Irish influx continues at Swans, Blues

SYDNEY has added a trio of Irish talent to its young list, signing Paris McCarthy, Jennifer Higgins and Julie O’Sullivan for the 2023 season.

As reported by earlier this month, Paris McCarthy played Division One basketball for East Tennessee State University on a scholarship last year, and earned an All-Ireland 2022 team selection at just 19 years of age.

McCarthy is also an accomplished Gaelic footballer for county Kerry, the home of Swans great Tadhg Kennelly, where she has played with fellow recruit O’Sullivan.

Higgins of county Roscommon is an experienced Gaelic footballer, who has recorded over 130 senior appearances at senior championship and league level.

They join Lucy McEvoy and Chloe Molloy in becoming new Swans ahead of AFLW season eight.


CARLTON will bolster its list with Irish talent in the coming days, with the Blues set to announce the signings of Erone Fitzpatrick and Dayna Finn.

As reported by earlier this month, Finn is an accomplished Gaelic footballer and basketballer and is currently studying on a sports scholarship at Trinity College in Dublin.

Fitzpatrick is a hard running goal scorer from Laois, who was integral to her side’s All Ireland Intermediate Championship victory last year.

The pair will become just the second and third Irish players to be signed by Carlton, following Joanne Doonan’s time on the list in 2020.

They also follow Jennifer Dunne (Brisbane), and trio Paris McCarthy, Jennifer Higgins and Julie O’Sullivan (Sydney), who have joined the AFLW in recent weeks.

Fitzpatrick and Finn will join Harriet Corder in becoming new Blues this off season.


ADELAIDE has added basketballer Taylah Levy to its list as a rookie.

Levy, 21, has just finished playing three years of basketball in the US college system for Cleveland State University.

Standing at 165cm, Levy played junior and SANFLW football as a midfielder until the age of 16 with South Adelaide, but as she has not been a registered player for more than three years, is able to be signed as a rookie.

“Our club has an excellent record of recruiting players who have played football at a junior level but then pursued other sports,” Crows head of AFLW Phil Harper said.

“Taylah had a great opportunity to play college basketball but we were always hopeful she would come back to footy one day and are rapt she’s signed as a rookie for season eight.

“It’s been five years since she last played football competitively, so we will give her time to develop but we are confident she has the talent and competitiveness to become a quality AFLW player and help make us better as a team.”

Levy will return to South Adelaide for the current SANFLW season, ahead of the AFLW beginning in August.

– Sarah Black


COURTNEY Jones and Maddy Brancatisano has completed a straight swap, with Jones now at Richmond and Brancatisano at Gold Coast.

Brancatisano, a speedy midfielder, had been struggling for opportunities at the Tigers, and her run-and-carry game should suit the Suns.

Jones had requested a move to Melbourne to be close to younger sister Mikaela, who has been diagnosed with stage 3-4 thyroid cancer.

Both players are 22, with Brancatisano having played 32 games at the Tigers over four seasons after failing to make her debut in her one year on Melbourne’s list in 2019.

Maddy Brancatisano in action during round seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Jones played nine games for Carlton on her third year on the list (season six), before crossing to Gold Coast for season seven, adding another nine.

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In both seasons, she was her team’s leading goalkicker (equal with Tara Bohanna at the Suns).

– Sarah Black


GOLD Coast sisters Maddi and Teagan Levi will sit out another AFLW season, having committed to rugby sevens until at least the conclusion of the Paris Olympics.

With the Olympics to be held in late July-early August 2024, there remains a hope the talented pair will skip AFLW pre-season and suit up for the Suns following the Games.

Teagan was drafted in 2021 with pick No.6 – the first Queensland-born player to be selected in that draft – but has yet to make her AFLW debut, named inactive for seasons six and seven.

Maddi and Teagan Levi pose after Australia won the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament on September 11, 2022. Picture: Teagan Levi/Instagram

Older sister Maddi was drafted the year prior, playing eight of nine games in 2021 and impressing with her athleticism and power both up forward and in the midfield.

She was also inactive across both seasons in 2022.

– Sarah Black


THE G-TRAIN has pulled into Richmond station.

A three-way trade has seen 2020 AFLW leading goalkicker Caitlin Greiser move from St Kilda to Richmond, with wantaway Tigers defender Harriet Cordner crossing to Carlton and inaugural Blues winger Nat Plane moving to the Saints.

As broken by, Greiser was keen to move to Punt Road, with a full-forward spot opening up following the retirement of All-Australian Courtney Wakefield.

Richmond has also parted ways with pick No.14, which has landed at St Kilda.

That pick may eventually end up assisting the Saints land season seven leading goalkicker Jesse Wardlaw from Brisbane.

Jesse Wardlaw and Emily Bates celebrate a goal during round five, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The upcoming Supplementary Draft is for mature-age players only, and clubs do not have to participate if their lists are full.

Cordner sat out season seven after rupturing her ACL in the opening rounds of season six, and Carlton will be her third club, after the former soccer player was signed as a rookie by Melbourne for the very first season.

Plane has played 36 games across seven seasons for the Blues, including all 10 in season six. But she managed just five in the second half of the year, named as an emergency for the remaining five matches.





Harriet Cordner

Nat Plane


Caitlin Greiser

Harriet Cordner

Pick No.14

St Kilda

Nat Plane
Pick No.14

Caitlin Greiser

– Sarah Black


BRISBANE has signed one of the biggest names in Gaelic football, Dublin’s Jennifer Dunne, as a rookie for the next two seasons. 

Amid a tricky off-season which has seen Emily Bates and Greta Bodey head to Hawthorn, and Jesse Wardlaw and Lulu Pullar request trades, signing Dunne is a coup for the club. 

Known for her athleticism and skill, Dunne will also bring a physicality to the Lions that few Irish players arrive in Australia with and will join fellow Irishwoman Orla O’Dwyer at Brisbane. 

“Jen is someone who we are eager to bring on board for all her team success so early in her career,” Brisbane head coach Craig Starcevich said.  

“She is incredibly athletic; her physicality and decision making are something we think will transfer to AFL beautifully and we can’t wait to get working with her. Coming from Ireland we know it will be an adjustment for her, but we think she’s really well placed with someone like Orla who has been in her shoes, to help through the transition.”

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– Gemma Bastiani

Jennifer Dunne after an All-Ireland match in 2020. Picture: via Ladies Gaelic Football Facebook


ESSENDON has landed a surprise acquisition, trading in Richmond small forward Kodi Jacques.

In return, the Tigers gain the Bombers’ second round selection (currently pick No.27) for the upcoming Supplementary Draft.

Jacques is an inaugural Tiger who came through the club’s VFLW program and Bendigo Thunder.

The 22-year-old – who can also rotate through the midfield if required – has played 26 games over her three AFLW seasons, but struggled to hold her spot as the Tigers rose up the ladder, appearing in four of a possible 12 games in season seven.

The Tigers had only made two list changes up until this point – delisting Hannah Burchell and the retirement of Courtney Wakefield – and now sit at 31 players, one over the limit.

Current Tigers Harriet Cordner has been linked to Carlton, Maddy Brancatisano is likely to move to Gold Coast, while two forwards – Caitlin Greiser and Courtney Jones – are strong chances of landing at Punt Road, meaning there’s a chance the Tigers won’t enter the draft.

For the Bombers, Jacques is the second signing of the player movement period, after securing defender Brooke Brown from North Melbourne through the PSP. Their list is at 32, and also needs to come down to 30.

 – Sarah Black

(L-R): Richmond players Sarah Dargan, Ellie McKenzie and Kodi Jacques celebrate during round three, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


RISING Fremantle forward Amy Franklin has requested a trade after two seasons on the Dockers’ list.

It’s understood Franklin is wishing to move to cross-town rivals West Coast, but it remains to be seen how the trade will be made, with the outside chance a third club may need to be involved.

The Supplementary Draft for mature-age players means picks hold less value than in years’ past, with straight player swaps looking like the dominant mechanism for trades across this period.

Franklin, 20, is a childhood Eagles fan and a close friend of West Coast’s Charlie Thomas.

If the trade is successful, she could be a long-term spearhead for the club, working alongside Ella Roberts, Kate Bartlett and Aimee Schmidt.

“It’s a shame that Amy has decided to not pursue the second year of her contract with the club,” AFLW head of footy Bob Murphy said.

“We feel the Freo Family invested a lot of time and resources into ‘Franky’, so our objective now is to ensure the club gets the best outcome for that investment.”

– Sarah Black

Amy Franklin celebrates a goal during round four, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


INAUGURAL Collingwood captain Steph Chiocci and teammate Jaimee Lambert are now Saints, Tarni White and Grace Campbell Pies, and Kate Shierlaw a Roo.

As flagged by on Friday morning, the three-club, five-player mega-trade has kicked off the AFLW Sign and Trade period with a bang.

North Melbourne also traded its first-round selection (15) in the upcoming Supplementary Draft to Collingwood, while the Magpies handed off their second-rounder (31) to the Saints as part of the deal.

Chiocci was selected with pick No.11 in the 2016 draft, and is one of the longest-serving captains in the competition, but a longer contract offer at the Saints for the 34-year-old is understood to be a key part in the decision to move.

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Lambert, a three-time best and fairest at Collingwood, has often been the target of rival clubs, with Hawthorn in particular having gone hard after the dynamic midfielder last year.

The hard-nosed Campbell is coming off a torn ACL suffered in late July, which ruled her out of season seven. She played primarily in the midfield for first club Richmond, before featuring across half-forward at the Roos.

Key forward Shierlaw, 34, could be the missing piece of the puzzle for North Melbourne, which has been continually tinkering with its attack as it pushes into the top echelon of the ladder.

She is the partner of Kangaroos skipper Emma Kearney, the pair having been on opposite training nights for years and live in the north-west of the city, with St Kilda based in the south-east.

Midfielder White made headlines as one of the first 18-year-old draftees to actively nominate a different state, choosing to move from Queensland to Melbourne to play footy.





Tarni White

Grace Campbell

First-round selection (NM)

Steph Chiocci

Jaimee Lambert

Second-round selection

North Melbourne

Kate Shierlaw

Grace Campbell

First-round selection

St Kilda

Steph Chiocci

Jaimee Lambert

Second-round selection (Coll)

Tarni White

Kate Shierlaw


– Sarah Black


GOLD Coast forward Courtney Jones is requesting a trade back to Victoria for family reasons.

The 22-year-old is understood to have been very happy at the Suns and was initially planning to stay on, but her family has come first in this particular situation.

Jones started her career at Carlton, making her debut in her third season on the list and playing nine games for eight goals in season six.

She then moved to Gold Coast for season seven, once again booting eight goals from nine matches.

The Suns will work to find a suitable home via a trade for Jones.

– Sarah Black

Courtney Jones in action during round nine, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


BRISBANE has confirmed that star forward Jesse Wardlaw and emerging defender Lulu Pullar will seek trades out of the club in the coming weeks, with the pair expected to both land at Victorian clubs.

Wardlaw, who has been linked to St Kilda, was the competition’s leading goalkicker last season with 22 and played an important part in the Lions’ maiden premiership in 2021. 

“Jesse has been a very valued member of the Brisbane Lions, coming up through the ranks via our Academy. She will always have a place here at Brisbane,” Lions head of women’s football Breeanna Brock said.   

“As a home-grown talent, we would have loved Jesse to remain with the Lions. On behalf of everyone at Brisbane, I would like to thank Jesse for everything she has done for our Club, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavours.” 


Sep 10. 2022. 7:40 PM

Jesse Wardlaw delivers a strong performance at the Gabba

The forward has kicked 47 goals in her 49 career games to date and missed just one game in the Lions’ season seven campaign where they pushed to a fourth Grand Final. 

Meanwhile Pullar, who is a doctor off the field, is looking to move to Victoria to pursue further career opportunities alongside her footy. 

“Lulu has indicated to the club she is seeking to continue her football career at another AFLW club whilst also taking employment opportunities in Melbourne,” Brock said. 

“We wish her every success in her next chapter not only with her football career but as a first-year doctor as well.” 

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED All the PSP moves as they happened understands Pullar is set to be signed by North Melbourne.

The AFLW Trade and Sign period begins on Friday and will run until March 20. 

The pair join Emily Bates and Greta Bodey in leaving the club in recent weeks, the latter duo landing at Hawthorn via the Priority Signing Period.

– Gemma Bastiani


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