Gold Coast SUNS have added a touch of flair to its AFLW list with Gaelic Football star Niamh McLaughlin signing on for the 2023 AFLW season.
McLaughlin, currently captain of Donegal, joins the SUNS following an esteemed career in Ireland where she was recently named GAA Ladies Senior Football Player of the Year and awarded a maiden All-Star Award.
The 29-year-old will soon become a tri-code athlete having also represented Ireland in soccer at Under 17 and Under 19 levels as well as stints at world-renowned English clubs Newcastle and Sunderland.
“I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity and the chance to push myself into something new,” McLaughlin said.
“The opportunities have become more available to girls to make the transition from Gaelic football to the AFLW. The skills are quite transferrable and it’s a new challenge with a new lifestyle for me, which is exciting.”
“The conversations I’ve had with (Head Coach) Cameron (Joyce) and (Head of Women’s Football) Fiona (Sessarago) have been positive and I’m looking forward to the new adventure.”
Known for her creativity and explosive speed in transition, McLaughlin will become the second Irishwoman on the SUNS AFLW list alongside Clara Fitzpatrick who joined the club last week as part of a five-team mega trade.
“Niamh is a fantastic addition to our AFLW program. Not only is she an exciting talent on-field, but her natural leadership qualities that she’s shown throughout her career is something that will be of great benefit to our developing squad,” GC SUNS Head of Women’s Football Fiona Sessarago said.
“We look forward to welcoming Niamh to the Gold Coast and the GC SUNS.”
The club has now added five new faces to its AFLW list with McLaughlin joining Maddy Brancatisano (Richmond), Jordan Membrey (Collingwood), Clara Fitzpatrick (St Kilda) and Ella Maurer (North Melbourne) who all joined the club during the AFLW Sign & Trade Period.
The SUNS have also bolstered its draft hand throughout the Sign & Trade Period, adding Pick 6 to its haul which now includes Pick 6, 10, 28 & 46 at the upcoming NAB AFLW Draft.