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Pies prepare for AFLW Draft

Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman reads out Chloe Molloy's name with the third selection in the 2017 AFL Women's Draft. - Collingwood,Collingwood Magpies
Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman reads out Chloe Molloy's name with the third selection in the 2017 AFL Women's Draft.

When your team’s coach is excited, something special must be brewing.

For Collingwood’s AFL Women’s team, that coach is Wayne Siekman, and his excitement is generated by what awaits during Tuesday’s AFL Women’s Draft.

Collingwood will enter the meeting with five selections inside the first 19, with a total of seven new players to join the club by Tuesday evening.

“Tuesday’s going to be an exciting day,” Siekman told Collingwood Media.

“We’ll have the draft and then a function to welcome all the new draftees to the club, which is great for them, their families and the club in general.”

The Magpies have set their sights firmly on building from within.

Several established players left at the end of the 2018 AFL Women’s season, many bound for expansion club North Melbourne. Instead of looking to chase existing AFL Women’s players, the club is looking to use the draft as its means of building the nucleus of its future teams.

“Our strategy has been in place since the trade took place and expansion hit,” Siekman explained.

“Some players left the club, be it to expansion clubs or new clubs, which meant we were able to get some really good draft picks early in the draft.

“The compensation we got from the AFL was a pick at the start of the second round, so we have seven open picks in Tuesday’s draft, including five picks in the first round and a half. By the middle of the second round, we’ve got five picks.

“Our strategy has been to bring the youth in. As we saw last year, not just with Chloe Molloy but others such as Isabel Huntington (Western Bulldogs), Monique Conti (Western Bulldogs) and Iilish Ross (Collingwood), these kids are the future of our game.

Coach Wayne Siekman presents Chloe Molloy with her Collingwood jumper during the 2017 AFL Women's Draft.

“Unlike the men’s game, these kids can come in and not just impact but be very good players which shows you the level they are already at. To invest heavily in the draft this year with five early picks is very exciting for us, both in 2019 and in the years beyond as we build something from the base.”

Collingwood will formally add a further two players to its 2018 list on Tuesday when it officially drafts Erica Fowler and Sophie Alexander.

The pair are products of the club’s VFL Women’s team, and have been rewarded for their fine work in the team’s first season in the new competition with places on the list following the season-ending injury suffered by Chloe Molloy in the VFL Women’s Preliminary Final against Geelong.

“Erica played for our VFLW team this year as a Queenslander,” Siekman said.

“She flew herself down every couple of weeks off her own bat to improve and try and get the best out of it. It’s been worthwhile for her and it’s paid off. She’s a forward-ruck, which will help out Eliza Hynes.

“We were also able to acquire Sophie Alexander, a key forward in our VFLW program, in a similar fashion to the father-daughter rule, where other clubs could bid on her and we had to take her with our next pick. We had to take her in the middle of the third round.

“It means we have two players in, plus another seven to go tomorrow. We have five early picks and then one in the third and one in the fifth.”

The draft itself will take on a slightly different format to last year’s, given Victoria’s nominees have been divided into three pools.

“It’s a state based draft, which is the same as last year, but there are three different pools the players can nominate – Victoria, for all six teams, Geelong only and then metro only (the five Melbourne-based teams and not Geelong),” Siekman explained.

“It’s all dependent on each player’s circumstances, and giving them options.

Drafted with pick No. 3 in the 2017 AFL Women's Draft, Chloe Molloy went on to win the league's Rising Star Award just months later.

“It’s a little bit tricker from a Victorian club’s perspective, given we need to go through the nominations and check out the Victorian ones and the metro ones, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”

Tuesday’s draft marks the beginning of a busy period for third-year coach Siekman, who will introduce his recruits and their families to their new Collingwood teammates during a function that evening.

“Pre-season starts on 14 November, so they have three weeks between now and then," he said.

“There will be inductions where they come in and assess their skills, goal setting, meet with our strength and fitness teams and set out their pre-seasons.

“It means we’ll know where the players are at individually and work out together what they need to do over the summer and get set for a career as an AFL Women’s player.”

2018 AFL Women's Draft Order

1 Geelong
2 Geelong
3 Carlton
4 Fremantle
5 Collingwood
6 Melbourne
7 Geelong
8 Adelaide
9 Brisbane
10 Western Bulldogs
11 Collingwood
12 Greater Western Sydney

13 Collingwood
14 Geelong
15 Melbourne
16 Carlton – Abbie McKay (father-daughter selection)
17 Fremantle
18 Collingwood
19 Collingwood
20 Geelong
21 Carlton
22 Brisbane
23 Western Bulldogs
24 Geelong
25 North Melbourne

26 Western Bulldogs
27 Carlton
28 Fremantle
29 Collingwood – Sophie Alexander (compensation)
30 Adelaide
31 Melbourne
32 Collingwood
33 Brisbane
34 Western Bulldogs
35 Geelong
36 North Melbourne

37 Adelaide
38 Carlton
39 Fremantle
40 Carlton
41 Adelaide
42 Carlton
43 Greater Western Sydney
44 Melbourne
45 Brisbane
46 Western Bulldogs
47 Geelong
48 Adelaide

49 Carlton
50 Fremantle
51 Collingwood
52 Melbourne
53 Adelaide
54 Greater Western Sydney
55 North Melbourne
56 Brisbane
57 Geelong
58 North Melbourne

59 Fremantle
60 Greater Western Sydney
61 Brisbane
62 Geelong
63 North Melbourne

64 Fremantle
65 Greater Western Sydney

66 Fremantle
67 Greater Western Sydney

68 Fremantle
69 Greater Western Sydney
70 Collingwood – Erica Fowler (compensation)