Record awaits Rays

Mac Eardley will be one of nine hopeful for draft selection. Picture: JAZZ BENNETT MEDIA

The Dandenong Stingrays are hopeful that the 2022 AFLW Draft will be the club’s best haul yet.

With nine players invited to the Draft Combine, the Rays are hopeful to get all nine players through the doors of AFLW club’s.

The Rays already have one on AFLW books, with mature-age utility Jaide Anthony signing with expansion club Sydney in recent weeks.

Amber Clarke, Mac Eardley, Emily Shepherd, Taylah Gatt, Charley Ryan, Sarah Hosking, Charlotte Blair, Olivia Robinson and Felicity Crank are all a chance to be selected in the AFLW Draft on 29 June.

After a stellar season, Dandenong Stingrays coach Nick Cox believes this crop leaves behind a legacy of work-ethic and reveals he is most proud of their resilience.

“I think the legacy will simply be that they trained like footballers,” he said.

“They trained like footballers that wanted to improve, they were really perceptive to feedback and wanted to get better.

“The desire to want to win games of footy was something clearly evident.

“Probably (most proud of) the fact that we had a lot of hurdles throughout the year and they were able to jump them.

“The girls sometimes get the raw deal with facilities, availability of grounds and travel, all those things are never an issue (for them).

“The ‘anytime anywhere’ sort of mantra was something they did week-in, week-out

“I think it can show that our region is a real pathway through the NAB League to get where you want to as a footballer.”

Before announcing the key dates ahead of the draft and the 2022/23 season, Cox has praised the AFL for its commitment to rewarding the girls, and believes it will improve the standard of football.

“I think it’s great what the AFL has done with the changes,” he said.

“It gives a real pathway for the girls to concentrate on footy and become more professional in a full time environment.

“A little bit more money for them and working jobs, school, and that sort of stuff, they can just concentrate on their footy.”

If all nine Draft Combine invitees are selected, it would break the Stingrays current club record of nine draftees which came in 2011.