THE FIRST domino in the AFLW's Sign and Trade Period has fallen, with Collingwood star Chloe Molloy informing the club this week that she intends to take up an offer from Sydney.
It's understood Molloy was in Sydney on Tuesday to finalise her move to the Swans, having already told the Pies of her wishes to depart. It comes ahead of the player movement window officially opening next Wednesday.
The League had announced details regarding the upcoming Sign and Trade Period earlier this week, led by the news that all four of last season's expansion clubs would be given unprecedented power to poach players from existing sides.
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Under the rules, Sydney will be able to sign five players during the newly implemented 'priority signing period' without having to negotiate a trade and can also offer rival players longer-term contracts than is otherwise allowed next season.
Molloy, who has established herself as one of the competition's elite players throughout a glittering 47-game career with Collingwood, is subsequently set to be Sydney's first marquee signing following its disappointing 0-10 maiden campaign.
The Pies have long been bracing themselves for Molloy's eventual departure and remain confident they can still rebound next year, having made the semi-finals last season despite missing co-captain Bri Davey and important midfielder Britt Bonnici to ACL injuries.
"Whilst we're disappointed Chloe won't be a part of the continued growth of our program, we are confident in the depth and talent of our playing list to ensure continued improvement in the 2023 season and beyond," head of women's football Jess Burger said in a statement on Wednesday morning.
She continued: "Since being drafted to Collingwood, 'Moy' has been a valued member of our program.
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"Over the past five years, Chloe has been a great ambassador for our club and the wider AFLW competition and it's been great to watch her grow and develop as both a player and person over the course of that time.
"Not only has Chloe demonstrated outstanding talent on the field, but she has also made strong contributions off field including as an opposition analyst during her time on the sidelines with a Lisfranc injury in 2019.
"In this situation, we understand that she was interested in seeking an opportunity interstate in pursuit of a new lifestyle."
St Kilda is also targeting a pair of important Collingwood players, making inquiries over both Jaimee Lambert and Steph Chiocci, while Hawthorn has also been eyeing a deal for fellow midfielder Mikala Cann.
The AFLW's Sign and Trade Period rules dictate that Collingwood can only lose two players to expansion teams under 'priority signing period' rules, courtesy of the Pies having finished last season between fifth and eighth on the ladder.
The Pies may also be eligible to receive compensation as a result of losing Molloy to the Swans, with the League to determine whether clubs will have access to draft picks ahead of Season Nine (in 2024) depending on who they lose.
The 'priority signing period' for expansion clubs is due to begin Wednesday, March 1, while the Sign and Trade Period for the remaining 14 clubs will run from Friday, March 10 to Monday, March 20.