Published on November 12, 2019 11:00 am

L-R: Millie Brown, Georgia Patrikios, Lucy McEvoy and Sophie Molan

2019 AFLW Draft: What they said

We spoke to a range of Victorian players selected in the recent NAB AFL Women’s Draft as well as several NAB League clubs to get their thoughts on the AFLW journey ahead.

The 25 total draftees from NAB League clubs in 2019 started the 2020 pre-season at their new AFLW homes yesterday, with nine scheduled weeks of training to come before the season proper begins on Friday February 7.



Pick no.1: GABRIELLE NEWTON (Northern Knights to Western Bulldogs)

She says:

“I’m so honoured to be at the Dogs. I had (new Western Bulldogs AFLW senior coach Nathan Burke) as my coach at Vic Metro (this year), so having him there has made me feel that much more comfortable. Two of my best friends in Nell Morris-Dalton (ex-Northern Knights) and Izzy Grant (ex-Western Jets) are both there too.

“I feel I play my best football in the midfield, but I’ll play anywhere that’s required of me in the AFLW.”


The Knights say:

“Gabby came into our program three years ago from a basketball background. She had some obvious talent, but the best thing has been to see her leadership develop and the way she has brought the playing group together so closely. The Dogs get a future leader along with a special player.”



Pick no.2: LUCY McEVOY (Geelong Falcons to Carlton)

She says:

“First of all, I just need to gain the respect of my teammates and get to know everyone at the club, which I’m very excited about. I need to put my best foot forward and try my best at training so hopefully I can make an impact.

“The midfield has been my main position this year and I’ve been able to learn so much and continue to learn so much in that position. I’m happy to play wherever, but I think midfield is my best position.”



Pick no.5: GEORGIA PATRIKIOS (Calder Cannons to St Kilda)

She says:

“I can see they’re building something special, so it’s great to be at the Saints. Since I was five (years old), I used to say to my brother: ‘I want to play at the highest level possible,’ and now it’s a reality.

“(My aims are) earning the respect of all my teammates first and foremost and creating those bonds and relationships with them, then trying to have a big pre-season and hopefully get myself a game next year.”



Pick no.6: NELL MORRIS-DALTON (Northern Knights to Western Bulldogs)

She says:

“I had no idea I was going to go (get picked) that early. I think I’ve really improved my strengths and taken it to a new level (this year). I’ve been making sure my game style can carry through all the different levels and I think I continued to improve my game against the older girls (in the VFLW for the Darebin Falcons).

“The key now will be having a big pre-season to get my fitness up so I can be prepared for a whole new level.”


The Knights say:

“Nell has always been a really talented junior. She realised this year that she needed to work really hard on her running and, to her credit, she went away and worked really closely with our High Performance Manager Nat Grindal and the results have really shown.”



Pick no.7: SOPHIE MOLAN (GWV Rebels to Richmond)

She says:

“I couldn’t think of anywhere better to be than Tigerland; I think they’re going to do awesome things in their first year. I’m pretty stoked to have (GWV Rebels teammate) Ella Wood at Richmond as well.

“I started out as a key-position back and in the last two years I’ve developed into a midfielder, so I can thank (GWV head coach) Rhys (Cahir) and the staff at the Rebels who have really helped me do that. I think that’s the strongest position I play now.”



Pick no.8: GEMMA LAGIOIA (Oakleigh Chargers to Western Bulldogs)

She says:

“I wasn’t expecting to get drafted at all and then to get selected as high as I did by the Bulldogs is so exciting.

“I came into my own in the VFLW (for Collingwood this year). As a smaller body, clubs wanted to see how I could perform against senior women, so to show I could hold my own really helped. I moved forward and brought my defensive pressure and I was able to hit the scoreboard a bit more, which was good as that wasn’t something I’d previously done.”


The Chargers say:

“We’re very proud of the effort our five draftees have put in to their football, particularly over the last 12 months. To see Gemma, Nicola Xenos (pick no.27 to St Kilda), Amelia Van Oosterwijck (no.62 to Western Bulldogs), Alana Porter (no.82 to Collingwood) and Emily Harley (no.93 to Richmond) rewarded with a spot on an AFLW list is great. We’re excited to see what they’ll bring to the AFLW in 2020.”



Pick no.9: ELISABETH GEORGOSTATHIS (Western Jets to Western Bulldogs)

She says:

“Playing with the Bulldogs this year in the VFLW was unreal, so being able to play with them now in the AFLW is just so exciting.

“When I first started playing football, there wasn’t an AFLW competition, so I thought I’d just play for a bit of fun. Over the last two years I became more serious and that’s when I pushed and worked hardest. Now I get the reward.”


The Jets say:

“Our 2019 captain capped off a remarkable year that included a club best-and-fairest, Vic Metro selection, second place in the NAB League Girls Best & Fairest and NAB League Girls Team of the Year honours. She’ll go down as the first Jets player to be selected in an AFLW Draft and we can’t wait to see what her journey with the Bulldogs holds.”



Pick no.11: MILLIE BROWN (Murray Bushrangers to Geelong)

The Bushrangers say:

“We were really excited to see Millie drafted as Geelong’s first-ever Father-Daughter pick. Millie showed maturity and leadership qualities far beyond her age when she first joined our program as a 15-year-old, soon becoming a role model and leading by example on and off the field.

“Millie’s football ability speaks for itself, she has an amazing attitude, her determination and enthusiasm is contagious and her dedication and commitment has been second-to-none. The way Millie goes about football and life is a credit to her and her parents Ange and Paul.”



Pick no.25: LAURA McCLELLAND (Eastern Ranges to Richmond)

The Ranges say:

“As co-captain of the Ranges in 2019, Laura had a strong season playing in the back line, dominating with her overhead marking and her ability to compete in one-on-one contests. Laura also impressed for Vic Metro at this year’s AFLW Under-18 Championships – deservedly being named in the AFLW Under-18 All Australian Team – and was selected to play for Hawthorn in the VFLW.”



Pick no.40: SARAH SANSONETTI (Northern Knights to Richmond)

The Knights say:

“Sarah reads the play as well as any defender in the NAB League Girls competition. She has the rare ability to win the ball back from the opposition and then create attacking plays out of the back half. She’s also a pretty handy cricketer!”



Pick no.44: SERENA GIBBS (Eastern Ranges to Carlton)

The Ranges say:

“Serena had an impressive first year of football, playing mainly in the ruck as well as centre-half-forward. She took to the game easily, which showed with her continued improvement throughout the season. Serena also played with Hawthorn in the VFLW.”



Pick no.47: ISABELLA GRANT (Western Jets to Western Bulldogs)

The Jets say:

“Izzy joins Liz (Georgostathis) at the Bulldogs after she was selected under the Father-Daughter rule. She’ll add another chapter to the Grant family legacy at Whitten Oval (her father is Chris Grant) when she pulls on the red, white and blue. Izzy was a member of the 2019 NAB League Girls Team of the Year and her versatility makes her a top prospect in the years to come.”



Pick no.48: BRITNEY GUTKNECHT (Northern Knights to Western Bulldogs)

The Knights say:

“Britney has placed in the top three of our best-and-fairest in each of the last three years. She’s super consistent and a really mature player. She has shown the ability to play forward and hit the scoreboard as well as going into the midfield to win clearances and contested ball.”



Pick no.58: CLEO SAXON-JONES (Western Jets to Richmond)

The Jets say:

“Cleo is a key forward who had injury impact her 2019 season, but she showed tremendous talent in her appearances for Vic Metro over the last two years, suggesting she can be anything at the elite level. She also developed her off-field capability working as a part-time administrator for the region to complement her studies and was an integral part of all facets of our girls program.”



Pick no.73: EMMA HORNE (Eastern Ranges to Richmond)

The Ranges say:

“Emma was named in the 2019 leadership group at the Ranges and had another strong season playing on the wing, dominating with her ability to read the play. Emma played down back for Vic Metro at this year’s AFLW Under-18 Championships and was also selected to play for Richmond in the VFLW.”



Pick no.87: CIARA FITZGERALD (Northern Knights to Richmond)

The Knights say:

“Ciara kicked three goals in our second-ever NAB League Girls game in 2017 as a 16-year-old. She had evident talent then and this year it all came together, with (head coach) Marcus (Abney-Hastings) and the team moving her into the back half. She’ll have some real upside when she gets stronger and more powerful.”



* Visit our AFLW DRAFT WATCH HUB, featuring stories on six AFLW draftees from the NAB League Girls in 2019.

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