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Meath star Vikki Wall closes in on AFLW move, Sarah Rowe considering Sydney interest

Clubs have been in contact with the Dunboyne forward since before the 2021 All-Ireland final.

Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

2021 PLAYER OF the Year and Meath star Vikki Wall is closing in on an AFLW move, The42 understands. 

There has been huge interest in Wall since her 2021 success, although many reacted too late with discussions already underway. She travelled to Australia in 2019 as part of the combine and has been working on her game sense and ball skills since.

The Dunboyne forward has narrowed her choice down to two. Wall and a number of intercounty players are understood to be working with Talent ID and AFLW skills coach Mike Currane.

Interested clubs have been informed during negotiations that Wall will not travel until after Meath’s season comes to an end. That exception is expected in order to sign a player of her calibre. 

Elsewhere, Mayo and Collingwood star Sarah Rowe is weighing up a move to new AFL outfit Sydney Swans. Earlier this month Code Sports reported that Rowe is a key target for the Swans.

Rowe is currently in her third year with Melbourne-based Collingwood. They are in action on Sunday in the qualifying final against Brisbane.

aflw-magpies-kangaroos Source: AAP/PA Images

Former Pies assistant coach Scott Gowans worked with Rowe previously before he became Sydney’s inaugural AFLW coach. The Mayo star has enjoyed a superb 2022 season and would be a marquee signing for the new club.

The majority of contracts have an opt-out clause as the current collective-bargaining agreement ends in 2022. That combined with the upcoming expectation ensures it will be a hectic offseason. 

Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney are all set to join the league next season, rounding out all 18 clubs. That campaign is likely to kick off in August. 

The new start date complicates matters for the Irish contingent Down Under. The All-Ireland ladies football finals are fixed for 31 July.

North Melbourne’s Aileen Gilroy has already confirmed she will not be returning to the Mayo panel this year. The42 also understands West Coast Eagles midfielder Aisling McCarthy has informed Tipperary she will not be available this season. 

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McCarthy was runner-up in the Eagles 2021 Best and Fairest but fractured her wrist last February and missed the rest of the campaign. 

Because of the uncertainty around the start date, Some players, such as Melbourne’s Sinéad Goldrick, will be allowed miss pre-season in order to play county football this year. Her AFLW and Dublin team-mate Lauren Magee is likely to depart the club after struggling for game-time. Representations on her behalf have been made to other outfits in recent weeks.

Melbourne are set to make history next week as the AFLW confirmed their preliminary final will take place at the famed Melbourne Cricket Ground. 

On Saturday, April 2 the Demons will play the winner of this Sunday’s qualifying final between Brisbane and Collingwood. 

GWS Giants want their Irish duo, Cora Staunton and Brid Stack, to return for another season. Both were leading performers for the club on and off the field in 2022. 

Irish players still involved in the 2022 AFLW Final Series 

  • Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions / Tipperary)
  • Sarah Rowe (Collingwood / Mayo)
  • Aishling Sheridan (Collingwood / Cavan)
  • Áine Tighe (Fremantle / Leitrim)
  • Sinéad Goldrick (Melbourne / Dublin)
  • Lauren Magee (Melbourne / Dublin)
  • Ailish Considine (Clare / Adelaide Crows).

About the author:

Maurice Brosnan

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