BRISBANE’S draft strategy looked highly defensive, with the recruitment of three defenders and one midfielder/defender out of their eight picks. Young talent has been the theme of Brisbane’s picks, with coach, Craig Starcevich bringing in players he had coached in the Queensland Under-18 representative side this year.
What they needed:
- Midfielder/forwards to replace the loss of Kaitlyn Ashmore and Brittany Gibson
- Defenders to to aid loss of Nicole Hildebrand and Jamie Stanton
- Ruck to replace Tahlia Randall
Paige Parker – Coorparoo
Parker has been groomed as a Lion for two years, being part of their train-on squad. She finished equal fourth in the 2018 Queensland Women’s Australian Football League (QWAFL), was awarded Gold Coast’s 2018 Winter Series Development Player award for her performances during the AFLW Winter Series and is a two-time premiership player. She will complement Queensland Under 18 captain, Natalie Grider in defence and add an element of agility to Brisbane’s back six.
Natalie Grider – University of Queensland
Grider shows incredible composure in defence, thanks to her deft kick and solid hands. She will help to fill the void left by Nicole Hildebrand, who showed these qualities in the Brisbane line-up last season. Grider was named in the 2018 AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian squad, was the Queensland Under 18 captain, made the QWAFL Team of the Year and on top of that, won the competition’s Rising Star award. Grider obviously shows plenty of promise and will prove to be a very handy pick-up for the Lions for the 2019 season.
Mckenzie Dowrick – Subiaco
Dowrick was a star for Western Australia during her Under 18 years. She was a member of the AFL Women’s Academy and has been named at half-back in the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian team for two consecutive years. The 18 year-old can also provide versatility through the midfield thanks to her classy left-foot kick and football smarts. Nominating for Queensland was a huge plus for the Lions, who welcomed the talented prospect with open arms. Along with Grider and Parker, she too will account for the loss of Hildebrand as well as Jamie Stanton, who offers run and carry in the defensive 50.
Lauren Bella – Bond University
Bella slots right into Brisbane’s line-up as a replacement ruck for Tahlia Randall. She has been a star in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships for the past couple of years, being named the All Australian ruck in the last two teams. Bella was the tallest player in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships this year, and she used her height to her advantage. She is a clever player who has a great leap, giving her midfielders prime use of the ball. Bella is also agile at ground level, making her a player to watch in 2019.
Tori Groves-Little – Coorparoo
Groves-Little played exceptional football on the wing for Queensland’s Under 18 side this year, breaking the lines with her run and carry and long kicks. She also dominated in the QWAFL for Coorparoo, being named the joint Best and Fairest winner of the competition. Groves-Little was a member of the AFL Women’s Academy as well. She will be able to fill the void of Kaitlyn Ashmore, who provides exciting speed and can make an impact in the middle of the ground.
Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw – Coorparoo
Tawhiao-Wardlaw is primarily a forward, but can provide some support in the ruck for Lauren Bella and Sabrina Frederick-Traub. She is able to position herself well inside 50 and is a good overhead mark. She was a handy player for Queensland in the AFL Women’s Under 18S competition, kicking two goals and being named in the best twice from five games. Tawhiao-Wardlaw knows the Lions side well, having represented them in the Winter Series.
Jacqueline Yorston – Wilston Grange (compensation)
Yorston could be one of the biggest steals in the draft, with the Under 18 All Australian midfielder being one of the last two picks on the day. Yorston was a premiership player with Wilston Grange and was one of just three Queenslanders to be invited to the AFL Women’s Draft Combine. She will be able to provide some hardness in the midfield for Brisbane in 2019.
Jade Ellenger – Coorparoo (compensation)
Ellenger, like Yorston, can also provide some valuable run and carry for the Lions in the midfield. She can also contribute in defence, which will help fill the void of Stanton. Ellenger was a solid contributor in the QWAFL this year, playing all 14 matches as well as the Grand Final against Yorston’s Wilston Grange. She also represented Queensland at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and was named in the best twice, so coach, Craig Starcevich is well aware of her ability, having coached the Under 18 side this year.
How they went:
The Lions have managed to fill Tahlia Randall’s ruck void with the addition of Lauren Bella and Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw to complement Sabrina Frederick-Traub. The defence losses have also been well covered with the addition of Under 18 trio, Natalie Grider, Paige Parker and McKenzie Dowrick. Jade Ellenger can also play in defence. This will make Brisbane one of the strongest defensive line-ups in the 2019 AFLW season. Some exciting midfielders have also been recruited with the addition of young guns, Jacqueline Yorston, Jade Ellenger and Tori Groves-Little. Tawhaio-Wardlaw is a good addition to the forward line, but the Lions could have also drafted a smaller forward to dampen the loss of Kaitlyn Ashmore.