The Draft’.
So what is so big about this day?
For athletes across the country they have been scouted for their talent through ID searches. Scouts at different levels of the game, and football managers helping those with potential be recognised. The Draft night is where teams are selected in order to be able to add athletes to their team for the year ahead.
This year a total of 83 athletes achieved dreams of being selected to play AFL at the highest level in the country. All athletes must be eligible by entering into the draft and being over the age of 18 by the start of the season.
Season 7 is an expansion season. The AFLW has taken steps to methodically expand the number of teams and players in the competition since it’s inception as a professional league in 2017.
The league now replicates the AFL (Men’s) League with all 18 clubs represented in AFLW. This means a total of 540 female athletes signed on for season 7. Hawthorn, Sydney Swans, Port Adelaide, and Essendon are newest to the league and as such had higher picks and more of them during the Draft.
So how does the draft work and who gets to pick in what order?
With the expansion of the league, the 4 additional teams, were heavily weighted in the selection of new players. The order of these clubs was determined on the number of experienced players already signed during the ‘expansion signing period’ which occurred in the lead up to the Draft.
All clubs must choose 3 athletes on the night of the Draft, however clubs may also wish to pass on the night. This leaves them the ability to sign up players in a different state who are unsigned and eligible, these players can also be chosen to move for another team contract.
As the AFLW is still not a full-time position for athletes. Upon entering the draft athletes nominate a state they wish to be selected for, and teams must adhere to this request.
Players Who got picked?
The contentious position for number 1 draft pick is always highly sought after. This year the headline athlete is Montana Ham. Originally from Keilor and playing for the Western Jets. Ham is a tall powerful mid who can also kick goals in the forward line. Ham made news as she nominated for New South Wales, and not her home state of Victoria, she was drafted by Sydney Swans.
The full list of players can be found here.
The 82 athletes chosen are a mixture of new players to the field, some cross-coders (athletes who have moved from another sport and have been playing AFLW for less than 2 years) and other AFLW players who have been delisted from their current club.
For those players who do nominate, but don’t get chosen, a small select handful may be picked up by a club who decided to pass during the draft. The majority will be taken in by the feeding VFLW clubs. Most with the prospect of being chosen the following year.
AFLW Season 7
For the first time in history all 18 clubs in the AFL now have an AFLW affiliate. With the date for season 7 being brought forward another first will occur. The youngest players will still completing High-school studies in their respective states whilst balancing life on an AFLW list.
The season kicks off at Ikon Park with the annual tussle between Carlton vs Collingwood on Thursday 25th August at 7pm, with the game being livestreamed.
Kelly Thompson is the newest member of the Sports journalist team. Kelly currently plays AFL for Casey Demons in the VFLW, and practices what she preaches as a HOPE (Health, Outdoor, and Physical Education) Teacher in Melbourne’s southeast.