More Swan Districts Stars Enter AFLW

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - 4:32 PM

SWAN Districts' successful Mundella WA Women's Football League season has been rewarded with the drafting of Stephanie Cain, Emily McGuire and Alicia Janz for the second AFL Women's season in 2018.

On top of Cain, McGuire and Janz all being selected by Fremantle in the AFLW Draft, another Swan Districts player Tayla McAuliffe joined them at the Dockers in 2018 after being taken in the Rookie Draft.

As well as the four 2017 Swan Districts players earning a spot in AFLW for 2018, former Swans pair Ash Brazill and Rheanne Lugg were selected to join Collingwood and Adelaide respectively.

It caps off a tremendously successful 2017 for the Swan Districts women's football program.

On the back of Swans players playing a featured role in the inaugural AFLW season, all three Swan Districts teams then won premierships in the WAWFL when the league, reserves and Youth Girls all triumphed.

Then in the AFLW Draft ahead of the 2017 season, Swan Districts' league fairest and best winner Stephanie Cain got the ball rolling selected with the No. 2 pick by Fremantle.

Young star Emily McGuire was then also selected by Fremantle at No. 33 before exciting ruckman and grand final best on ground Alicia Janz returning to the Dockers after being picked up with selection No. 40.

Tayla McAuliffe was also selected by Fremantle in the Rookie Draft and she has immediately been added to the primary list due to the injury to Kirby Bentley.

Brazill was picked up by the Magpies with selection 24. She has decided to give football with Collingwood a go having had great success in netball.

She was captain at the West Coast Fever before the ANZ Championship wrapped up before joining Collingwood in the new Suncorp Super Netball competition in 2017. 

She had played at Swan Districts in 2016 while still playing netball at the top level, and now will be focusing on AFLW in 2018 at Collingwood.

Lugg, meanwhile, was taken at pick 41 by the Crows. She won the fairest and best at Swan Districts in a 130-game career in black-and-white before spending 2017 in the Army. She was posted to South Australia for 2018 and subsequently drafted to Adelaide.

Cain did play previously for Fremantle but wasn’t picked up for the inaugural AFLW season in 2017.

She used that as strong motivation for the year she had in 2017 and for the 21-year-old to end up the Swan Districts fairest and best winner, a premiership player and now drafted by the Dockers into the AFLW shows all her hard work has been worthwhile.

"I've been working all season back at the club to be in this position so for all the hard work to pay off and to be back on Fremantle's list for next season is very exciting," Cain said.

"It was obviously disappointing at the time and it's not what you want as a player but there were things I needed to work on. I went away in the off-season and completed those goals and worked towards what I needed to do to become a better player and it obviously paid off."

Cain made sure she fed off the experience and support of current Fremantle teammates Kara Donnellan and Ebony Antonio as much as she could right throughout 2017 as well.

"Talking to the Swans players like Juddy and Ebs who are Freo-listed players, they helped me a lot through the off-season," Cain said.

"I had conversations with them and they would always check in with me throughout the season to see how I was going which was fantastic."

McGuire is now a two-time premiership player in the WAWFL with Swan Districts while also having played for the Western Australian State 18s team the past two years.

The exciting 18-year-old forward is someone that Fremantle is delighted to get on board after they wished they could have in 2017 according to AFLW manager Wade Spilcker.

"Emily missed the draft last year by only 12 days, being too young to be eligible. She’s a forward who can play either in a key position role or as a high half-forward with the potential to push up into the midfield," Spilcker said.

"She’s played in the past two WAWFL premierships for Swan Districts and also represented WA in the State U18s. She’s a highly skilled forward, can take a mark, works hard and has the capacity to be a long-term player for the club in the forward line."

Janz was taken at pick 40 and the former West Coast Fever ANZ Championship netballer has continued to go from strength to strength playing football.

She was a top-up player last year with the Dockers and played three AFLW games before going on to be a star this WAWFL season with Swan Districts ending up named best on ground in the grand final triumph.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to retain Alicia on our list despite her showing some great signs in those three games," Spilcker said.

"Alicia had a terrific WAWFL Grand Final where she went head to head with Jodie White, playing in the ruck for Swan Districts. 

"Alicia is somebody who provides strength around the contest and clears a path for her on-ballers. She’s a really strong tackler and her physical presence will help our midfielders."

There was further good news for Swan Districts in the Rookie Draft with Fremantle selecting McAuliffe who was immediately promoted to the Dockers' primary list.

McAuliffe is capable of playing in the ruck and as a key forward, and freely admits to loving the physicality of the game and making her presence felt.

"I go and get that ball. I want the ball. I will tackle you for the ball. That is the main objective and that is how I work. Anytime I am out of position I find the ball and if we don't have it, I will go and fetch it," McAuliffe said.

"I went to high school playing baseball and then I went to athletics but it didn’t quite give me that happiness that I was looking for in a sport. 

"It is probably the constant involvement in the game with football that is why I chose it. I want to be constantly involved and footy gives you that. You have to be switched on the whole time and I like that."

By Chris Pike.