MELBOURNE has made several changes to its AFLW list in the lead-up to the 2018 season.
Women’s football operations manager Debbie Lee said the club wanted to keep much of its 2017 list intact.
“It was our first trade period in the AFLW and we went into it always being comfortable with our list,” she said.
“We knew there was an opportunity to maybe add in a forward and perhaps look at how our backline was operating.
“We’ve retained the majority of our list, but we wanted to strengthen our forward line via Bianca Jakobsson and we were able to add some speed through Ashleigh Guest.
“We’ve also been able to get Pepa Randall and Maddie Boyd to GWS and Deanna Berry to the Western Bulldogs through trades, which allows them to continue their AFLW careers.”
Along with Jakobsson and Guest, Melbourne has also signed rookie Kate Hore, with Lee adding that all players will complement Melbourne’s game style.
“We highly rated Jakobsson in the draft last year and felt that if we could get her across the line, she would be a great addition to the team,” she said.
“Similarly with Ashleigh Guest, we think she fits the Melbourne mould. Her year at the GWS Giants has improved her football and we thought it was another great opportunity.
“Kate comes from a basketball background but always had a footy in her hand as a child. We are looking forward to working with Kate to develop her and increase her football attributes.”
Lee said the first ever NAB AFL Women’s Trade Period had been an interesting experience.
“Both [Melbourne list manager] Todd Patterson and myself leant on our men’s list management team and often went to them throughout the trade period for advice and guidance.
“You need to be diligent about what is on offer and what the opportunities are of trading a player.
“I think we approached the trade period with an open mind and were able to get some great outcomes for the Melbourne Football Club.”
Looking ahead, Lee said the club would work closely with the players over the coming months to ensure they make a healthy return when Melbourne’s pre-season commences later in the year.
“We need to ensure that they’re medically okay and that their loads are fine because they’re going to be running straight into pre-season as soon as they finish their VFL season.
“We want to make sure we’re across how their football is progressing and also check in how their bodies are travelling.”
AFLW squads will be extended to 30 which includes 27 senior-listed players and three rookies in 2018.
Rookies must either be under 21 years of age on January 1, 2018, or not have played Australian Football or been part of an AFL high performance program in the three years prior to May 1, 2017.
A Free Agency period follows the signing and Trade Period, allowing players who played in 2017 but were not re-signed the opportunity to be picked up by another club.
Players who are still unsigned can then nominate for the draft on October 18.
Melbourne’s 2018 AFLW List
Stephanie De Bortoli