The Gold Coast SUNS have completed a trade with Essendon which will see versatile winger Bess Keaney depart the club. 

In exchange, The SUNS receive pick 53 in the upcoming AFLW Draft.

Keaney has played an integral role over four years at the SUNS having held a position as vice-captain for the last three seasons.

The 31-year-old was twice named as the side’s Most Professional and most recently received the 2023 Coach’s Award at Sunday afternoon’s Club Champion event.

Keaney says that it was a difficult decision to make but it was one that’s in the best interest of her and her family.

“Thank you to the SUNS staff, under the leadership of Fiona, Joycey and Craig, for the support they’ve provided to me over the past four seasons. On and off the field, I’ve been given every opportunity to grow as a footballer and as a person,” Keaney said.   

“The playing group is in a great place under the leadership of Tara, Jac and Claudia, with an exciting crop of emerging leaders coming through. 

“For Lucas and I, the time is right to relocate back to Melbourne. We moved up for what we initially thought would be six months – and that was three years ago now. We’re both lucky to be part of big extended families and the pull to be back home is strong. We’ve made great memories on the Coast, including getting married here last year, so it will always be a special place for us. 

 “I’m grateful to the Club for making this our home for three years and very excited to continue my footy journey closer to family,” Keaney said.

GC SUNS Head of Women’s Football Fiona Sessarago reinforced Keaney’s impact during her tenure at the SUNS.

“Bess has been an incredible contributor to our AFLW program over the last four seasons and will leave a strong legacy,” Sessarago said.

“As vice-captain, she has displayed the utmost professionalism and a desire to get the best out of herself and her teammates. She will have a lasting impact on our program for years to come.

“While we are disappointed to be losing a player and leader of Bess’s calibre, we will always support what’s in the best interest of our players and their families.”

The AFLW Trade Period concludes at 1pm AEST today.

Trade Summary:

SUNS receive: Pick 53
SUNS send: Bess Keaney, Pick 72