Women’s AFL Draft: Dockers secure local duo as marquees

Fremantle’s marquee players Kiara Bowers and Kara Donnellan with coach Michelle Cowan (centre).
Fremantle’s marquee players Kiara Bowers and Kara Donnellan with coach Michelle Cowan (centre).

THE first pieces of Fremantle’s playing roster for the inaugural AFL women’s league are locked in place.

Swan Districts captain Kara Donnellan and Coastal Titans’ Kiara Bowers were today announced as the club’s two marquee players, with preparation for the 2017 season picking up pace.

Dockers coach Michelle Cowan was beaming over the pair at the jumper presentation this morning.

“Both are exceptional, elite midfield athletes who can be really versatile,” she said.

“Second to that, their character and leadership is certainly something that was really important to us as a pillar for drafting our players and building our team going forward.

“Their leadership at their clubs, both playing in the WAWFL, as well as at state level, is exceptional.”

Donnellan (24) is a speedy midfielder known for her tough style of play.

“I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little girl,” she said.

“I didn’t think it would ever happen but now it’s a reality. .

“We’ve played footy for years just for the love of it and now obviously we’ll be right in the heart of the Fremantle Footy Club, around some elite facilities, elite coaches and just to put all my time and energy into playing football is a dream come true.”

Bowers is a line-breaking midfielder considered one of the elite runners in the women’s game.

She said the opening season would inspire young girls to take up the sport.

“We didn’t think when we were their ages we could put on an AFL guernsey,” she said.

“For them to be able to look up to us now and say ‘we can do that’ is a pretty big message.”

WA-based players featured heavily in today’s announcements, with seven of the 16 marquee players coming from our side of the country.

South Fremantle’s Sabrina Frederick-Traub is headed to Brisbane, while East Fremantle’s Emma Swanson will play for Greater Western Sydney.

The remaining positions on the competing teams’ rosters will be filled during October’s draft.

AFL hopefuls will nominate for that in September.

Cowan said she would be aiming to secure more local talent.

“I’m a passionate West Australian and I want to see WA girls playing for WA teams,” she said.

“There’s a lot of depth here in WA and we’re looking forward to casting the net far and wide, looking at the other sports and getting up far north in WA.

“It’s a really big state and there’s a lot of talent out there.

“We’re not too worried about the talent that has headed (east) because we know the actual depth here in WA is incredible and we’ll continue to go to the next girl who is just as excited.

“There are a lot of girls that want the opportunity to pull on an AFL jumper.

“They’re knocking down the door and taking their football to the next level.”

Marquee players

Adelaide:

Chelsea Randall, 25, forward, plays for Swan Districts in WAWFL.

Kellie Gibson, 20, forward, moved from Swan Districts to South Australian club Morphettville Park this year.

Brisbane:

Tayla Harris, 19, forward/ruckman, plays for Zillmere in the QWFL.

Sabrina Frederick-Traub, 20, full-forward/ruckman, plays for South Fremantle in the WAWFL.

Carlton:

Brianna Davey, 21, defender/midfielder, plays for the St Kilda Sharks in the VWFL.

Darcy Vescio, 23, full-forward, plays for Darebin Falcons in the VWFL.

Collingwood:

Moana Hope, 28, full-forward, plays for St Kilda Sharks in the VWFL.

Emma King, 22, ruckman, plays for Coastal Titans in the WAWFL.

Fremantle:

Kara Donnellan, 24, midfielder, captains Swan Districts in WAWFL.

Kiara Bowers, 24, midfielder, plays for Coastal Titans in the WAWFL.

Greater Western Sydney:

Renee Forth, 29, midfielder, captain of Coastal Titans in the WAWFL.

Emma Swanson, 21, midfielder, plays for East Fremantle in the WAWFL.

Melbourne:

Daisy Pearce, 28, midfielder, captains the Darebin Falcons in the VWFL.

Mel Hickey, 31, defender.

Western Bulldogs:

Katie Brennan, 23, forward, plays for the Darebin Falcons in the WVFL

Ellie Blackburn, 21, midfielder, plays for Melbourne University in the VWFL.