The GIANTS have welcomed eight new players to the club at the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s Draft at Marvel Stadium on Tuesday.
The GIANTS’ first pick was 18-year-old midfielder Alyce Parker from the small town of Holbrook in the Riverina.
Considered one of the best players in her age group, the GIANTS selected Parker - a two-time Under 18 All Australian and 2018 All Australian captain – with pick 12.
Parker will now play alongside her NSW/ACT under 18s coach Alicia Eva and her assistant Nicola Barr.
The left-footer is one of four players drafted from New South Wales, with three South Australians and a Torres Strait Islander completing the GIANTS’ 30-player list ahead of the 2019 AFLW season.
UNSW-ES’ Ingrid Nielsen (pick 58) adds depth to the GIANTS’ ruck stocks and will offer a tall target up forward, having kicked 10 goals in 17 games during the Bulldogs’ successful 2018 AFL Sydney season.
Renee Tomkins (pick 63) and Haneen Zrieka (pick 66) have been re-drafted by the club. Tomkins was part of the GIANTS’ inaugural AFLW squad and played 11 games across two seasons, while Zrieka spent the 2018 season on the club’s rookie list before impressing at club level in the AFL Sydney competition.
South Australian trio Brittany Perry, Lisa Whiteley and Ebony O’Dea joined the club with picks 43, 52 and 68 respectively.
Whiteley and O’Dea will bolster the GIANTS’ defence, while former cricketer Perry adds pace to the midfield and has the ability to hit the scoreboard as a forward.
With pick 65, exciting forward Delma Gisu becomes the first Torres Strait Islander woman to be drafted by the club.
The 21-year-old, who plays her football for Wilston Grange in Queensland, comes from Mer Island – just north of the Great Barrier Reef – which boasts a population of 485 people and is just 4.29km2.
GIANTS AFLW head coach Alan McConnell welcomed the draftees and said the club was pleased with the additions.
“We feel as if we’ve strengthened all areas; midfield, forward, defence and ruck,” he said.
“We’ve added some top-end talent to our midfield with Alyce Parker from the Riverina coming in. Alyce is young, but was under 18 All Australian captain this year and will bring a great deal of run and elite disposal to our midfield, we’re very excited to have her join the club.
“I’m also excited about Brittany Perry from North Adelaide. She has great speed, elite disposal by hand and foot in the midfield, and creates headaches for defenders when she plays forward.
“Fellow South Australian Lisa Whiteley will add some contested marking strength to our backline and UNSW-ES ruck Ingrid Nielsen is a fantastic tap-ruck who will provide great service to our midfield.
“Delma Gisu adds some excitement to our forward line with her pace and unpredictability, while Ebony O’Dea brings tough tackling and intercept marking to our backline.
“We also welcome back Haneen Zrieka and Renee Tomkins who return to our list after strong performances for their club in the local Sydney competition.”
The GIANTS received an additional selection at the 2018 NAB AFLW Draft after Canberra midfielder Britt Tully announced she was stepping away from the game for 12 months due to personal reasons.
Tully played 14 games for the GIANTS after making her debut in round 1, 2017, finishing third in the 2017 Gabrielle Trainor Medal and winning the Coaches Award in 2018. The club will continue to support Tully.
2018 NAB AFL Draftees
Pick 12: Alyce Parker
From: Thurgoona Bulldogs (North Eastern Border Female Football League)
From the town of Holbrook in Southern NSW, Alyce Parker is an exciting midfielder who plays her football with the Thurgoona Bulldogs in the AFLNEB Female Football League. The 18-year-old – considered one of the best midfielders for her age – is a two-time U18 NAB AFLW All Australian, having been named in the midfield in both 2017 and 2018, while her performances for NSW/ACT and the Eastern Allies during this year’s championships saw her named All Australian captain. Parker also impressed for the Southern GIANTS in the 2018 Women’s Winter Series, with her strong marking and ability to win both contested and uncontested possession a highlight. Parker’s impressive 2018 campaign also saw her win the 2018 AFLNEB Female Football League Grand Final with Thurgoona.
Pick 43: Brittany Perry
From: North Adelaide (SANFLW)
Also a promising cricketer, having played for South Australia and being part of the Adelaide Strikers WBBL squad, Brittany Perry is a talented midfielder from SANFLW side North Adelaide. Equipped with speed and quick off the turn, Perry often hits the scoreboard playing as a forward. The 24-year-old, originally from the South Australian country town of Gawler, averaged 17 disposals for North Adelaide in the 2018 SANFLW season and was named in the 2018 SANFLW team of the year.
Pick 52: Lisa Whiteley
From: South Adelaide (SANFLW)
Part of the South Adelaide side that won the 2018 SANFLW Grand Final, Lisa Whiteley is a 25-year-old originally from Morphettville. Named alongside GIANT Courtney Gum as one of South Adelaide’s best players in the Grand Final, Whiteley is a tough and physical footballer with an accurate kick. Formerly a state netball representative, Whiteley stands at 171cm and can play as both a key forward and a key defender, having kicked 17 goals in 13 games for SAWFL side Morphettville Park in 2018.
Pick 58: Ingrid Nielsen
From: UNSW-ES Bulldogs (AFL Sydney)
A ruck from 2018 AFL Sydney Premiers UNSW-ES Bulldogs, Ingrid Nielsen boasts a booming kick. The experienced footballer impressed for the Northern GIANTS during the Women’s Winter Series, with Nielsen surprising many with her endurance running. While primarily a tap-ruck, the former Tasmanian kicked 10 goals in 17 games for UNSW-ES, showing she can also fill a role in the GIANTS’ forward line.
Pick 63: Renee Tomkins
From: Penrith-Auburn GIANTS (AFL Sydney)/ GIANTS
A familiar face to GIANTS fans, defender Renee Tomkins was a member of the inaugural GIANTS AFLW squad in 2017, having made the switch from soccer to AFLW. The 32-year-old played 11 games across two seasons at the GIANTS before being delisted at the end of 2018. An impressive 2018 AFL Sydney season for the Auburn-Penrith GIANTS and the Northern GIANTS in the Women’s Winter Series has seen Tomkins re-drafted. While primarily a key defender, Tomkins is versatile, having played both in the ruck and forward at club level.
Pick 65: Delma Gisu
From: Wilston Grange (QWAFL)
The first Torres-Strait Islander woman to be drafted onto the GIANTS’ list, Delma Gisu is an exciting forward from the tiny Mer Island (Also known as Murray Island). The 21-year-old started her football journey in Townsville before starring for Wilston Grange as they claimed the QWAFL premiership this year. A small and extremely quick forward, Gisu kicked 13 goals in 13 games for the Gorillas and impressed in a number of performances for the Gold Coast Suns during the 2018 Women’s Winter Series. Part of the Indigenous Woomeras team that toured New Zealand in 2015, Gisu was also named in the 2015 Under 18s All Australian side after a successful carnival playing for the Woomeras.
Pick 66: Haneen Zrieka
From: Penrith-Auburn GIANTS (AFL Sydney)/GIANTS
Another familiar face to GIANTS fans, western Sydney product Haneen Zrieka returns to the squad after being on the rookie list in 2018. A zippy midfielder who can also play off half-back, Zrieka was impressive throughout 2018 for the Auburn-Penrith GIANTS and would have jointly won the 2018 Mostyn Medal had it not have been for suspension earlier in the season. The 157cm pocket rocket comes from a rugby league background and previously represented the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs.
Pick 68: Ebony O’Dea
From: Norwood (SANFLW)
Known for her elite tackling and ability to win the inside ball, Ebony O’Dea is able to play both off the half-back line and as an inside midfielder. Standing at 167cm tall, O’Dea has been an integral part of Norwood’s side for the past two years, playing in their 2017 SANFLW premiership, while she was named amongst their best players in their 2018 SANFLW Grand Final loss to South Adelaide. O’Dea also played a key role as Adelaide University reached the SAWFL Grand Final. The 19-year-old is also a World Record holder in Unicycling for ‘Platform Long Jump’ and holds the Australian women’s records for ‘Platform High Jump’ and ‘Platform Long Jump’.
2019 GIANTS AFLW List
Jacinda Barclay, Nicola Barr, Rebecca Beeson, Elle Bennetts, Christina Bernardi, Yvonne Bonner, Ellie Brush, Maddy Collier, Jess Dal Pos, Taylah Davies, Alicia Eva, Amanda Farrugia, Delma Gisu, Courtney Gum, Tanya Hetherington, Jodie Hicks, Tait Mackrill, Erin McKinnon, Phoebe Monahan, Ingrid Nielsen, Ebony O’Dea, Alyce Parker, Brittany Perry, Pepa Randall, Aimee Schmidt, Cora Staunton, Louise Stephenson, Emma Swanson, Renee Tomkins, Lisa Whiteley, Haneen Zrieka