Newcastle City superstar Sarah Halvorsen is set to play in the 2020 AFL Womens season after being drafted by the GWS Giants this week. Image via Merrillie Redden.

Hunter AFL superstars Sarah Halvorsen and Lisa Steane have been drafted by the GWS Giants ahead of the upcoming 2020 AFL Women’s season.

The Giants held picks 4, 23, 29, 61, and 76, as well as a host of picks in the 90s, and chosen Halvorsen fourth with their 61st pick, and Steane second with their 23rd pick. Both drafted players have represented the Giants in the VFLW before.

Halvorsen has risen through the ranks of the AFL Hunter Central Coast Women’s premiership, first making her debut in the Black Diamond League in the region’s first women’s competition nearly half a decade ago.

Since then, she has earned multiple Hunter regional titles in the women’s premiership with Newcastle City, played for the Giants in the VFLW, has played in the Women’s Premier League, and won silver with Australian 7s squad in the 2015 Pacific Games.

“Coming out of the Black Diamond League, Sarah has a family history with the game with her father playing in the WAFL. She is very athletic medium-tall who can play either forward or back,” Giants head coach Alan McConnell said of the new recruit.

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He had similar praise of Nelson Bay alumni Steane, and dubbed the midfielder a speedy endurance player. McConnell also said he was impressed with how Steane had embedded herself in the Sydney scene over the past two or three years.

The Nelson Bay star first made the switch to the big city leagues in 2016, where she played alongside Giants captain Amanda Farrugia, and guided Macquarie University to an AFL Sydney Women’s premiership in 2019.

Steane was named best on ground in Macquarie’s grand final victory, and joined the Giants VFLW program in the same year. She also played alongside fellow Nelson Bay product Pippa Smyth, who last played with the Giants in the AFLW in 2017.

Lisa Steane was selected by the Giants as the 23rd pick in the 2019 AFL Womens draft.

Two Hunter stars joining the Giants’ 2020 roster is a point of pride for the team, McConnell said, and revealed the recruitment squad keeps eyes on the northern regions as well as the local Sydney competitions that make up the team’s main product pool.

“We’re excited that we’re able to pick more and more local products which has always been our plan,” he said.

“That’s exemplified by the number of local and regional players we’ve picked this year compared to previous years.”

Halvorsen and Steane enter into the AFLW as the national competition hits another expansion point. The Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda, and West Coast will make up the four expansion teams for 2020, bringing the national league to 14 teams.

The newly drafted pair will join Hunter-born forward Rebecca Beeson, who first debuted with the Giants in 2016. After a stint with Hawthorn, Beeson returned to the orange and black, where she was nominated for the 2018 Women’s Rising Star award.

The AFL Womens 2020 season is expected to begin in February next year, and will play out in a similar conference system to the 2019 competition. GWS will look to build on a third-place finish in Conference B, where they missed the finals.