CARLTON jet Brooke Walker has signed for NRLW side the Paramatta Eels but will not be lost to football or to the Blues for very long.
Womens.afl understands Walker will return to Ikon Park for the upcoming AFLW season at the conclusion of her rugby league commitments and will only miss a small handful of games for Daniel Harford's side.
Carlton, which has known about Walker's desire to sign for an NRLW team for some time, believes the talented 27-year-old could be ready for an AFLW return somewhere around rounds three to four of next season.
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The Blues are still working through the finer details of what Walker's return to AFLW competition will look like, though do not expect her preparation for the upcoming season to be hampered by her stint with the Eels.
Walker is a multi-talented athlete who was part of Australia's gold medal-winning rugby sevens outfit at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, before signing for the Blues in the AFLW on the eve of the 2019 season.
She has since played 22 games for the club across the last four seasons, establishing herself as a mainstay in Carlton's best side.
"I'm extremely grateful to Carlton for accepting my wish to seek NRLW opportunities and balance the commitments of two elite sports," Walker said.
"My primary focus is starting pre-season at Ikon Park with my teammates in the coming weeks. I am committed to Carlton and will bring my all as we prepare for the season.
"I can't thank the club enough for accepting my decision. They have certainly been accommodating and I look forward to repaying their faith with absolute commitment when I’m able to return during the season later this year."
As revealed by womens.afl earlier this week, the Blues are preparing for a busy AFLW sign and trade period and are closing on deals for Geelong veteran Phoebe McWilliams and Collingwood youngster Amelia Velardo.
However, the experienced Lauren Brazzale will head to the Pies as part of any Velardo trade while young defender Charlotte Wilson is expected to move to Melbourne to bolster the club's AFLW premiership hopes.
Veteran forward Nicola Stevens is expected to be traded to St Kilda, midfielder Grace Egan will return to Richmond, while young forward Courtney Jones is set to be dealt to Gold Coast.
Three-time Blues best and fairest Madison Prespakis and classy young forward Georgia Gee have already signed for arch-rivals Essendon as part of the AFLW's expansion signing period.
But the club has consolidated with a host of important re-signings in the midst of expansion interest, securing NAB AFLW Rising Star winner Mimi Hill, captain Kerryn Harrington and young gun Lucy McEvoy to new deals.