The Western Bulldogs capped Gabrielle Newton’s decorated junior football career by selecting the Northern Knights premiership captain with the top pick in the recent NAB AFL Women’s Draft.
In addition to leading the Knights to glory earlier in 2019, 18-year-old Newton is a back-to-back best-and-fairest winner at Northern and a two-time NAB League Girls Team of the Year member. She has also been named in the AFLW Under-18 All Australian Team across the last two years following standout performances for Vic Metro at the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships.
At 175cm, the Montmorency (Northern FNL) product has the versatility to play in all areas of the ground and in a range of roles, with her mobility and clean skills making her difficult to contain in contested situations.
Newton averaged 19 disposals and 4.5 tackles per game in 10 matches for the Knights this season, topping the team for total disposals and successfully leading a group hungry to redeem themselves for a close loss in last year’s NAB League Girls Grand Final.
She later graduated to play two Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s games for Carlton, reinforcing her status as one of the leading under-18 draft prospects in Australia.
“I can’t believe this day has finally come and I’m so honoured to be at the Dogs,” Newton said after being selected at the AFLW Draft.
“I had (new Western Bulldogs AFLW senior coach Nathan Burke) as my coach at Vic Metro (this year), so having him there has made me feel that much more comfortable.
“Two of my best friends in Nell Morris-Dalton (ex-Northern Knights) and Izzy Grant (ex-Western Jets) are both there too. I just can’t believe it and I’m so excited.”
Newton played at Yarrambat (Northern FNL) during her early junior career before taking some time away from football across 2015 and 2016, when she was able to reach state under-age level in basketball.
That break helped her realise how much she loved football, making her “much more passionate to get back” to the game.
Since joining Northern for the inaugural NAB League Girls season as an under-16 player in 2017, Newton’s passion has driven her straight to the heights of the AFLW.
“While presenting Gabby with her Western Bulldogs jumper on-stage at the AFLW Draft, Nathan Burke perfectly captured the Gabby Newton we’ve observed across the last three years,” former Northern Knights Female Talent Coordinator Zoe Slatter said.
“Gabby has a genuine love for the game and her teammates, with the ability to bring others into the game.
“Her versatility across the ground and her ongoing commitment to her leadership will ensure she makes an immediate impact at AFLW level.”