Drafted Stanton ready to face giant AFL test

Big time: GWS Giants recruit Kate Stanton gets acquainted with the club's facilities in Sydney on Thursday. Picture: Ben Tranter

Big time: GWS Giants recruit Kate Stanton gets acquainted with the club's facilities in Sydney on Thursday. Picture: Ben Tranter

GOALKICKING ace Kate Stanton reckons the Women’s AFL draft was more nerve-racking than anything the HSC English exam could throw at her.

The day before the Year 12 tests began, Stanton was sitting in her lounge room, surrounded by friends and text books, waiting, hoping to hear her name read out.

Having only just turned 18, Stanton was a standout at the first ever women’s draft combine and had lengthy discussions with boom club Greater Western Sydney.

But still, the uncertainty lingered.

Stanton was sweating on every upcoming Giants selection, unsure if she had fit into their plans.

Then, at pick 33, Stanton’s supplied high school photo flashed up on the screen, confirming she would be part of the new AFL Women’s league, starting in February.

“I’m not the biggest fan of English, but the draft definitely made me more nervous,” she said.

“I’d spoken to them, so I knew they were my only chance to be picked, but you can never be sure.

“I was supposed to be studying when the draft started, but I also had friends over, so I actually missed the early picks.

“That helped, I didn’t have to wait too long after that.”

On Thursday, Stanton was given an introduction into the AFL world, travelling to club headquarters at Homebush to meet her teammates.

Among them is another former Wollongong Saints player, Maddy Collier, a defender chosen as a marquee priority pick before the draft.

Stanton has already made an impact on the national stage, announcing herself with a five goal haul in NSW-ACT’s victory over South Australia in the division final. 

She was also the leading goalkicker at the carnival.

“Kate was one of the real dominant players of the carnival,” NSW-ACT women’s high performance coach Tim Schmidt told the Mercury earlier this year. 

“Not just kicking goals herself, but her movement up the ground and passing off for teammates.”

It’s with perfect timing Stanton makes it into the AFL Women’s competition. After graduating high school she has already received early entry to University of Wollongong next year, with a view to one day becoming a pilot. She may also be forced to relinquish her support of Hawthorn after signing with the Giants.

“It’s a huge opportunity, to play in the first women’s league and I can’t wait to be part of training and build on my skills,” she said.

The league’s first bounce is in February, with the Giants facing Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Melbourne and AFL premiers Western Bulldogs.