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Top AFLW draft pick set to juggle school and footy as Bulldogs take a punt on teenager

Foundation club Western Bulldogs have snared three of the best six players in the AFLW draft in a move they hope will propel them back up the ladder.

Key points:

The Western Bulldogs had three picks in the top 10 and six in the first round of the AFLW draft
Kristie-Lee Weston-Turner will juggle her final year of school with playing for the Dogs next year
The Demons brought in a father-daughter pick, selecting Jemma Rigoni, whose dad Guy played 107 games

After finishing bottom this year, the Bulldogs selected Western Jets key forward Kristie-Lee Weston-Turner with the No.1 pick in the draft at Marvel Stadium on Monday night.

The Bulldogs went to the draft without a coach after sacking former St Kilda champion Nathan Burke last month following their one-win season.

Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn presented Weston-Turner with her first jumper.

The 18-year-old, who is determined to make her debut in round one next season, will be forced to combine her Year 12 studies with playing for the Bulldogs in 2024.

“It means the world to me and my family after growing up being a Bulldogs supporter,” Weston-Turner said.

“I think it’s just a matter of me communicating with the club and school on what days I need to be where and making sure I’m completing my course work.”

She missed nearly three months during 2023 after breaking her wrist at school, but returned late in the season to play a game with Vic Metro during the national championships.

Weston-Turner will have a familiar face high up at the club, with Bulldogs football boss Chris Grant coaching her at junior level.

“He (Grant) just told me he was proud of me and that they’re happy to have me at the club, it just means the world,” she added.

After West Coast picked GWV Rebels midfielder Jess Rentsch (No.2) and GWS selected Western Australian winger Kaitlyn Srhoj (No.3), the Bulldogs were up again.

Tasmanian midfielder Brooke Barwick missed the entire 2023 season after hurting her ACL but the Bulldogs had no hesitation in drafting her at pick four.

This year prospective AFLW players had the option of nominating nationally or just for their home state.

Srhoj, who will move to the Giants from Perth after never having been to Sydney before, believes the draft needs to eventually move away from the ability to have state-based nominations.

“If we’re going to be semi professional, we need to kind of just let it be national,” Srhoj said.

“But then again, there’s not enough support (at the moment) financially to move (anywhere) and it really differs with everyone.”

Versatile South Australian Elaine Grigg threw herself into the national pool and the Bulldogs pounced on her at pick six.

The Kenyan-born Grigg first loved basketball but stuck with football as she thrives on tackling and causing turnovers in the forward-half.

Melbourne, whose premiership defence ended with a straight-sets finals exit, had the fifth selection and chose Eastern Range small forward Alyssia Pisano.

The Demons also brought in a father-daughter pick, selecting Jemma Rigoni, whose dad Guy played 107 games between 1998 and 2005.

AAP

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Source: AFL NEWS ABC

    

Author: Russell White