The Sydney Swans have welcomed two new draftees following the 2023 AFLW Draft held at Marvel Stadium on Monday night.
At pick 16, the Sydney Swans selected Sarah Grunden from Calder Cannons Football Club.
The medium forward impressed in her debut season in the Coates Talent League, after moving across from the Western Jets.
Following a dominant start to the year, Grunden’s standout performance came in Round 11 which saw her finish with 17 disposals, five marks, four tackles and two goals.
Grunden’s form across the season earned her selection with Vic Metro playing in the AFLW 2023 Under 18 Girls Championships, before going on to play in the Under 23 All-Stars side.
The 18-year-old admits if not for her father starting a women's side with Keilor Football Club, her path may have turned out differently.
"I started playing footy when I was about 7 years old, playing Auskick with the boys, then played for the boys side with Keilor," said Grunden.
"Dad decided there needed to be a girls football team, so he started one and I got to play for them, then I got invited to play with the Cannons and it's just gone from there.
"To join such a fast moving club like the Sydney Swans is so exciting, I just can't wait to join the team and see where things go. The facility is amazing, the field, the outlook. I can't wait to reunite with Montana Ham, and meet Chloe Molloy the captain.
"I just want to become the best play I can with the resources I now have."
Senior AFLW coach Scott Gowans said Grunden would be a fantastic addition to the Swans forward line.
"Sarah is a half-forward that can use both sides of her body which was really important for us," said Gowans.
"I could see her developing and maybe move into the midfield, but she is definitely a half forward that is exciting. One of my big things is score assists and score involvements, and she definitely does a lot of that."
"We just liked the way she uses the ball, she has a beautiful kick and makes great decisions forward of the centre, and that's an area we feel we want double down in and be really good at."
State/Club: VIC – Calder Cannons
Position: Medium Forward
Joining Grunden in the red and white is Lara Hausegger, selected at pick 33 from the Oakleigh Chargers in the second round of the draft.
The medium defender arrives with three games of VFLW experience with Collingwood, as well as a premiership winning captain with the Oakliegh Chargers. The 18-year-old delivered arguably her best performance in the club’s 2023 Grand Final victory, finishing with six disposals, five marks, three tackles and two-inside-50s.
With also a background playing basketball, Hausagger admits it was a Bulldogs champion player that inspired her to switch codes.
"I've always looked up to Monique Conti, with her being a dual athlete, she has been a real inspiration for me."
"I started playing AFL with my twin brother, then our club got a girls side going and then eventually I joined the Chargers," said Hauseger.
"I can't wait to get stuck into playing with the Swans team and learn from the coaches. It's going to be a big year of development for me."
Gowans said he is looking forward to seeing Hausegger develop in the Swans backline.
"Lara is a running halfback that I think will bring some composure to the backline," said Gowans.
"She's very hard at the footy, but she also with ball in hand makes some good decisions. She's a real competitor, and a great tackler, and she reads the flight of the ball quite well."
State/club: VIC – Oakleigh Chargers
Position: Medium Defender
Since the conclusion of the 2023 season, Sydney have had several list changes, having added QBE Sydney Swans Academy product Holly Cooper through the Expansion U18 Talent Pathway pre-signing period and most recently recruited Kiara Hillier from the Brisbane Lions and Giselle Davies from the Gold Coast Suns during the AFLW Trade Period.
This news is brought to you by ELMO Software, the club's official list and recruiting partner.