The Brisbane Lions have added to their growing list of exciting young talent with the Club selecting a promising quintet at the 2023 AFLW Draft on Monday night.
With a ‘home-grown focus’ the Lions selected Evie Long, Indianna Williams, Sophie Peters, Rania Crozier and Jacinta Baldwick.
In a huge endorsement for the Club and the AFL Queensland Pathway, all five players drafted are graduates from the Brisbane Lions Academy.
With these players in mind and knowing exactly what type of players it needed to build on its premiership-winning team, the Club executed its plan to get them.
“We are super excited to welcome Evie, Sophie, Indiana, Rania and Jacinta to the Brisbane Lions and look forward to seeing them develop,” Lions AFLW List Manager Michael Swann
“All five are promising young players who we believe have bright futures in the game and are quality people who will add to the culture at the Brisbane Lions.
“During the season we saw our coaches needing to move players around between positions more than ever before.
“So, we entered this trade and draft period aiming to make our list even more versatile by focussing on players who bring height and or pace along with the ability to play various roles for team.
“The trade window was a great success as we landed our two targets in Shanae Davison and Eleanor Hartill (from West Coast), whilst helping players in search of greater opportunity get to new clubs and ensuring that our draft picks remained in strong positions to secure some of Queensland’s most exciting young talent.”
LONG, a medium forward/outside midfielder, was drafted at Pick 15 after the Sydney Swans submitted a bid on the Brisbane Lions Academy graduate with the Lions using their Pick 20 to match the bid for the Sandgate junior.
Known for her run and carry, Long uses speed as her weapon to pressure oppositions defences on transition.
Long has also been a consistent contributor on the scoreboard with clean foot skills both in front of goal and in around the ground.
“Long is a smooth mover who has demonstrated a great deal of skill despite having an injury-affected draft year,” Swann said.
“She has played predominately as a smaller forward or wing due to her supreme athleticism, ability to carry the ball, and keenness to apply defensive pressure in the forward half, but she is also 174cm tall with a strong overhead mark.”
PETERS, drafted with pick 21, is a winger who was developed her game while playing for Maroochydore.
Another draftee known for her run and carry, Peters’ ability to spread from contest caught the eye of Lions recruiting staff.
“Sophie naturally looks to spread from contests and take the game on with her natural speed and capacity to sidestep around defenders,” Swann said.
“We are looking forward to seeing her develop in our system.”
WILLIAMS is a key defender who can pinch hit in the ruck standing at 176cm tall and was drafted with pick 27 after the Club matched a bid from the Adelaide Crows.
Another draftee from the Maroochydore Football Club, Williams is athletic and quick on her feet with a drive to continue to better herself as a professional according to recruiters.
“Indianna is a strong medium-tall defender who moved from Hervey Bay twelve months ago to commit more time and energy to improving her game through the Academy,” Swann said.
“Her athletic testing results at the combine were exceptional and we are excited to see her develop alongside the group of leaders that we currently have within our strong defensive unit.”
CROZIER, who has excelled in this year’s draft class to be selected with pick 31, is a key position player who can impact both ends of the ground.
Some of Crozier’s best assets are her size, speed and work rate across the ground – while she is also known to impact aerial contests and provide good pressure whether in defence or the forward half.
“Given her height and athleticism, Rania has caught the eye as a member of the NAB AFL Women’s National Academy squad along with Sophie Peters,” Swann said.
“She works really hard to get up the field and present as a tall target and impact marking contests whilst playing at centre half forward.
“Launches at the footy in the air and could also go behind the ball as an athletic key defender.”
BALDWICK, who was drafted by the Lions at pick 37, hails from the Coorparoo Football Club.
A medium forward, who can also play as a midfielder, Baldwick possess clean foot skills, a strong presence at stoppage and is composed with ball in hand.
“Jacinta reads the play and uses the ball very well,” Swann said.
“She provides us with another smart option across half forward and as a developing midfielder.”