It was a Wednesday full of mixed emotions as the third day of the 2019 AFLW Sign and Trade period came to an end.
Melbourne have made their first big move of the Sign and Trade period by re-signing All Australian duo Karen Paxman and Lauren Pearce on two-year contracts.
The pair, as well as forward Aliesha Newman, were highly sought-after by opposition clubs following a standout 2019 season, but they have committed to Melbourne along with 15 of their teammates.
“It’s a great sign for the club that so many girls want to stick around for next year,” FLW List Manager Todd Patterson said.
“We’re really confident with what we’re building here, and we wanted to hold onto the core group of players.”
Co-captains Elise O’Dea and Shelley Scott are among the players to put pen to paper during the signing period, along with vice-captain Sarah Lampard who rounds out the leadership group.
Star forward Tegan Cunningham will also be pulling on the red and blue again in her third year of footy while Maddi Gay also recommit, along with fellow midfielders Kate Hore and Lily Mithen.
The Demons backline will remain strong with the signatures of Harriet Cordner, Chantel Emonson, Katherine Smith and Shae Sloane, while some talented youngsters have also agreed to remain with the Dees.
“We have signed up a really good balance of girls which we think is important,” Patterson said.
“Obviously to hold onto those younger players is crucial, but to re-sign girls from all three lines across the field will hold us in a good position for next season."
Co-captain Ellie Blackburn, defender Hannah Scott and rising star Isabel Huntington have committed to the Club for at least the next two AFLW seasons.
The Club’s first pick in the 2018 NAB AFLW Draft, Eleanor Brown, 2018 Rising Star nominee Bonnie Toogood and the Bulldogs’ first ever AFLW goalkicker Kirsten McLeod have also committed to the Club for the 2020 AFLW season.
Midfielders Kirsty Lamb and Naomi Ferres, and key defender Lauren Spark, have signed two-year deals.