MELBOURNE’s list is a step closer to completion, welcoming four new names in the 2018 AFLW Draft on Tuesday.
Tyla Hanks, Madeline Brancatisano, Jordann Hickey and Shelley Heath all joined the red and blue at the Marvel Stadium event, with the Demons still to add a fifth player through free agency.
Coach Mick Stinear said he was delighted with the new arrivals and was looking forward to working with them in the lead up to season 2019.
“We’ve brought in four quality players, who are just going to add value to our existing group,” he told Melbourne Media.
“I’m sure they’re pumped, and as a club, we’re proud to have them involved.”
Hanks, who was selected with Melbourne’s first pick (No.6 overall), is set to bring a competitive edge with her skilful ball use and goal sense.
The 18-year-old will have an instant impact up forward for the Demons, with potential of developing her midfield role.
“I’m really honoured to be called out by the Dees and I can’t wait to get stuck in there,” Hanks said.
“It’s a little bit scary and nerve-racking, but I’m more excited to meet everyone and learn from everyone above me.”
Speed and endurance looked to be a key focus of the Demons’ draft ambitions, selecting zippy inside midfielder Brancatisano at pick No.15.
The 18-year-old from the Northern Knights tested well at the Draft Combine earlier this month, with her ability to clear space by hand a real standout of her game.
“I’m hardworking and I always give 100% effort,” Brancatisano said.
“I just want to be there, have fun and do what I can for the team to succeed.”
Brancatisano will bring further depth to the Melbourne midfield, providing coverage for Daisy Pearce, who will welcome twins during the 2019 season.
A third forward was also on the red and blue wish list, selecting 174cm Hickey with their third draft selection (No.31 overall).
The powerful forward comes through the Pinktails – a Melbourne-partnered representative club in Alice Springs – and is known for her physicality and relentlessness.
Playing for the NT Thunder at VFLW level, she kicked 14 goals this season.
Strength was a trait that continued into Melbourne’s fourth selection, welcoming small forward Heath at pick No.44.
Standing at 160cm tall, Heath brings a wealth of versatility, with potential as a pressure forward, outside winder and lock down defender.
She is also an Australian Taekwondo Champion and an elite tackler.
With their fifth and final selection, the Demons passed and will now use their option of signing a free agent from interstate, set to be confirmed in the coming days.