By JARROD POTTER
BACK in the elite ranks after a short delisting, former Berwick WFC duo Ellie Blackburn and Katie Loynes will get their chance to run out in the AFL again.
Blackburn, 20, from Endeavour Hills, and Loynes, 29, were delisted by Melbourne and Western Bulldogs respectively ahead of this year’s AFL Women’s Draft, held Monday night.
With only six spots available to retain players from the previous season, Blackburn and Loynes just missed out, but the duo was part of the best 34 from a draft pool of 268 hopefuls.
Blackburn was taken again by Melbourne – after featuring for the Demons in both Women’s AFL matches since her debut in 2013 – this time at pick six after blitzing the 2014 Women’s AFL match.
Snaring 27 touches and in the Demons’ 46-point belting of the Bulldogs, Blackburn was the top possession-getter on the field and was considered dreadfully unlucky to be delisted by the Demons.
Loynes, who currently plays for Diamond Creek, was re-recruited as well as the Bulldogs selected the Creekers midfielder.
After a horror 18-months – sidelined with a severe knee injury – Loynes gets her chance to return to the AFL ranks as the Western Bulldogs’ ninth pick in the draft.
She didn’t play in 2014 but will return for the Doggies this season as the women’s competition expands to two matches this year.
Loynes and Blackburn will get a chance to feature in two AFL matches this season, with the first held at the MCG on Sunday 24 May and the second clash on 16 August at Etihad Stadium.
The Women’s AFL matches will serve as curtain-raisers before Melbourne/Western Bulldogs AFL fixtures.
Former Narre Warren midfielder Kara Donnellan was retained by the Demons and rounds out the three south-eastern footballers set to line up in the Women’s AFL clashes.