AFL Women’s trades, free agency, expansion club targets, player movement news

The brand-new AFLW best and fairest is weighing up hefty offers to leave her club.

Plus a huge deal on the table for Essendon to poach a Carlton superstar.

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Brisbane Lions gun Emily Bates, who won the AFLW best and fairest award (aka the women’s Brownlow) las week, is weighing up multiple offers to leave the club, reports AFL Media’s Riley Beveridge.

Expansion club Hawthorn is seen as the front-runner to lure Bates, who grew up in Queensland, but other Victorian clubs (both new and existing) are seeking her signature.

The Hawks are set to join the competition for next season along with Essendon, Port Adelaide and Sydney, creating a full 18-team league.

Bates, 26, has played 53 games across all six seasons of the AFLW competition for the Lions, and averaged 21.3 disposals, 5.6 clearances and 7.1 tackles in 2022.

She is a dual best and fairest, three-time All-Australian and 2021 premiership player.

Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich has previously stated his frustration with the way player movement works in AFLW, as the league expands extremely quickly.

Could Emily Bates and Madison Prespakis both be on the move?Source: FOX SPORTS

“We’ve been in the comp six years and we went through, a couple of years ago, the big four-team expansion. That was like, ‘Jesus, we’re down to 17 players’. In hindsight, it did us a massive favour because we brought in O’Dwyer, Bodey, Davidson, Dawes, Hickie … you name it,” Starcevich said.

“We had a good off-season there to bring them in, took us a year or two to get cranking, but we’re OK now. If it’s going to happen again now then it’s fine to say the competition needs to expand and we need players going here and there, but it never helps us. It never helps us.

“Because we’re the ones who put all the time and effort in developing players, developing relationships and then what do you do? Just go and pull the rug out from … it drives me frickin’ mad.

“I don’t know if there’s another way of doing it, but it drives me mad. We run the team. We coach the team. We develop the players.

“I don’t know what the answer is, but it absolutely drives me mad that big offers come in from clubs that aren’t even in the competition and they end up … the tail ends up wagging the dog.

“They make all the demands about how to get players. I’ve said too much. It’s very disruptive. We’re not the only club, whatever was reported yesterday about the Bulldogs (with Izzy Huntington leaving), for example … jeez, come on.”


Essendon has handed 2020 AFLW best and fairest winner and childhood Bombers fan Madison Prespakis a “substantial” offer to join the expansion club, reports the Herald Sun.

The 21-year-old Prespakis is one of the brightest stars in the competition, winning Carlton’s best and fairest this year and winning the AFLW’s equivalent of the Brownlow as a teenager.

The Bombers are reportedly attempting to lure Prespakis as a marquee player which means she can be paid more than a regularly contracted player.

Prespakis grew up as an Essendon supporter in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.


Western Bulldogs AFLW gun Isabel Huntington has requested a trade to the GWS Giants.

The 23-year old, who’s currently recovering from an ACL injury, enjoyed a breakout 2020 season including club best and fairest, AFLW Rising Star and All-Australian honours.

She’s booted 18 goals from 20 games for the Bulldogs since joining the club with Pick 1 in the 2017 AFLW Draft.

However Huntington will be a slim chance to play for the Giants in the next AFLW season — widely reported to be kicking off in August — as she recovers from her ACL injury.

It comes in the same week that Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn and fellow star Kirsty Lamb confirmed they would stay at the club.

The forward admitted the call to depart Whitten Oval was an “incredibly difficult decision,” one that extends beyond football.

Huntington in action (Photo by Jason O’Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images)Source: FOX SPORTS

“Having recently begun the long rehab process for my third ACL injury, in combination with the current part-time nature of the competition, it’s become increasingly clear to me that I can’t make life decisions solely based on football. With the opportunity to progress my studies and off-field work interstate, it is the right move for me at this time,” she said in a statement.

“I have absolutely adored my time at the Bulldogs across the past five years. I couldn’t be more thankful for what they have done for me and the connections I have built there. Pulling on the jumper 20 times with my teammates was an honour, and being involved in off-field endeavours such as working with the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation was equally memorable.

“I am saddened to leave behind such a wonderful club and group of people within it, but I’m very grateful for their genuine support for me as a person, not just a footballer. The care I have received from the staff and my teammates throughout my journey here has been unbelievable and I will be eternally grateful for their support.”

Dees do the business against Lions | 01:58

The Dogs will now begin conversations with Huntington’s management to facilitate a deal ahead of the AFLW sign and trade period.

“It’s disappointing for us to lose someone like Izzy, who has been a strong performer on field and an established leader off it, and with such a bright future as a player ahead of her” Bulldogs GM of Women’s Football Debbie Lee said.

“We fully understand Izzy’s need to move to Sydney for education and non-football related reasons, and we wish her well as she embarks the next stage on her football journey.

“Given Izzy’s standing in the game, her achievements to date and the Club’s investment in her development, we’ll work hard to ensure we are appropriately compensated through the AFLW’s player movement structure.”

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