TWO Peel Thunderbird players were among 12 Western Australian women selected last night for the inaugural AFL National Women’s Draft last night.
Emma Swanson was selected at pick 29 and will represent the Melbourne Football Club while Kira Phillips was selected by the Western Bulldogs Football Club with pick 32.
The groundbreaking match will be the first time AFL clubs have competed in an AFL-sanctioned women’s match; with the game to be held on Saturday June 29 ahead of the club’s women’s round meeting.
Nine West Australians were drafted to the Demons and three to the Bulldogs. Swan Districts midfielder Chelsea Randall was the highest WA selection, taken by Melbourne at pick three.
Michelle Cowan, the only woman assistant coach at a professional league level in Western Australia was selected to coach the Melbourne team.
Cowan is the assistant coach with South Fremantle Football Club and believes this is a huge step forward in women’s footy.
“I’m so thrilled to be a part of this and the support from the AFL, Western Australian Football Commission and the state clubs to put women’s footy at a national level is incredible.
“The talent coming through women’s footy is outstanding. I’m really excited to see what the future holds - it won’t be long till we see a national competition.”
WA Football Commission’s Director Pathways and Competition, Grant Dorrington said the national draft is a result of the huge investment by the WAFC, the AFL and clubs into women’s football over the past 25 years.
“The national draft and upcoming match has been a long time coming. There will be a national women’s competition in the future and I expect to see a WA team participating that will be very strong and competitive.”
The National Women’s Draft attracted the cream of the crop from around Australia with over 320 nominations put forward and 50 players selected in total.