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2021 AFLW Draft Combine announced

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By SANFL Media

South Australia will have eight players participate in the AFL Women’s Draft Combine ahead of the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft, to be held on July 27.

The AFL today announced the names of the 2021 AFLW Draft Combine Invitees, with players to again attend state-based testing events.

Among the South Australian contingency is West Adelaide’s Vice Captain Abbie Ballard and rising star and ball magnate Zoe Venning. Ballard, who won West Adelaide’s Best & Fairest as a 17 year old in 2019, is primarily an inside midfielder with her left foot a deadly weapon between the arcs. Venning, an SA U19 representative, was a Powerade Breakthrough nominee in the SANFLW this season and selected at half-forward in SANFLW Team of the Year.

Abbie Ballard playing for West Adelaide.

Glenelg premiership player Brooke Tonon, selected in the half back line in the Team of the Year, also had a stellar season, with the young Tiger catching the eye of AFLW recruiters. From Mount Gambier in Glenelg’s country zone, Tonon has previously represented SA at under 16 level in 2018/19 and played in the AFLW U19 Championships this season. Previously playing as a winger/small forward, 2021 saw her develop into an elite rebound defender under Glenelg coach Jason Fairall. She was added the AFLW U18 Academy after her performances in the U19 national championships and form in SANFLW.

Norwood leading ruck Leah Cutting, who reached a 50 game milestone in the SANFLW this season, also could find a way onto an AFLW list at the age of 29 and five seasons with the Redlegs. A member of Norwood’s premiership side in the competition’s inaugural year, Cutting has been a pillar of strength leading her team inside the centre square.

South Adelaide has two young Panthers headed for the Combine – 18-year-old Gypsy Schirmer and 19-year-old Tahlita Buethke.

An AFLW U18 Academy member and SA U19 representative in 2021, Schirmer played mainly as a tall winger for South Adelaide this season and possesses excellent speed, earning her a position on the wing in the SANFLW Team of the Year. However, she is equally at home playing as a lead up forward.

Buethke had a consistent season with the Panthers, playing in the midfield and forward line. With her good running capacity and strength in the contested ball, Buethke was in impressive form for South Australia in the AFLW U19 Championships.

Sturt’s Zoe Prowse, also an AFLW U18 Academy member and SA U19s representative this year with an excellent ability to mark, worked more on her midfield craft with the Double Blues this year, even though she played as a ruck for the SA team.

Originally from Mildura, midfielder and small forward Lauren Breguet moved to the Barossa Valley in late 2019 and has played two seasons with Central District. Also a member of the SA U19 team, Breguet’s ability to win the contested ball is a feature of her game.

The AFLW Draft will take place at 6:15pm SA time on Tuesday, July 27. Further details of when the Draft Combine will be held are to be confirmed by the AFL shortly.

The SANFL players invited to participate in the Draft Combine are:

Abbie Ballard 16/04/2002 West Adelaide
Brooke Tonon 19/09/2003 Glenelg
Gypsy Schirmer 18/02/2003 South Adelaide
Lauren Breguet 5/11/2002 Central District
Leah Cutting 14/03/1992 Norwood
Tahlita Buethke 30/04/2002 South Adelaide
Zoe Prowse 30/07/2003 Sturt
Zoe Venning 4/11/2003 West Adelaide

 

Tahlita Buethke fires off a handball for South Adelaide.