VFLW list confirmed
Williamstown has officially locked in its final VFLW list for season 2021.
With the Seagulls set to take the field for premiership points for the first time in over 12 months this Sunday, the Club held its jumper presentation last Saturday for the VFLW squad and presented gurnseys to the players that will make up this year’s exciting list.
The 40-person squad consists of 15 returning players and 25 new faces.
VFLW Football Manager Claudia Davey said she is confident in the talent secured and was impressed by the players’ training standards over pre-season.
“Round 1 has been a long time coming and the team could not be more excited to hit the grass this weekend,” she said.
"We are well prepared to face Darebin following our practice match against them a few weeks ago and looking forward to seeing our newly signed talent in action."
Click HERE to view this season's player profiles.
What head coach Penny Cula-Reid had to say about our new recruits:
Aleisha Casley, Aimee Whelan
“The search in the west has seen an influx of players, Whelan and Casley both members of the VU Western Spurs NFNL Division 1 premiership team in 2019. Whelan is an inside mid that has seamlessly integrated into the program, she brings a toughness around the contest and I don’t think she really knows how good she can be.
Casley ‘Squints’ made an impression straight away with her voice and connection to the group in our first practice match against Darebin where she kicked the first goal, her ability to know where the goals are and communicating with the forward line saw her with a contract after the game.
Both players bring energy, experience and a winning mindset all of which is needed to be successful at this level.”
Danika Di Santo
“Danika and I have crossed paths a couple of times throughout her footballing journey, when she takes on feedback she is able to implement it straight away. At the ripe age of 18 and just graduated from high school, Danika is at the start of her state league career. Previously on Oakleigh Chargers’ Under-18 list, she has made the decision to put her football first and really give it a red hot crack.
Danika has a competitiveness that brings the whole team’s physicality up a level, similar to the already-signed Ruby Tripodi. With the dynamic duo working closely together the future of our VFLW program is looking bright.”
“I first met Chelsea at a local training session with Caulfield Grammarians a couple of years ago, where I have built a strong mentor relationship with their senior coach Mitch. Chelsea has been working extremely hard to push herself to reach VFLW level. It must go without saying that her persistence and dedication has earnt her a spot on our list for 2021.
The in and under, bottom of the pack style player, I know that she will continue to grow and develop as a strong footballer and take all her learnings with her back to her local club. We are thrilled we get to share this journey with Chelsea.”
Sofi Georgas, Thalia Wright
Local girls from Spotswood who have been through the Western Jets pathway program now have their opportunity to be involved and invested in Williamstown. As we continue to build strong connections to the local western region teams we find ourself with two very talented players.
Georgas hunger for the goals has been clear from the set out with her trusty left foot she brings a new dynamic to our forward line group. Wright however is another strong competitor who has shown her true colours as a small defender. Both have shown how important the pathways are with investing in the young talent in the west.
“For some, the 2020 season brought new challenges, and one of them was the confidence to put yourself out there and see what happens. Lana has not played a lot of high-level football, however since she joined our program we have seen huge improvements. The tall defender hates being beaten and she showed us her ability to adapt and learn new roles. We have been impressed with Lana’s focus and motivation to get something out of every single session this pre-season.”
“This is a name to watch out for in the coming season - very draftable player coming through the system. This nimble outside runner will compliment our inside grunt. Zoe’s ability to closed down an opponent is what caught my eye in our intra-club match recently. Zoe is so passionate about her football, her willingness to learn and grow is a testament to her dedication and discipline to be the best she can. We are working hard behind the scenes to see this young footballer succeed.”
“You can never have too many talls in your program. Malaya’s football career has only just started, and using her basketball background we have been able to see the potential for her at state level football. We believe with time, hard work and shaping this basketballer into a footballer we will see her become a real asset to the program in years to come. Learning from Club legend Kim Kershaw and building her understanding of the ruck position can only benefit Malaya not just in football but also her elite basketball career. This young star will have to learn how to balance life, basketball, football, school and work but that’s what life is all about. We look forward to what Malaya can produce for us.”
“From the moment Tori came down to training, there was a fire in the eyes - she may be small in size but has the heart and strength of a Lion.
She continues to push herself and everyone around her to get the best out of the program. Tori’s high level soccer background has built a foundation of work ethic and mateship - two of the most important off-field behaviours you need to be competitive at this level. Having played in a couple of premierships at VU Western Spurs, Tori knows what it takes to be successful, building momentum from the get go with surrounding the group with like-minded people sharing a common goal.”
Claire Ryan, Amanda Maginn, Lisa Loughnane
“This Irish trio needs to come with an interpreter; when the three of them are together it can be hard to understand but when it comes to learning the game of football, they are the most tentative students! It’s evident that their Gaelic and Rugby background easily transfers into the basics of AFL.
Ryan’s work rate and high level sporting career leads the way with the standard of training we set ourselves, pushing this young group of footballers to another level. Loughnane brings a competitive side I have never seen before, again with the will and want to improve has risen our standards to even a high level. Maginn has been playing Aussie Rules for a little while now and has found the confidence to be challenged even more.
The three will bring some dash and pace and ‘out of left field’ antics to our program.”
I was stoked when I saw Allana’s application through our Virtual Talent Search. We had met previously a few months ago when she came to Melbourne for some coaching development with the AFL. Allana brings a wealth of knowledge across from Western Australia from both a playing and coaching aspect and we’re rapt to have her on board
When I spoke to Allana she was keen to still pull on the boots while continuing to dip her toe into the coaching world. Confident we could provide Allana with both of those opportunities, she will continue her coaching craft as the VFLW skills acquisition coach which will be run on a Monday night, before putting the whistle in the bag and bringing out the boots for the remainder of the week on the track.
Tayla Stewart, Abbey Bertram
“Not only did we look regional we also look far and wide as far as Echuca and Baccas Marsh. Stewart coming from Carlton VFLW training squad travels almost 3 hours each way for training which is a true reflection of the sacrifice she is willing to make in the name of football. Stewart is a shy character off the field but that does not translate to the football field. Stewart is a wild card and we have yet to solidify her position which makes her so exciting to watch, to see where she can add more strength to our list.
Bertram is another youngster who has followed her dreams of playing at the highest level having trialled with Williamstown in previous years only to have missed out but has come back with real determination to give it red hot crack and it’s paid off. Bertram is a developing player in our future of the club.
“From the moment Payton walked through those change rooms I knew we had another great character on our hands. Payton is one of those footballers that doesn’t need too much motivation, she always has a smile on her face and a bubbly personality that is infectious throughout the program. Payton is another youngster we have recognised through the pathway program at the Western Jets. She is a strong defender with silky movements across the ground. Building her understanding of the game and confidence to use her lethal left foot, I can only see Payton improving with every training session.”
“Bridget found her way to Williamstown through a connection with our CEO Jason Reddick. She came down to the first training session and hasn’t missed a beat. It was clear to me that Bridget has played high level competitive sport before with the way she was able to find space in our small-sided games. Bridget told me she felt a little rusty and wasn’t sure if she was good enough to play state league level, she wanted to be challenged and she found that at Williamstown. Bridget fits in perfectly with the values of the Club and can see her really wanting to improve her football, and that to me is the perfect player to coach.”
“Ella’s addition to the program was a surprise for both of us. I met Ella when I was coaching the Australian team in the Australian Football International World 9s Series. From conversations with Ella, she had never really considered herself playing down back but when I saw how she read the play and took the game on I knew I had to see if VFLW was for her. I invited her to come along with her counterpart Chelsea Fisher and she took to the level like a Seagull to a chip. Ella has a great build, strong presence and a booming kick. I’m excited to see how far she can develop in the Williamstown program.”
Elise Muller, Amy Starzer
“Starza and Muller are both late introductions into the program but nothing has really bothered them with building strong connections with the group. Starza is a 2019 EDFL Division 1 premiership player for Aberfeldie (alongside fellow draftee Amy Smith) and strengthens our ruck stock. Starza brings a different dynamic to the ruck coming from a basketball background, I have been impressed with her ability to step into our program and want to better herself as a footballer.
This seems to be a trend amongst the group including newly recruited Muller from West Brunswick. Muller impressed us in her first training session, she was not afraid to speak up and share her football knowledge to the group, she did not look out of place in match sim. The durable midfielder has shown she is keen to learn and grow her football at the state league level.”
“Olivia’s personality and charisma is infectious throughout the group, it seems like she has been a part of this program for years. She is continuing to develop a strong understanding of the game and build her fundamentals and we see Olivia being a long-term player for Williamstown in seasons to come.”
“Having had her application to play in the VFLW recently signed off by the AFL, Emily brings a wealth of knowledge to our program and communicates so well to the group. She brings a lot of enthusiasm to the training track and can really turn it up in match sim. She is keen to learn more and grow her coaching development alongside her ability to play the game at this level. Emily has a lethal kick and hunger for the football which we continue to see on the football field.”
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