Rookie latest: North gives axed Saint a footy lifeline

NORTH Melbourne has completed its 2023 AFLW list, adding former Saint Lucy Burke. 

Burke, a 179cm tall utility, was delisted by St Kilda late last year after two seasons on the list. In that time she played 12 games, supporting teammates across all lines including the ruck, forward line and most often in defence. 

She has since starred at VFLW level for the ladder-leading Southern Saints, kicking nine goals from 11 games. 

Burke fires it through in blistering Saints start

00:38 Oct 23. 2022. 1:17 PM

Lucy Burke kicks the first goal of the match in an instant following brilliant play from St Kilda

"We are excited to welcome Lucy to North Melbourne," North Melbourne AFLW list manager Flynn Loft said.  

"We believe she will be a great addition to our program, with her ability to play all over the ground as a defender, forward or ruck. Lucy is a terrific person, and we know she will make the most of the opportunity to further her development through our program." 

The place on North Melbourne's list opened up upon the retirement of inaugural Roo Danielle Hardiman, and Burke joins former Saints teammate Kate Shierlaw in landing at the club during the off season.

Gemma Bastiani


MELBOURNE has thrown a lifeline to delisted Richmond rookie Saraid Taylor.

The 24-year-old has been lining up as a key defender with the Tigers' VFLW affiliate Port Melbourne, having crossed from basketball to join Richmond for season seven.

Taylor will take the primary list spot of Sammie Johnson, who gave birth to son Luca in April.

The AFL's pregnancy policy allows for Johnson to return at her own rate, and she has not necessarily been ruled out for the whole season.

Rhiannon Watt (left) and Samantha Johnson in action at a Melbourne training session on November 24, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

For Taylor, that also means she may continue to be part of Melbourne's list when or if Johnson returns this year.

"We were thrilled to welcome Luca to the Melbourne family, and for both Sammie and Harley to become first-time parents," Melbourne list manager Todd Patterson said.

"In order to allow Sammie to recover with no pressures, the AFL Pregnancy Policy provides us with the opportunity to sign a replacement player for the entirety of the upcoming season.

"We’re pleased to be able to offer this to Saraid, while simultaneously supporting Sammie through her recovery journey, and with the opportunity to return to play when she is fit and able to this season.

"We see Saraid continuing to develop her game in defence, where her competitiveness, speed and athleticism provide a great platform to build around."

Brisbane (Kate Lutkins pregnancy), North Melbourne (Danielle Hardiman retirement) and Sydney (Maddy Collier ACL and Hayley Bullas partial ACL) currently have list spots open, which can be filled before round one.

Sarah Black


ESSENDON has signed West Australian ruck Matilda Dyke to its season eight list, replacing pregnant winger Cat Phillips who was moved to the inactive list last week. 

The 21-year-old Dyke, athletic and standing at 181cm, has developed her tap work in the WAFLW for Claremont, including the club's 2022 premiership, and can also provide support in defence. 

"We are very excited to have Matilda join us ahead of season eight. Matilda has been performing strongly at WAFLW level in the ruck this season," Essendon head of AFLW list and recruiting/head of VFLW Georgia Harvey said. 

"She is mobile, covers the ground well and can also play down back. We look forward to seeing what she can achieve in our program." 

Dyke joins Brooke Brown, Leah Cutting, Kodi Jacques, Georgia Clarke and Brooke Walker arriving at the Bombers this off season. 

– Gemma Bastiani

Matilda Dyke runs the 2km time trial during the Western Australia AFLW Draft Combine on July 18, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


Brisbane has locked away basketballer and former club academy member Courtney Murphy as a rookie.

Murphy had juggled both sports as a junior – representing Queensland at the Under-18 AFLW championships in 2016 under Craig Starcevich – but has spent the past four years playing college basketball in the US, three with Seattle University and 2022 with Long Beach State University.

"Courtney is someone we've kept in contact with while she was pursuing other athletic endeavours in the US," Starcevich said.

"She felt as though the time was right to come home and we are thrilled to welcome her back into the AFLW system.

"Having spent time with our academy and playing high-level junior football, we feel she will reintegrate back into the game relatively quickly.

"Her physical attributes and athleticism are something that is an exciting prospect for us and we are looking forward to having her build toward a big preseason."

Murphy, 22, will add some much-needed height to Brisbane's line-up, coming in as the team's tallest at 183cm.

As of Wednesday evening, Brisbane has one spot remaining on its list to be filled at the Supplementary Draft next Tuesday.

– Sarah Black


GEELONG has won the race to the signature of Irish star Aishling Moloney, alongside Tipperary teammate Anna-Rose Kennedy. 

A former All-Ireland Intermediate Footballer of the Year, Moloney made her return from an ACL injury late last year and was in high demand across several AFLW clubs during the off-season. 

Meanwhile Kennedy has a background playing both Camogie and Gaelic football. 

Geelong coach Dan Lowther and captain Meghan McDonald made a last-ditch trip to Ireland to win the pair's signatures. 

The pair join fellow countrywoman Rachel Kearns at the Cats, who now have one remaining list spot to fill. The club holds the No.1 pick in Tuesday's supplementary draft. 

- Gemma Bastiani


NORTH Melbourne has rounded out its list for the 2023 AFLW season with the signing of Irish rookie Niamh Martin.

The 21-year-old from Tipperary is a Gaelic footballer who has represented her county for the past two seasons.

"We are thrilled to welcome Niamh to North Melbourne," AFLW football performance and talent manager Rhys Harwood said.

"Niamh’s performances for Tipperary have been outstanding. She has a high level of speed and agility, and her ability to break the lines and take the game forward stood out to us. Importantly she also plays with a competitive edge. 

"Her attributes will be very valuable for us on the field, and her professionalism and high performance standards will be a big asset for our entire program. As soon as we met Niamh, we felt she would be a fantastic fit for our club, and we can’t wait to have her involved."

The Roos now have a list of 30, and barring a late addition to the inactive list, looks set to sit out next week’s Supplementary Draft.

- Sarah Black


FORMER Greater Western Sydney small forward Georgina Fowler has landed at Melbourne by way of Delisted Free Agency.

Initially drafted to GWS with pick No.59 in 2021, Fowler played three games for the Giants before being delisted upon the completion of season seven.

Still just 19-years-old, Fowler will offer depth in attack for Melbourne, who recently delisted small forward Sabreena Duffy.

- Gemma Bastiani

Georgina Fowler handballs under pressure during the Giants' practice match against the Western Bulldogs on August 13, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


FORMER Port Adelaide ruck Liz McGrath has been picked up by North Melbourne as a delisted free agent.

Originally recruited out of North Melbourne's VFLW program, where she is the reigning best and fairest, McGrath played three games for the Power before a hamstring injury ended her season prematurely.

She will join a host of tall timber at the Roos, with Kate Shierlaw another new addition, alongside ruck duo Kim Rennie and Emma King, and key forward Tahlia Randall.

Gemma Bastiani

Liz McGrath poses for a photo during Port Adelaide's team photo day on August 11, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


BRISBANE has added former Gold Coast defender Jade Pregelj to its 2023 playing list through the delisted free agency period. 

A star local junior, playing a formidable midfield role for the Logan Cobras through her teen years, Pregelj was lost to footy for seven years upon joining the army. It was Brisbane premiership defender Kate Lutkins – also in the defence force – who drew her back to footy with the Army Roos, which ultimately saw her signed to Gold Coast's inaugural list. 

Pregelj ruptured her ACL in round four of season six, which led to her being listed as inactive for season seven and ultimately delisted earlier this year. 

As a reliable key defender, she will help to cover the absence of Lutkins, who will be inactive for the 2023 season due to personal reasons. 

Gemma Bastiani

Jade Pregelj gets a kick away during round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


SYDNEY has added another piece to its 2023 puzzle, recruiting former West Coast midfielder Hayley Bullas via Delisted Free Agency.

Plucked out of Essendon's VFLW team by the Eagles back in 2019 as an expansion signing, Bullas played 30 games for the club before being delisted after season seven.

The 26-year-old played every game in West Coast's inaugural season, including its maiden win against the Bulldogs in round four.

Gemma Bastiani

Hayley Bullas greets fans after the R9 clash between West Coast and Western Bulldogs at Mineral Resources Park on October 22, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


ESSENDON has bolstered its tall stocks, signing Leah Cutting and Georgia Clarke as delisted free agents. 

Cutting, who spent last year on St Kilda's list, was inactive through season seven due to work commitments in her home state of South Australia. She will offer support to teenager Steph Wales through the ruck.  

While Clarke, standing at 177cm, is a tall defender who has spent five seasons with Geelong, playing 19 games in the process. Alongside Ellyse Gamble and fellow new recruit Brooke Brown, Clarke will help strengthen Essendon's defence for the 2023 season.

- Gemma Bastiani

Georgia Clarke juggles a mark during Geelong's round two match against Fremantle at Fremantle Oval on September 3, 2022. Picture: Getty Images


Gold Coast has added a fifth new face for the 2023 season in Irishwoman Niamh McLaughlin.
Captain of Donegal, McLaughlin is fresh off an outstanding Gaelic football season which saw her named GAA Ladies Senior Football Player of the Year and earn an All-Star award.
"I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity and the chance to push myself into something new," McLaughlin said.

"The opportunities have become more available to girls to make the transition from Gaelic football to the AFLW. The skills are quite transferrable and it’s a new challenge with a new lifestyle for me, which is exciting."
McLaughlin has also played soccer for Newcastle and Sunderland, and also represented Ireland at under 17 and 19 levels.
She becomes the second Irish player to join Gold Coast's AFLW program during the off season, joining former St Kilda defender Clara Fitzpatrick who was welcomed via trade earlier this month.

Gemma Bastiani