Newton tops class of 2019

Published on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Gabby Newton was selected with pick No.1 in the 2019 AFLW Draft, headlining a long list of NFNL talent who were selected ahead of the 2020 AFLW season.

Newton, who played junior football with Montmorency and Yarrambat, was snapped up by the Western Bulldogs with the first selection in today’s draft. She was one of 11 players to have played in the NFNL to find their way onto an AFLW list.

Also selected were Elisabeth Georgostathis, Rosie Dillon, Annalyse Lister, Sarah Wright, Gemma Wright, Sarah Sansonetti, Britney Gutknecht, Gabrielle Colvin, Ciara Fitzgerald and Rebecca Privitelli.

A star utility, Newton had been considered the likely first choice after a 2019 season that saw her captain the Northern Knights to the NAB League Girls premiership and earn selection in the All Australian team after a dominant AFLW National Championships for Vic Metro.

Speaking on stage after being announced as the No.1 pick, Newton said she was excited to have been selected.

“The whole lead up to the draft has been crazy. I had no idea what was going to happen and to hear my name was surreal. I’m so excited,” Newton said.

Western Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke said Newton’s versatility and ability to make teammates better were key features of her game.

“One of here talents is she can play anywhere on the field. She will fit into our group perfectly. She’s a wonderful person and we’re glad to have her,” Burke said.

“Gabby has the ability to make the other players in the team better. A lot of players can get a lot of the footy and are good players, but they don’t necessarily make other players better.

“Gabby is one of the best handballers, male or female, that I’ve seen play the game and the way that she brings teammates into the game is a special talent.”

Newton will be joined at Whitten Oval by fellow NFNL draftees Elisabeth Georgostathis and Britney Gutknecht.

Georgostathis, who was selected at pick No. 9, won the VU Western Spurs Division 1 best and fairest last year despite being just 16 years of age throughout the 2018 season.

She captained the Western Jets this year and was selected in the NAB League Team of the Year, while also representing Vic Metro and the Western Bulldogs VFLW side.

Gutknecht was one of the steals of the draft, with the Bulldogs selecting her with pick No. 48 after a standout season with the Northern Knights, where she averaged 17 disposals and five tackles a game.

She played junior and senior football with Laurimar in recent years and also played for Vic Metro and Carlton’s VFLW team in 2019.

Sister act Sarah and Gemma Wright were selected in the space of three picks, with Sarah heading to North Melbourne with pick No. 32 and Gemma to Geelong with pick No. 34.

The twins dominated the NFNL Division 1 Women’s competition in 2018 to help steer Keilor into the grand final in the club’s sole year in the league.

Sarah claimed the Division 1 Women’s best and fairest, as well as the Coaches MVP, with Gemma runner-up in both awards. Both also featured in the NFNL’s inaugural representative women’s football side.

They starred for Carlton’s VFLW team this year, with Gemma winning the best and fairest ahead of Sarah.

Former NFNL under-15 and under-16 representative player Ciara Fitzgerald will head to Richmond after being selected by the Tigers with pick No. 87.

Fitzgerald spent her junior football years with West Preston-Lakeside, before crossing to Darebin and spending the past three seasons with the Northern Knights.

The reliable defender played an integral part in the Knights’ NAB League premiership in 2019, playing every game throughout the club’s undefeated campaign.

Darebin duo Annalyse Lister and Gabrielle Colvin were also drafted, with Lister selected by GWS Giants at pick No. 29, while Melbourne used pick No. 77 to select Colvin.

Both have played matches with Darebin’s Division 1 side in the NFNL, although neither made an appearance in 2019 after spending the entire season with the Falcons’ VFLW team.

Sarah Santonetti was picked by Richmond at No. 40 after playing for the Northern Knights and Vic Metro in 2019. She also played five VFLW games for Darebin.

Sansonetti played her under-13 and under-14 seasons with Bundoora Park and becomes the first player from the club to make it on to an AFL list.

Rebecca Privitelli was redrafted by GWS after sitting out the 2019 AFLW season. Privitelli spent the 2018 season with the Giants, after playing for Carlton in the inaugural AFLW season. She formerly played junior representative football for the NFNL back in 2011.

Meanwhile, Rosie Dillon was picked by St Kilda at selection No. 24. Dillon has spent the past two seasons with Hawthorn in the VFLW competition but competed for Whitehorse in the inaugural NFNL Women’s season in 2017.

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