BY SYDNEY SWANS MEDIA
Sydney’s inaugural AFLW side is taking shape with the pre-season set to commence on June 13.
QBE Sydney Swans Academy athlete Ruby Sargent-Wilson was the first player signed to the red and white. The 18-year-old, who grew up in the Illawarra region, represented the Sydney Swans in the Women’s Summer Series. She has been studying at Bond University on the Gold Coast on the prestigious Riewoldt AFL Excellence Scholarship.
Sargent-Wilson is joined by Kiara Beesley as Academy alumni. Beesley honed her skills playing for the Southern Power in the AFL Sydney competition and has set multiple draft combine records.
The team will be bolstered by experienced recruits including Lisa Steane and Rebecca Privitelli (both GWS), Aliesha Newman (Collingwood), Brooke Lochland (Western Bulldogs) and Maddy Collier (West Coast).
Steane was born and bred in NSW, growing up in Nelson Bay before moving to Sydney to pursue AFLW. She’s a tough midfielder with three seasons at the elite level under her belt.
Privitelli brings five seasons of experience at both GWS and Carlton, where she has played a combined total of 28 games. The key forward’s decision to join Sydney was largely influenced by her desire to learn and grow under coach Scott Gowans, who she had trained with previously at Carlton.
Newman is a proud Indigenous woman of Ningy Ningy decent. She brings strong leadership and seven seasons of experience with her. Gowans was impressed with her explosive run and ability to kick goals.
Lochland is a premiership player and former vice-captain of the Western Bulldogs and holds the record for the most goals kicked in an AFLW game. The forward, who grew up in Melbourne, has six seasons of experience at the elite level.
Collier, who has played 15 games with GWS and 19 with West Coast, has run out in the red and white previously. A Sydney local and former UNSW player, she represented the Swans in an exhibition match against the Giants at the SCG in 2016.
Other recruits to date include NSW athletes Brenna Tarrant (Melbourne Demons), Ella Heads (Inner West Magpies), Zoe Hurrell (North Shore Bombers) and Sarah Ford (Essendon), along with Jaide Anthony (Dandenong Stingrays), Sarah Dargan (Richmond), Molly Eastman (North Melbourne), Lexi Hamilton (North Melbourne), Bridie Kennedy (Carlton), Ally Morphett (GWS), Sarah Skinner (North Melbourne), Paige Sheppard (Geelong), Bella Smith (Collingwood), Lauren Szigeti (Hawthorn), Eliza Vale (Western Bulldogs) and Aimee Whelan (Hawthorn).
The AFLW draft is due to be held on June 29. It’s a state-based draft and Sydney holds the first pick. The Swans will use five selections in the draft to round out the team.
A number of the Swans recruits are set to study at UNSW as part of the Elite Athlete Program and the formal partnership between the two Sydney institutions.