MELBOURNE has added to it’s playing list on Monday night, with the 2023 AFLW Draft taking place at Marvel Stadium.
The Demons selected Alyssia Pisano with pick No.5, Ryleigh Wotherspoon with pick No.12, Jacinta Hose with pick No. 24, Jemma Rigoni with pick No. 29, and Delany Madigan with pick No. 55.
As we prepare to head into 2024, learn more about the newest additions to wear the red and blue below.
Alyssia Pisano | Eastern Ranges
Position: Small forward
Strengths: Classy skills, elite goal sense, x-factor
Pisano comes to the Dees from the Eastern Ranges and is set to spark energy inside 50, with the 162cm pocket rocket packing a powerful punch in front of goals.
The 18-year-old most recently impressed in the Talent League Girls season where she kicked a whopping 38 goals from 11 games.
In addition to her elite goal sense, Pisano’s classy skills put her above many in this draft class, making her an exciting recruit for the Dees.
“Alyssia is exactly what we were looking for, when we referenced getting elite through the door," Todd Patterson, the club’s AFLW List Manager, told Melbourne Media.
“Electric around goal, Alyssia can win you a game very quickly with her dynamite left foot.
"She has dominated at U18 level since she was 15 and we think she compliments an already dangerous forward group.”
Ryleigh Wotherspoon | Sherwood Magpies
Strengths: Power, athleticism, versatility
Wotherspoon is an established cricket player and has recently returned to football playing for Sherwood Magpies in Queensland, before her taste of AFLW, training with the Brisbane Lions earlier this year.
A naturally talented athlete, the 19-year-old has a number of sporting achievements including representing Queensland and Australia in cricket, playing Premier League soccer for University of Queensland, in addition to representing Queensland for softball.
Wotherspoon boasts impressive power and attack on the ball, with the ability to work across both the midfield and backline.
“Ryleigh comes to us from predominately a cricket background with a mix of some soccer,” Todd Patterson, the club’s AFLW List Manager, told Melbourne Media.
“She is originally from Mackay and got back to footy at Sherwood this year before training on at Brisbane.
“We see Ryleigh as a powerful midfielder that can also rebound off half back and are excited to see her within our program.”
Jacinta Hose | Eastern Ranges
Strengths: Aerial presence, athleticism, versatility
Hose is a talented tall who, despite an unlucky run with injury, has displayed immense potential, joining the club as a long-term prospect.
Standing at 185cm tall, she boasts an incredible level of athleticism for a ruck and has a high ability to play up forward thanks to her dangerous aerial presence.
Attending the draft on Monday as a guest of another draftee, Hose had no idea that her name would be called and was in shock as she was congratulated by her friends and family.
“Jacinta has had horrible luck with injury in the last 18 months rupturing both ACL’s. Prior and in between these injuries we viewed her as the leading ruck prospect in the available draft pool with a good jumping technique and great touch,” Todd Patterson, the club’s AFLW List Manager, told Melbourne Media.
“Whilst we understand Jacinta won’t be available next season, we view tall prospects in this area of the ground as extremely hard to get access to and believe she is a great investment for us longer term.”
Jemma Rigoni | Oakleigh Chargers
Strengths: Footy IQ, versatility, explosive speed
The daughter of the 107-game Demon, Guy Rigoni, will now get the opportunity to write her own name in the club’s history books, coming to the club via the AFLW National Draft on Monday night.
Rigoni spent her junior career playing for the Oakleigh Chargers, and while it was unfortunately interrupted with an ACL injury when she was 17, the young star persevered and proved her talent as a top age player in 2023.
“Jemma has done a terrific job recovering from her ACL injury and becoming one of the dominant 19-year-olds in the Coates League competition whilst also having a strong National Championships,” Todd Patterson, the club’s AFLW List Manager, told Melbourne Media.
“She is a tall rebounding defender who can also play on the wing, her speed can be quite breathtaking.
“We love any opportunity to be able to honour the past contribution of players and the Father/Daughter mechanism gives us another opportunity to do so.
“Overall, for us the primary discussion point was always around the calibre of player Jemma is in her own right and we couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to work with her on a full time basis moving forward.”
Delany Madigan | Eastern Ranges
Position: Key defender
Strengths: Physicality, strong kick, decision-making
Madigan arrives at the Dees from Eastern Ranges with elite physicality, a strong kick and impressive decision-making.
“Delany is a key defender who had a strong end to the year, which was capped off by an impressive grand final performance,” Todd Patterson, the club’s AFLW List Manager, told Melbourne Media.
"Her aerial presence is a real strength, as is her decision-making, and she has great depth to her kick of the footy.
“We are excited by what Delany can add, as we bring together a different looking backline group to take us forward.”