By Ant Wingard
The 2019 NAB AFL Women’s Draft is just around the corner and represents the next step in the football journey for so many budding female footballers.
With the Gold Coast SUNS entering the competition for the first time in 2019, there are plenty of opportunities for the Queensland talent vying for a spot on either the SUNS or the Brisbane Lions’ list for the 2020 AFL Women’s season.
In Part One of this series, we took a look at the top Under 18 Queensland prospects who have nominated for the AFL Women’s Draft, which will take place at Victoria Pavilion, Melbourne Showgrounds on Tuesday, October 22. You can check out Part One here.
Part Two of the series looks at the best over age talent, plying their trade mainly in the QAFLW and QW Winter Series, that have pressed their case for selection in the draft.
The draft is the final stop on the road to the AFLW for many of the best underage footballers in the state. For many of the players who have nominated, 2019 has been another successful year with performances across the QAFLW, NAB AFL Women’s Under 18 National Championships and the QW Winter Series maximising their exposure to high levels of football.
After missing out on draft selection in 2018, Brehmer returns to draft consideration having ticked more boxes throughout the 2019 season at multiple levels. Having moved from Yeronga South Brisbane to Bond University in the summer, Brehmer has emerged as one of the QAFLW’s best dual-threat players and is damaging either as a midfielder or small forward. A regular for the SUNS in the QW Winter Series, Brehmer is a hard runner and can break lines with a penetrating boot despite her diminutive size.
Perhaps University of Queensland’s most versatile and damaging player, Davidson enters the draft frame having compiled a consistent player across both the QAFLW season and QW Winter Series. Davidson won the game for Brisbane in the first winter series game with two second half goals. A mobile tall, Davidson can play in defence or in the ruck but often finds herself inside 50 where she kicked 11 goals in 11 games for the Red Lions this season.
Goodwin moved to the state’s premier women’s competition in 2019 where she shone for the Devils in the back half, essentially replacing Emily Bliss as a key defender. The former Townsville junior, where she played for Thuringowa, Goodwin is a great interceptor of the ball and often takes the game on when repelling from the defensive 50. The latest connection in a sporting family after her father played NBL for the Townsville Crocs and her mother represented her country at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in taekwondo.
Hillman has enjoyed a meteoric rise throughout 2019, highlighted by an invitation to the NAB AFL Women’s Draft Combine in Melbourne. After a stint in Mackay in 2018 and early 2019, Hillman returned to Coorparoo where she previously played in the 2013 season and quickly became Kings’ premier ruck. In doing so, she usurped both Emma Mackenzie and Tahlia Hickie and was a standout across her seven games. Her late season rise saw her miss the QW Winter Series but her form in the back end of the QAFLW season is sure to draw the eye of AFLW suitors.
Along with teammate Cathy Svarc, Kelly was one of Wilston Grange’s most consistent and best players throughout 2019. She earned QAFLW Team of the Year honours where she was named on a wing however she is more than capable of playing on the inside. Kelly played two games for the Lions in the QW Winter Series and her contribution saw her selected for the AFL Queensland Emerging Talent Squad at the conclusion of the series.
After commencing the QAFLW season with Coolangatta Tweed, Membrey played five games with the Bluebirds before taking her talents down south. She joined forced with Hawthorn in the VFLW where she played a further seven games for the brown and gold. A great mark with a distinct kicking style, Membrey is hoping to find a third AFLW club after stints with Brisbane and Collingwood over the past three seasons.
A silky midfielder, Moloney has been a steady and consistent performer for the Red Lions at QAFLW level across multiple seasons. Despite her smaller size, Moloney thrives around the contest and has developed a knack as one of the state league’s best extractors. She played two games for Brisbane in the QW Winter Series and was another member of the AFL Queensland Emerging Talent Squad.
After taking time away from the sport following the 2012 season, Pregelj returned to Australian Rules football in late 2018 and this year, continued her rapid rise that will now see her well and truly in draft calculation. A gifted footballer, Pregelj is a hard-running defender and has shown a knack for taking a big mark. She played two games for the SUNS in the QW Winter Series and was named the SUNS’ Emerging Player of the QW Winter Series.
A tough, uncompromising defender, Priest has put herself back into the sights of AFLW teams after a dominant season with the Bluebirds. In 2019, Priest earned Team of the Year selection in the QAFLW and was among the Lions’ most consistent performers across the QW Winter Series games including an enthralling battle against SUNS’ utility Tiarna Ernst at the Gabba. Priest is strong in the air and can more than hold her own in a one on one contest.
After starting the season with Morningside in the QFAW Division 1 competition, Ross was afforded the opportunity to play up with Coorparoo in the QAFLW midway through the season and remained a staple in their midfield throughout their Cinderella run to the premiership. A great ball user, Ross is a polished outside midfielder that has continued to work on her game throughout 2019. A member of the SUNS Academy, Ross played in one game for Gold Coast throughout the QW Winter Series.
A fast-moving two-way midfielder, Svarc may be one of the QAFLW’s best draft hopefuls in 2019 after starring for Wilston Grange throughout the season. Svarc earned Team of the Year honours in the midfield despite the Gorillas winning just three games for the season. With Brisbane, she played two games in the QW Winter Series and looked at home against AFLW players through the midfield and out on a wing.