Power move: SA skipper excited for draft possibilities

THE INTRODUCTION of Port Adelaide to the NAB AFLW competition has had an immediate effect for young South Australians coming through the ranks.

Such has been the strength of Adelaide's squad and its want to retain its players, the South Australian pool in the state-based draft has only had six selections across the past two years.

It means South Australian under-18 captain Keeley Kustermann is a little more relaxed about her NAB AFLW Draft prospects than she would have been last year.

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"I feel like it just gives an opportunity for more girls to get to that AFLW level," Kustermann told womens.afl.

"Last year, we only had Crows who had like three picks, and girls who had the chance to be at that level missed out. But having Port, it gives that many more opportunities for girls in SA to be at that level.

"It's definitely different this year having Port, there are different options, you don't know what's going to happen until the night. But I'm definitely nervous, we'll just have to wait and see."

Keeley Kusterman, Lana Schwerdt and Sarah Goodwin during the South Australia 2022 AFLW Draft Combine on June 2, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

A silky half-back flanker from West Adelaide, Kustermann led an incredibly strong side at the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships, defeating Western Australia by 84 points, Vic Country by 86 and Vic Metro by three.

"We had a great bunch of girls, there were three years between us all and we just gelled so well, they were such an easy group to lead, they all led alongside me," she said.

"The skill, it was amazing to be a part of. It was both the skill on the field and the level of intensity at training that stood out to me as well, it was great to be with that group of girls."

Kustermann is a member of the NAB AFLW Academy, and enjoyed her time among the best in the country.

South Australia's Keeley Kustermann and Victoria's Kalani Scoullar during the 2022 AFLW Under-18 Girls Championships at Adelaide Oval on April 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"That was amazing, getting to meet new girls across the country, girls who might get drafted, that I might play with or against, that was pretty cool. The opportunities we got, we trained at a few AFLW clubs. It was the next level up from training at state, training together as a group," she said.

"I learnt about the importance of the food you put in your body throughout the week and what you're doing outside of training, extra recovery or running.

"We had Daisy Pearce as one of our coaches, and getting to talk to her about what she does off-field was really cool, even about her job (in the media)."

Victoria's Bianca Lyne and South Australia's Keeley Kustermann compete for the ball during the 2022 AFLW Under-18 Girls Championships at Adelaide Oval on April 16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The youngest of four children, ranging from 26 years to 18, the tight-knit Kustermann family are heavily into sport, with Keeley following older sisters Teagan and Saraid into netball and athletics.

Having started footy in the under-8s at Mitchell Park (her father's childhood club), Kustermann made an under-13s state netball side, and also made the state team for her exploits in the 800m. She's since brought Saraid across to footy at West Adelaide.

"The 800m is a good balance between endurance and sprinting, you work hard. I stopped netball a few years ago, because football took over, but I've been doing athletics in the background," Kustermann said.

"This year is the first I haven't competed, just training. I feel like footy is what I've chosen to do, I enjoy it. Sometimes I do miss it, but I'm definitely happy with footy."