After a busy three weeks, the 2019 AFLW Sign and Trade Period has drawn to a close.
Completing four trades, four expansion signings and 20 player re-signings, the Western Bulldogs will head to the 2019 NAB AFLW Draft in a strong position.
Western Bulldogs General Manager of Women’s Football Debbie Lee said although various players have departed, the ability to target the best young players in Victoria holds the Bulldogs in a strong position.
“It was certainly a hectic time during the trade period, but ultimately we’ve ended up in a really strong position,” Lee told westernbulldogs.com.au.
Required to release at least eight players from the 2019 AFLW list, the Bulldogs have currently built a list of 21 players, with nine spots to be filled via the national draft and rookie positions.
“Every team was required to let go of at least eight players, so we did that,” said Lee.
“Obviously expansion clubs have affected things. We saw Katie Brennan move to Richmond and Belinda Smith move back home to join the West Coast Eagles. We also saw Tiarna Ernst head to the Gold Coast Suns, after receiving a job offer in Brisbane, as well as Selena Karlson who’s made her way to St Kilda, after initially playing within their VFLW program.
“Expansion clubs could only take four players from each Melbourne-based club, so they were our four players. Anyone else who wanted to move to another club had to be traded.”
In a boost for the Bulldogs, they currently hold the number one pick in the 2019 NAB AFLW Draft, after securing a trade for midfielder Monique Conti, who has joined expansion club Richmond.
“It was disappointing losing Monique, she was our best and fairest, a young player who had a really good second half of the season,” Lee said.
“She requested a move to Richmond, but due to four players already heading to expansion, a trade needed to be completed.
“As a result, when the draft order came out Richmond held draft pick one, which we then negotiated to receive.”
With access to Victoria’s best young talent, the Bulldogs are confident their draft position will complement their current list.
“The great thing is that we’ve set ourselves up in a strong position to get some new young talent and replenish our numbers,” Lee said.
“Holding four picks within the top ten at this year’s draft has almost made us feel like we’re back to two years ago when we picked up Izzy Huntington and Monique Conti. This time around, we have a stronger hand with four picks in the top ten, compared to two in 2017.”
The 2019 NAB AFLW Draft will occur in October, with the final date to be confirmed by the AFL.