K rock Football

Craven keen to get started

TESS Craven experienced a range of emotions when she found out her AFLW journey would start with North Melbourne.

The Geelong Falcons best-and-fairest joined the Kangaroos with pick No.13 in Tuesday night’s AFLW draft.

“Screaming. And a little bit of crying – it was just insane,” Craven said moments after hearing her name read out by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan.

“(It’s also) elation, relief and happiness.”

Craven, who played her junior football at Drysdale, is looking forward to learning from one of the AFLW’s most talented midfield, which features the likes of Emma Kearney and Jasmine Garner.

“It’s going to be such a pleasure,” she said. “Jazzy Garner, Emma Kearney, I’ve looked up to those girls since forever.

“So, the fact I’ll be part of the same team is hard to wrap my head around at the moment.

“I feel incredibly, incredibly grateful.”

Craven is continuing rehabilitation from a foot issue suffered late in the NAB League Girls season but says it won’t impact her start to pre-season.

“It will depend on their (North Melbourne’s) approach,” she said.

“I’m pretty sure it could be fairly conservative, but I will be able to start pre-season at the same time.

“My program could be altered a little bit.”

Craven was one of four Falcons to find an AFLW home.

The versatile Gabbi Featherston was the first to be drafted when taken with pick No.9 by Geelong, All-Australian defender Annie Lee joined Carlton with pick No.10, and winger Ingrid Houtsma went to Richmond with pick No.50.

Featherston, who played both up forward and in the ruck, was the Cats’ third selection of the night.

“We do like Gab’s versatility,” Cats AFLW boss Brett Johnson said. “She’s a very powerful athlete; super quick off the mark.

“At 169cms, she played in the ruck for the Falcons, so she’s got a big vertical jump.

“She’s going to play in all parts of the ground in time and is also a really penetrating kick.

“We really want to hit the scoreboard and get the ball inside 50, and she’s going to help us do that.”

The Blues used their first selection on Lee.

“Annie is such a classy, natural footballer, and we’re thrilled to have her at our football club for the 2021/22 season and beyond,” Carlton’s head of women’s football Brett Munro said.

“She uses the ball well out of defensive 50 and reads the play to intercept mark and spreads to provide counter-attack.

“She does a lot of things well, and we think joining our program will only add to that.

Lizzie Dowling and Poppy Schaap, who both considered chances to be drafted, failed to find a home.

Twitter: @tom_king79