ALTHOUGH Melbourne won’t be involved in the NAB AFLW Draft until pick No.54 rolls around, there’s no need to panic.
The club’s list manager Todd Patterson is confident with where his side sits, with a number of girls set to be available in the latter stages of next Tuesday’s draft.
“We think there are some players there,” Patterson told Melbourne Media.
“We’ve obviously done a lot of work and have been able to prepare for where our selections are at the draft.
“It’s pretty clear who the top end are, and we’ve been able to acknowledge that and move onto players around our selections.”
The Demons hold four picks in the draft – No.54, 72, 77 and 78 – with the chance to bring some fresh young talent into the club.
And while it’s a great opportunity to top up for the future, Patterson is comfortable with the depth on the list and doesn’t think there are too many holes needing to be filled.
“We feel like we’ve got the squad in a really good position,” he said.
“It might get a little bit position specific at the end, but there’s nothing we’re majorly looking for in the draft from a positional perspective.
“We think we’re reasonably covered across the ground now.”
Melbourne finished fourth in Conference A last season and is in a strong position to make its first ever finals appearance next year after retaining the majority of its list.
With four new clubs entering the league – Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast – it has been harder than ever to keep the core group together this off-season, but the Demons have managed to do just that.
“I think we’re in the top two for players on our list from the inaugural draft and we’ve been able to get through the last expansion period terrifically well,” Patterson said.
“It’s very hard to improve your list through those expansion periods but we actually feel like we were able to do that last season with the addition of Libby Birch, and obviously we get Daisy (Pearce) and Shae Sloane back.
“There’s three people that are pretty strongly putting up their hands to go into our best side for Round 1 that we didn’t have last season.”
Birch’s recruitment came at the expense of pick No.8 in the draft, but with the former Bulldog set to have an immediate impact, it was a trade Patterson was more than happy to make.
“I think when you look at the draft at the moment with where the women’s competition is at, there is some really clear top end talent and we were able to assess that our first draft pick fell outside of where that really high-class early impact player sat,” he said.
“Given where our list is at and the fact Libby is still young, it was a bit of a no-brainer to bring her in.”
The Demons have also been able to bolster their list through the addition of Irish duo Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy, shaping up well for season four of the AFLW competition.