The gift of the Gab

Northern Knights under-18 women’s coach Marcus Abney-Hasting gave an insight into the composed nature of star junior and pick No.1 in last year’s Draft, Gabby Newton. Alongside Carlton’s Grace Egan, Newton was the round four nomination for the 2020 AFLW Rising Star award. 

She’s last year’s number one AFLW draft pick and this week’s AFLW Rising Star nominee.

First-year Bulldog Gabby Newton seems primed to succeed at the top level, and Northern Knights under-18 women’s coach Marcus Abney-Hasting, who Newton played under in 2018 and 2019, says she’s a natural born leader.

“She makes other people better around her,” Abney-Hasting explained.

“That’s not just with her leadership, but also the way she plays football.

“She’s a fantastic role model. Her character and her warmth really bring people together.”

The former Knights captain’s ability to make her teammates better is also well-evidenced by her skillset, headlined by handballing and tackling.

Bulldogs AFLW coach Nathan Burke dubbed her the best exponent of the handball he’d ever seen, while the former state basketballer has also laid an impressive 28 tackles from just four AFLW games.

“That’s another reason why she brings people into the game,” Abney-Hasting said.

“She works hard at her game, there’s no doubt about that.

“But I think naturally, again, her being able to bring others into the game is her real strength.

“She’s worked at it, but it’s something that’s come pretty naturally to her.”

Also a former school captain, don’t expect the down-to-earth Newton to be fazed by the inherent pressure of being a number one pick.

“She’ll cope with it fine,” Abney Hasting said.

“The Gabby that I knew three years ago to the Gabby I know now has not changed, she’s still down to earth.

“She’s very calm and very measured, hence why she’s been captain of her school at Greensborough College and also captain at the Knights last year, so she’ll just take it in her stride.”


Round 1 – Georgia Patrikios (St Kilda) / Lucy McEvoy (Carlton)

Round 2 – Roxanne Roux (Fremantle) / Jesse Wardlaw (Brisbane)

Round 3 – Caitlin Greiser (St Kilda) / Kalinda Howarth (Gold Coast)

Round 4 – Gabby Newton (Western Bulldogs) / Grace Egan (Carlton)