The Gold Coast SUNS are thrilled to welcome Claudia Whitfort to the club after a trade was secured with St Kilda in the AFLW Sign & Trade period.

The SUNS exchanged pick 36 for the young midfielder who earnt selection in the AFL Players’ Association 22Under22 squad in 2021.

Whitfort was originally drafted by Melbourne with pick 30 in the 2017 NAB AFLW draft and has played 14 AFLW matches in her four seasons in the league.

The 21-year-old said she was excited to be joining the SUNS and continue her blossoming career on the Gold Coast.

“I’m absolutely stoked to be joining the SUNS and be a part of such an exciting group of AFLW players,” Whitfort said.

“I’ve been super impressed by the club and the people and think it’s a great opportunity for me to continue to develop my football, especially with a new coach for next season.

“I would like to thank St Kilda for the opportunities they gave me but can’t wait to move to the Gold Coast and meet all my new teammates.”

In 2021 Whitfort averaged 11 disposals from her seven games and also kicked two goals.

SUNS Head of Women’s Football Fiona Sessarago said Whitfort would add another dimension to the team’s midfield.

“We’re really excited to have Claudia on board as an experienced player joining our talented young group,” Sessarago said.

“Claudia is an extremely versatile midfielder and has great athletic traits with her speed and power which we think will complement our existing mix very well.”

“We can’t wait to get her up to the Gold Coast and see her in SUNS colours soon.”

Whitfort has family in Queensland and off the field works as a lifeguard while studying a science degree.

The SUNS currently have five list positions still available ahead of the close of the Trade period on Wednesday and the NAB AFLW Draft later this year.