ESSENDON has reached the halfway point of its signings ahead of its inaugural AFLW season, adding even more experience.
Cat Phillips and Jacqui Vogt (St Kilda) will join Sophie Van De Heuvel (Geelong) and Daria Bannister (North Melbourne) at the Hangar, while Carlton VFLW ruck Jorja Borg has also committed to the club.
The quintet join notable signings Bonnie Toogood, Steph Cain and Maddy Prespakis at the Bombers for season seven.
The departures of Phillips and Vogt are the latest blow for the Saints, who have already lost important midfielder Tilly Lucas-Rodd to Hawthorn.
Meanwhile Bannister is the third Kangaroo out the door, informing the club that she will join Essendon’s inaugural list after 25 games and 14 goals. Lexi Hamilton and Jess Duffin have also left North Melbourne for expansion sides.
Multi-talented Irishwoman heading Hawks' way
HAWTHORN is set to sign multi-talented Irishwoman Aine McDonagh to its inaugural list.
McDonagh plays Gaelic football for County Galway as a half-forward and midfielder and is also a basketballer with NUIG Mystics.
Womens.afl understands a few final details need to be ironed out, but McDonagh will be donning the brown and gold next season.
McDonagh will be the Hawks’ first female Irish player, with Conor Nash and Fionn O’Hara also in Hawthorn's AFL men's squad.
Top Cat heads to the Hangar
CLASSY winger Sophie Van De Heuvel has informed Geelong that she will leave the club via expansion this off season.
Van De Heuvel was taken with draft pick No.2 ahead of Geelong's inaugural season in 2019 and has played 31 games across four seasons.
Womens.afl understands that Van De Heuvel will reunite with former Geelong AFLW assistant coach and VFLW head coach Natalie Wood at Essendon.
Young Demon heading home to WA
SMALL forward Krstel Petrevski has informed Melbourne of her decision to head back to her home state of Western Australia.
Petrevski has played four games for Melbourne, debuting in the club’s first-ever final in 2020.
Womens.afl believes she will look to join West Coast to help bolster their forward line. A trade will be facilitated between the clubs once the official Trade and Sign period opens.
Petrevski joins Brenna Tarrant and Jackie Parry exiting the Demons this off-season.
Lion and Pie confirm Power switch
PORT Adelaide has confirmed Brisbane premiership key defender Indy Tahau and Collingwood midfielder Ebony O’Dea will line up in teal next season.
As reported by womens.afl yesterday, O’Dea will return home to South Australia to link up with the Power, having spent 2019 on GWS’ list and playing 21 games for Collingwood over the past three seasons.
Tahau played her junior and representative footy in South Australia, before being drafted to Brisbane to re-join family in the state ahead of the 2021 season.
She will be reuniting with fellow ex-Lion Maria Moloney, while the 19-year-old has also played alongside new coach Lauren Arnell.
North ruck headed to Sydney
YOUNG North Melbourne ruck Lexi Hamilton is set to land at Sydney.
The Canberra product will be at her third club, having played one game for Gold Coast in 2020 before signing with the Kangaroos as an injury-replacement player this year.
The 21-year-old (whose full first name is Alexia) impressed for the Roos at VFLW level, and played two AFLW games in 2022.
Younger sister Cynthia, a midfielder, is set to be a top draftee in the NSW pool this year.
"Although Lexi has only been with us for a short time, her work-ethic and attitude this season were terrific, and will no doubt hold her in great stead in the AFLW moving forward," North Melbourne AFLW football performance and list manager Rhys Harwood said.
"With increased levels of player movement, we understand Lexi’s decision to pursue another opportunity, and thank her for her service to North Melbourne."
Saints set to land All-Australian Giant
ALL-AUSTRALIAN Giant Erin McKinnon has requested a trade to St Kilda after 41 games in the orange and charcoal.
Should she land at the Saints, the ruck will help ease the burden of Rhiannon Watt’s absence due to an ACL injury sustained late in the season.
"We're really pleased to hear that Erin has expressed interest in joining us for the season ahead," St Kilda head of AFLW Tess McManus told the club website.
"There is still some ground to cover, but we look forward to working with the Giants with the goal of welcoming Erin to the Saints as soon as possible."
The 23-year-old was a member of the Giants' inaugural side in 2017, earning NAB Rising Star honours in her debut season.
Defender Libby Graham has requested a trade to Richmond after two seasons and six games with the Giants.
Another famous name joins Port Adelaide
PHILLIPS isn’t the only famous name returning to Port Adelaide as part of its inaugural AFLW list build, with twins Laquoiya and Litonya Cockatoo-Motlap committing to the club.
The pair's uncle is former Port Adelaide forward Che Cockatoo-Collins.
Despite possessing similar attributes, Litonya plays largely across the half-back line, while Laquoiya is a handy forward pocket.
They are the first players to commit to Port Adelaide without previous AFLW experience, with the club previously announcing Erin Phillips, Justine Mules, Angela Foley, Maria Moloney and Gemma Houghton.
Magpies confirm duo will explore options
COLLINGWOOD has confirmed three changes to its AFLW list.
Forward Bella Smith will take up an opportunity at an expansion club, reported to be Sydney by womens.afl earlier this month. Smith has a connection with the Pies' former assistant coach Scott Gowans who has taken the reins at the Swans.
Midfielder Ebony O'Dea has expressed a desire to return to her home state of South Australia, while untried rookie Imogen Purcell has not been offered a contract for season seven after two years on the list.
O'Dea is believed to be heading to Port Adelaide, as is young Brisbane defender Indy Tahau.
Dockers see off rival interest to lock in gun winger
A WEEK after losing spearhead Gemma Houghton to Port Adelaide, Fremantle has seen off strong interest from rival clubs to re-secure integral winger Ebony Antonio.
Antonio had been linked with the Victorian expansion sides but has chosen to remain in Western Australia.
The 30-year-old announced she had recommitted to the Dockers on a two-year deal at the club's best and fairest on Saturday.
"I've been here since year one and I'm excited to have signed on for another couple of years," Antonio said.
"I'm looking forward to being a Docker for life."
Fremantle has also lost Steph Cain to Essendon, while Ann McMahon and Tiah Toth have been delisted and Jasmin Stewart has stepped away from the game.
Crow wants Docker move
FORMER Adelaide first-round pick Nikki Gore has requested a trade to Fremantle.
Gore, 21, has played 21 games in attack and defence, sitting out much of 2021 with a broken ankle.
She was part of the Crows' 2022 premiership side.
The Dockers have lost winger Steph Cain to expansion side Essendon, and Gore has the ability to fill that position if required.
"Nikki is a premiership player who is yet to reach her peak and we have invested heavily in her development," Adelaide head of women's football Phil Harper said.
"She is an outstanding character who will be missed by her teammates, however we understand her desire for more midfield time.
"We have already begun discussions with Fremantle and will provide our members and fans with an update when the Sign and Trade period starts."
Young Magpie flies the coop, Bombers add four more
YOUNG Collingwood tall Bella Smith is set to sign with Sydney, while Essendon has added three former AFLW players to its list.
Womens.afl understands the versatile Smith, 20, is set to reunite with former Magpies senior assistant coach Scott Gowans at the Swans.
Originally from South Australia and capable of playing at either end or in the ruck, she has played 10 games over her two seasons at the Pies.
The Bombers have promoted former Lion Jordan Zanchetta and current VFLW leading goalkicker Federica Frew to its AFLW list as open-age signings.
Also joining the pair are international players Danielle Marshall (US, Western Bulldogs 2020-21) and Joanne Doonan (Ireland, Carlton 2020).
Doonan returned to Ireland after her delisting, but came back to Australia this year as pandemic borders eased, and the two have also been playing for the Bombers VFLW team.
"Our VFLW program has been building year on year and this season in particular is about two objectives - achieving team success and individual improvement," Essendon head of footy Josh Mahoney said.
"We have seen and are seeing both each week, with our team currently undefeated and a number of players having career-best seasons.
"We are excited to give four of our players the opportunity to represent Essendon in the AFLW and watch them develop further."
Former Demon comes out of retirement to join Hawks
FORMER Melbourne key forward Tegan Cunningham has come out of retirement, signing with Hawthorn.
Cunningham had nominated for last year's NAB AFLW Draft after retiring earlier that year – where she was heavily linked to North Melbourne – and has been playing VFLW with Hawthorn this season.
The 34-year-old has spent increased time in the ruck this year, and kicked 25 goals from her 32 games for the Dees.
The Hawks have also signed former AFLW Academy member Eliza Shannon.
The 22-year-old defender has played her footy around the country, starting with Geelong Falcons, lining up for St Mary's in the NTFLW and most recently with the Hawks VFLW program.
"Eliza has really impressed us with her competitiveness and work rate," Hawthorn list manager Mitch Cashion said.
"After stepping away from football for a few years, she has now rediscovered her passion for the game and returned better than ever.
"She is a very versatile defender who can play on tall and small players while winning the ball both on the ground and in the air."
Swans add two more for inaugural team
SYDNEY has added open-age signing Jaide Anthony to its inaugural list, while young Melbourne key Brenna Tarrant has also officially committed to the club.
As previously reported by womens.afl, New South Wales local Tarrant had been set to request a trade to the Swans, having struggled to hold her spot in Melbourne's strong side this year.
Anthony was somewhat surprisingly overlooked in last year's NAB AFLW Draft, and has spent this year splitting her time between NAB League side Dandenong Stingrays as an over-age player and VFLW side Hawthorn.
Both players can line up at either end of the field, with Anthony a mid-sized prospect standing at 166cm, while Tarrant is taller at 173cm.
At this early stage, Sydney has been the most active of the expansion clubs, adding AFLW players Bec Privitelli, Maddy Collier, Lisa Steane and Ally Morphett, but missing out on Ellie Blackburn and Ash Riddell, among other offers put forward.
Open-age signings Ruby Sargent-Wilson, Alice Mitchell, Sarah Ford, Molly Eastman, Lauren Szigeti, Aimee Whelan, Montana Beruldsen, Zoe Hurrell and Ella Heads have also joined the Swans.
Wantaway Lion lands at Power
PORT Adelaide has landed wantaway Brisbane midfielder Maria Moloney.
As reported by womens.afl, the Power had been linked to the 27-year-old, who had previously played with new coach Lauren Arnell and had informed the Lions she was looking for opportunities elsewhere.
Moloney has played 11 games in her three seasons with the Lions, struggling to break into the strong 21 and named emergency eight times this year alone.
The hard-running midfielder joins Erin Phillips, Ange Foley and Justine Mules as current AFLW players at the expansion club.
A member of the Royal Australian Air Force, Moloney will transfer to Adelaide's base.
"Maria will be a fantastic addition to our squad," Arnell said.
"We really wanted Maria here from the very beginning to help establish the culture of the women’s program. She always holds herself with integrity and has that ‘never give in’ attitude. I’m excited to see her back herself in and take this opportunity, because she has the self-confidence and self-belief to make this move a success.
"She is super competitive, hardworking and has enormous running capacity. Her selfless, team-first approach is exactly why we want her here at Port Adelaide. She’s done the hard work and has really earned it."
Future Hawk cleared of serious injury
HAWTHORN signing Zoe Barbakos has escaped serious injury after hurting her knee in the VFLW last week.
The young forward was stretchered off the field after the incident.
"Zoe was cleared of any major structural damage and we anticipate that she will join pre-season with the rest of the players and be available for the start of the season," AFLW high performance manager Olivia Knowles told womens.afl.
"I'm loving every minute of it and I can't wait for the journey ahead." 🙌— hawthornfc.womens (@hawthornwomens) March 22, 2022
Couldn't have put it better ourselves, Zoe. 💛 pic.twitter.com/kRaeGns3bS
Triple premiership Crow flies the nest
THREE-TIME premiership Crow Justine Mules is the latest Adelaide player to leave the club and join expansion side Port Adelaide.
The Crows confirmed on Thursday that the 27-year-old forward/winger had informed the club of her decision to join a "rival club", with Port Adelaide later confirming Mules' commitment to the Power.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic, just so ready to be on board and I’m really looking forward to supporting the younger players coming through over the next few months,” Mules said in a statement.
“I came for a tour last week through the clubrooms, and to see the memorabilia and history on display here is just so exciting. For us girls to now be a part of that is just the next step toward chasing greatness for this club.”
Mules joins former Adelaide teammates Erin Phillips and Ange Foley at Port.
“I’ve looked up to Erin and Ange while they were in the leadership group at the Crows,” Mules said.
“It’s just an absolute honour to be able continue playing with Erin, and Ange Foley is an absolute weapon and I love her leadership style.”
Adelaide's head of women's football Phil Harper said Mules' departure is a great loss for the club, but thanked her for her contribution to the Crows.
“It is obviously disappointing to lose someone like Justine who has been such a strong contributor for us on the field,” Harper said.
“She’s been a popular member of our squad and played an integral role in laying the foundations for our women’s team and playing in all three of our Club’s Premierships. We will miss her infectious smile and vibrant personality around our Club.
“However, having four more teams enter the competition next season – a move that our Club supported –meant that there was always going to be some player movement and these types of scenarios.
“As a Club, we are proud to have helped and been part of the growth of women’s football, particularly here in South Australia, to this point.”
Harper said that the majority of Adelaide's 2022 premiership group had made verbal commitments to the Crows ahead of next season.
“We know that creating a winning culture goes a long way to retaining the core of your list and we have been able to consistently do that over the past six seasons,” Harper said.
“The Club is working with our players and we believe our list management strategy will continue to deliver sustained on-field success.”
Pies forward the latest to head to the Hangar
COLLINGWOOD key forward Sophie Alexander is the latest AFLW player to officially commit with expansion club Essendon.
The 28-year-old has played 31 games over four years at Collingwood, having earned her way onto a senior list through the Pies' VFLW affiliate.
She is set to join fellow tall forwards Bonnie Toogood (Western Bulldogs) and Caitlin Sargent (Western Jets) at Tullamarine, and can also play in defence if required.
"Sophie is another great addition to our AFLW side, " Essendon head of football Josh Mahoney said.
"Since swapping over from basketball she has worked hard to develop her game, which reflects her strong work ethic and determination to improve.
"She will be a great asset and will contribute to our club standards on and off the field."
Alexander is the only player Collingwood has lost to expansion clubs thus far, and the Pies look likely to hang onto Sarah Rowe, Ruby Schleicher and Brit Bonnici (interest from Sydney) and Jaimee Lambert (interest from Hawthorn).
In other news, Hawthorn has signed tenacious young midfielder Dominique Carbone from its VFLW program.
The 20-year-old Carbone, who hails from Darwin and is also a strong basketballer, has played with the Hawks for the past two seasons.
Lion looks for opportunity elsewhere
Brisbane midfielder Maria Moloney has told the club she wishes to pursue an opportunity at a rival AFLW club.
The 27-year-old has played 11 games over three seasons, and was an emergency eight times this year, struggling to break into the preliminary finalist's side.
A strong runner and good ball-winner, rival clubs believe Moloney could be a chance to land at Port Adelaide, given former teammate Lauren Arnell has been appointed senior coach.
"Maria is a high-quality person and player who has been unlucky not to have had more opportunity in such a strong side over the last couple of seasons," Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich said.
"We’re sure she’ll be a great asset on and off the field at her new club.
"We’d like to thank her and wish her all the best for the future."
Crows leader jumps ship
FORMER Adelaide vice-captain Ange Foley will join Port Adelaide for its inaugural season.
Foley, 33, sat out the 2022 NAB AFLW season after rupturing her ACL in the 2021 Grand Final loss, where she was acting captain.
The reliable half-back flanker – who has 40 AFLW games under her belt since joining the Crows as a priority player in 2016 – has since made her return to footy with SANFLW side Sturt.
"I'm really excited to start a new chapter of my football career," Foley said.
EXPANSION LIST RULES How the four new clubs can sign players
"It's nice to be part of something that is so fresh and new, I'm really looking forward to being on board.
"It will be great to have a new environment to hopefully take my footy to the next level and to also help the group by being a leader, after being part of the leadership group at the Crows. I want to bring some experience and leadership here to Port Adelaide."
Foley is Port Adelaide's second player announcement, following that of superstar Erin Phillips earlier this week.
Dockers speedster joins Dons
ESSENDON has swooped on pacy Fremantle winger Steph Cain, who has committed to signing with the expansion club.
Cain has been an integral part of the Dockers' strong midfield, with her endurance, pace and pinpoint passes a feature.
She has played 32 games since her debut in 2017, re-earning her way back onto the list after being delisted at the conclusion of that year, and also missed a season with a torn ACL.
Cain, 25, could form a fearsome combination with ex-Blue Georgia Gee on the opposing wing.
"Steph is another great addition to the club. She comes from a strong program at Fremantle and will contribute to the culture and environment we are building within our club," Essendon general manager of football Josh Mahoney said.
"We understand the significant commitment that Steph is making by moving across the country to join us and trusting that we will be putting all the resources around her to make Victoria feel like home and maximise her as a player."
The dates for the Sign and Trade Period are yet to be confirmed, with the AFL and AFLPA currently negotiating a Collective Bargaining Agreement for the upcoming season, expected to start in August.
Blues midfielder set to return to Tigerland
CARLTON midfielder Grace Egan is set to return to Richmond.
It's understood that Egan, who was recruited from the Tigers' VFLW program, informed the Blues that she would be heading back to Punt Road during the sign and trade period on Thursday night.
Richmond had been eligible to sign Egan as an open-age player in its initial list build when it entered the competition as an expansion club in 2020, but passed up on the opportunity and allowed Carlton to select her through the NAB AFLW Draft.
She has since played 23 games for the Blues, averaging 14.4 disposals and 3.3 tackles per game last season, but has long been tipped to leave the club during the upcoming exchange window.
Egan's departure from Carlton follows that of three-time best and fairest Madison Prespakis and talented forward Georgia Gee to expansion side Essendon. As earlier reported, forward Nicola Stevens is also garnering interest from St Kilda.
However, the Blues have staved off expansion interest in captain Kerryn Harrington and NAB AFLW Rising Star winner Mimi Hill, with fellow youngster Lucy McEvoy also tipped to re-sign at Ikon Park.
Overlooked forward gets her shot at Bombers
CAITLIN Sargent has become the fifth player to commit to joining Essendon's inaugural AFLW team.
Overlooked in last year's draft, the key forward is strong overhead and reliable in front of goal, kicking 21 goals from 10 games for the Western Jets this year.
Sargent joins Essendon VFLW captain Georgia Nanscawen on the Bombers' AFLW list, while Maddy Prespakis, Georgia Gee and Bonnie Toogood have each indicated their intentions to join the club.
Demon heading north
MELBOURNE youngster Brenna Tarrant is set to request a trade to New South Wales.
Womens.afl understands Tarrant has asked the Demons if she can return to her home state ahead of next season, with expansion side Sydney the early frontrunners to secure her signature.
Tarrant, 20, has played 15 games and made three finals appearances for Melbourne across the last three seasons, but wasn't part of the Demons' team that ultimately qualified for their first ever AFLW Grand Final last weekend.
Elsewhere, fellow expansion side Hawthorn is expected to lock away the signing of Gold Coast youngster Janet Baird on a two-year deal. The 22-year-old has played just three games for the club across the last two seasons.
But the Suns are expected to retain Kalinda Howarth. The talented 22-year-old had garnered attention from rival clubs ahead of this year's sign and trade period, but is set to remain at Metricon Stadium on a two-year deal.
Giant exodus: Third GWS player expected to sign with Sydney
LISA Steane has become the third Giant to tell the club that she will be looking to join Sydney through expansion this off season.
Midfielder Steane has played 19 games over three seasons at GWS, including nine this year.
Beginning her AFLW career playing off half back for the Giants in 2020, Steane has been used in a variety of roles by the club since.
Steane joins Rebecca Privitelli in requesting a move to the expansion side, while it's understood young ruck Ally Morphett will also cross to the Swans.
The Swans confirmed the Privitelli news, while also announcing the signing of locals Zoe Hurrell and Ella Heads.
"I've worked with Scotty previously and when I saw he was going to be head coach it was a massive part of my attraction to the club," Privitelli told the Swans' website.
Due to Morphett being drafted last year, it's expected that Sydney will have to negotiate a trade with its crosstown rivals – rather than sign her as a free agent – in order to complete the deal.
- Sophie Van De Heuvel will leave Geelong and head to Essendon
- Krstel Petrevski will leave Melbourne and head to a WA club
- Gun forward Sarah Perkins and defender Louise Stephenson will join Hawthorn
- North Melbourne's Lexi Hamilton was requested a trade to an expansion club
- Greater Western Sydney ruck Erin McKinnon has requested a trade to St Kilda
- Brisbane's Indy Tahau will move to Port Adelaide
- Collingwood's Ebony O'Dea will move to Port Adelaide
- Premiership-winning Crow Nikki Gore requests a trade to Fremantle
- Collingwood youngster Bella Smith is set to join Sydney
- Former Dee Tegan Cunningham has come out of retirement to join Hawthorn
- Gemma Houghton has committed to Port Adelaide
- Justine Mules will move to Port Adelaide
- Sophie Alexander will move from Collingwood to Essendon as an expansion player
- Maria Moloney has requested a move to Port Adelaide
- Erin Phillips and Ange Foley will make the switch to Port Adelaide
- Stephanie Cain has requested a move to expansion side Essendon
- Grace Egan is set to return to Richmond
- Brenna Tarrant has requested a move from Melbourne to a NSW club, with Sydney the frontrunner
- Janet Baird is set to move from Gold Coast to Hawthorn
- Lisa Steane will move from GWS to Sydney as an expansion player
- The Bulldogs have confirmed star forward Bonnie Toogood wants to play for Essendon
- Madison Prespakis will leave Carlton to sign with Essendon as an expansion player
- Georgia Gee will leave Carlton to sign with Essendon as an expansion player
- Ally Morphett is set to move from GWS to Sydney, contingent on a trade deal
- Bec Privitelli will move from GWS to Sydney as an expansion player
- Izzy Huntington has requested a trade from the Western Bulldogs to GWS
- Maddy Collier will move from West Coast to Sydney as an expansion player
EXPANSION CLUB SIGNINGS
U18 academy/zone: Nil
Open age: Joanne Doonan (Ireland), Federica Frew (Essendon VFLW), Danielle Marshall (US), Georgia Nanscawen (Essendon VFLW), Caitlin Sargent (Western Jets), Jordan Zanchetta (Essendon VFLW)
AFLW players (committed, not yet officially signed): Sophie Alexander (Collingwood), Steph Cain (Fremantle), Georgia Gee (Carlton), Maddy Prespakis (Carlton), Bonnie Toogood (Western Bulldogs)
U18 academy/zone: Nil
Open age: Zoe Barbakos (Sandringham Dragons), Dominique Carbone (Hawthorn VFLW), Bridget Deed (Eastern Ranges/Hawthorn VFLW), Sophie Locke (Port Melbourne) Tegan Cunningham (Hawthorn VFLW), Eliza Shannon (Hawthorn VFLW)
AFLW players (committed, not yet officially signed): Janet Baird (Gold Coast), Jess Duffin (North Melbourne), Tilly Lucas-Rodd (St Kilda), Akec Makur Chuot (Richmond), Sarah Perkins (Gold Coast), Lou Stephenson (GWS)
U18 academy/zone: Nil
Open age: Laquoiya Cockatoo-Motlap, Litonya Cockatoo-Motlap (Bond Uni)
AFLW players (committed, not yet officially signed): Gemma Houghton (Fremantle), Ange Foley, Erin Phillips, Justine Mules (all Adelaide), Maria Moloney (Brisbane), Indy Tahau (Brisbane), Ebony O'Dea (Collingwood)
U18 academy/zone: Nil
Open age: Jaide Anthony (Dandenong Stingrays), Montana Beruldsen (Hawthorn VFLW), Molly Eastman (North Melbourne VFLW), Sarah Ford (Essendon VFLW), Ella Heads (Inner West), Zoe Hurrell (North Shore), Alice Mitchell (Gunnedah), Ruby Sargent-Wilson (Southern Power), Lauren Szigeti (Hawthorn VFLW), Aimee Whelan (Hawthorn (VFLW)
AFLW players (committed, not yet officially signed): Maddy Collier (West Coast), Lexi Hamilton (North Melbourne), Ally Morphett (GWS), Bec Privitelli (GWS), Bella Smith (Collingwood), Lisa Steane (GWS), Brenna Tarrant (Melbourne)