Gold Coast has locked in 13 players from its inaugural AFLW campaign to don the red and gold once again in 2021.
On the final day of the re-signing window during the AFLW Sign & Trade period, the SUNS lodged the paperwork which would see these players, headlined by AFLW All Australian Kalinda Howarth, re-sign with the club.
Howarth was Gold Coast’s leading goal-scorer in 2020 with nine goals from seven games, earning her a maiden NAB AFLW All Australian jacket and the Members’ Player of the Year award at the SUNS’ Club Champion.
Also amongst the players to re-sign are reigning AFLW Club Champion joint Runners-Up Jade Pregelj and Lauren Ahrens who both ranked inside the top five for intercept possessions league-wide last season.
An exciting core of young talent has also signed on, with midfielders Jacqui Yorston, Ellie Hampson, Molly Ritson and Dee Heslop signing new contracts alongside defenders Serene Watson and Cheyenne Hammond.
They are joined by older heads Hannah Dunn and Kate Surman who were both revelations in the midfield for the SUNS in 2020 along with Brittany Perry in the forward line.
Rounding out the list of re-signings is veteran Tiarna Ernst who took out the club’s Most Professional award this year while also proving vital in the SUNS’ leadership group.
SUNS Head of Women’s Football Fiona McLarty said it was exciting for the club to have 24 players in total locked in for the 2021 season.
“We are extremely pleased to have these 13 players re-commit to the club for next season,” McLarty said.
“We had a focus on building a great culture and footballing program in our inaugural AFLW season which saw us make finals for the first time in club history.
“We have retained the large majority of our playing group from last season and are in a great position to strengthen our list at the 2020 AFLW Draft.”
Four of the 13 players are SUNS Academy graduates while 10 are Queensland footballing products.
The AFLW Sign and Trade Period runs until Friday August 21.
Gold Coast’s Re-signings:
#5 Jacqui Yorston
#7 Lauren Ahrens
#12 Molly Ritson
#14 Serene Watson
#16 Brittany Perry
#19 Tiarna Ernst
#21 Ellie Hampson
#23 Kalinda Howarth
#24 Hannah Dunn
#25 Dee Heslop
#26 Kate Surman
#29 Cheyenne Hammond
#42 Jade Pregelj
Key dates for the 2020 AFLW Sign and Trade Period:
Monday August 3
AFLW Sign & Trade Period commences (12pm)
Wednesday August 12
Trade period closes (2pm)
AFLW List Lodgement # 1 (4pm)
Monday August 17
Re-signing and Restricted Free Agent period closes (2pm)
AFLW List Lodgement # 2 (4pm)
Friday August 21
Delisted Free Agent period closes (2pm)
AFLW List Lodgement # 3 (4pm)
AFLW Draft order confirmed