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VFLW: Drennan to Kangaroos “hurts”

Southern Saints coach Peta Searle said her side will feel the sting of losing their star midfielder. - St Kilda Saints,AFLW
Southern Saints coach Peta Searle said her side will feel the sting of losing their star midfielder.

Star Southern Saints midfielder Ali Drennan has signed with the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos.

The Kangaroos approached the in-form Drennan mid-way through the VFLW season and just a few games later, the contract was inked.

“it seemed like a good fit for me, because I’ve got the chance to be with a new team and help create a standard of success,” Drennan said.

“The coaches and staff have a family-like culture, which is was what I also loved about the Saints this year.”

READ: Drennan drives Southern Saints

In just her second season of football, Drennan established herself as an impactful on-baller.

“Playing under the coaches we had this year really helped me to understand the game better,” she said.

“I think I’ve been able to transfer the skills – the decision-making has come naturally for me … what didn’t come naturally was the kicking, but we’re getting there.”

Drennan won the Southern Saints’ inaugural Best and Fairest tied with ruck Rhiannon Watt, whilst also making the VFLW Team of the Year.

READ: Duo makes Team of the Year

Turning her attention to the upcoming AFLW season, Drennan is looking forward to playing alongside a “bunch of Lauren Arnells”.

“I’m really excited for the pace of the game, I enjoy playing fast and I think it will suit me,” Drennan said.

“Getting to play more games is a bonus. I love the game and the learning is going to be great.”

Southern Saints coach Peta Searle has been key in the development of the young star, often seen putting in extra one-on-one training sessions to assist Drennan with her kicking and stoppage work.

 

But the AFLW Competition Committee member and advocate for women’s football said the Saints will feel the sting of the loss.

“It will hurt, not just in terms of her football, but in terms of her personality and what she does for the group,” she said.

“Her time in the States competing in both college basketball and athletics has given her the right mental and physical capabilities to flourish at the next level.”

READ: Watt, Drennan draw B&F

But Searle expects Drennan won’t be the only Southern Saint to be sniped by a rival club ahead of the upcoming AFLW season.

“There are too many to name,” she said.

“A lot of them have grown and caught the eyes of recruiters at different stages of the year.”

It’s not all negative though, as Searle is eager to see how her girls will grow with AFLW experience playing at a higher level.

Meanwhile, her focus remains firmly at St Kilda as she strives to build a culture where players want to play for the Saints.

“We have been focussing on building from the bottom up throughout local and TAC programs,” she confirmed.

“We need quality people who will enhance what we have already started to develop.”

The Southern Saints are on the hunt for talented footballers to join for the 2019 season. To register your interest in attending the Talent ID Day (to be held on Sunday 28 October), please click here.