St Kilda’s playing list has been given a fresh supply of premium young talent following the selections of Ella Friend and Ashleigh Richards at tonight’s NAB AFL Women’s Draft.
The talented pair were taken with pick No. 4 and pick No. 12 respectively (Victorian picks No. 2 and No. 8), with the Saints passing on its final selection at pick No. 36.
Friend, one of the youngest players in this year’s draft crop, is poised to deliver a sizeable impact to the Saints’ line-up in a variety of roles.
The 175cm left-footer can play as either an intercept defender, a third tall forward or a midfielder, with the former position likely to be her key post while in St Kilda colours.
A powerful contested mark and a smart decision-maker, Friend’s footy nous shows all the right signs of pairing well with the likes of defenders Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Hannah Priest and Jayde Van Dyk.
Friend joins fellow GWV recruit and Ballarat Grammar boarder Renee Saulitis at RSEA Park for the upcoming AFLW season.
Richards similarly holds all the right attributes to be a versatile option for the Saints up forward and through the midfield.
Originally a defender, the 17-year-old has since thrived in the attacking half of the ground through her toughness and ability to provide scoreboard damage.
Richards co-captained Dandenong Stingrays this season, but also plied her trade with Port Melbourne in the VFLW throughout 2021.
She will reunite with fellow Stingrays products Molly McDonald, Tyanna Smith, Isabella Shannon and Jess Matin at RSEA Park.
St Kilda has one place remaining on its list for the upcoming season after passing on pick No. 36, but has the option of selecting a free agent later this week.