By Matt Fotia
The AFL Outer East is proud to have another four representatives on AFLW lists after Laura McClelland, Serena Gibbs, Emma Horne and Tamara Luke were taken in the AFLW draft on Tuesday Afternoon.
McClelland was the first to find a home with new AFLW club Richmond taking the marking defender at Pick 25.
The Monbulk product and Eastern Ranges co-captain had a stellar season for Ranges dominating opposition attacks with her aerial ability and one on one strength too difficult for her opponents to counter.
McClelland also took part in the Under 18 championships as part of the Victorian Metro side and was named in the All Australian Under 18 Squad. She also featured for Hawthorn in the 2019 VFLW campaign.
Just eight selections later ex Olinda Ferny Creek A Grade Netball Premiership (Playing) Coach Tamara Luke was taken by St Kilda at pick 33.
Luke already has an impressive sporting CV with a storied netball career which ended at Olinda Ferny Creek, where she steered the Bloods to their 2015 and 2017 successes before trading in the netball for a sherrin.
The move has paid massive dividends with the tall utility, who has the ability to play at both ends of the ground and in the ruck, having tasted more premiership success with Hawthorn in 2018, before being voted in by her peers to captain the Hawks VFLW side in 2019.
Another netballer turned footballer in Serena Gibbs has also made a successful code switch after she was taken by last years AFLW runner up Carlton at pick 44.
Gibbs, who hails from Mount Evelyn (Football) and Warburton Millgrove (Netball), has no doubt enjoyed her first year playing football, learning the game quickly, having a strong year playing in both the Ruck and Centre Half Forward positions for the Eastern Ranges.
Such was Gibbs talent that she continued her footballing development after the Ranges Preliminary Final loss, going on to spend the VFLW season with McClelland and Luke at Hawthorn.
Gibbs will join last season’s draftees in Charlotte Wilson and Emmerson Woods on the Blues list.
Emma Horne was the final Outer East product to find her way onto a list, taken as pick 73 by Richmond.
The Monbulk and Emerald product has a keen eye for play, fulfilling a crucial role for Eastern Ranges on the both the wing and back flank throughout the season. Horne was selected in the Victorian Metro side, along with McClelland, plying her trade in defence.
She’ll be familiar playing in Yellow and Black, having spent the VFLW season at Punt Road.