The North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos will look to take another leap forward next season, after retaining 24 of their 30 players from their 2021 AFLW list.
Headlining the signings are All-Australian squad members Emma King and Ash Riddell, with the duo locking in extensions until at least the end of 2023, as well as star midfielder Jenna Bruton.
Riddell continues to be a shining light through the midfield, after arguably her career-best year, averaging 22 disposals.
Fellow on-ball star Emma King had a strong year, averaging 19.4 hit-outs in the ruck, while 2019 club best and fairest winner Bruton had another terrific year averaging 18.1 disposals through the midfield.
The trio are joined by teammates Tahlia Randall, Aileen Gilroy, Dani Hardiman, and Ellie Gavalas.
Randall was named in the AFLPA’s 22under22 team this year, while Gilroy and Hardiman capped off their best seasons at the club, both finishing in the top-10 in the best and fairest.
Gavalas has been a huge improver through the midfield over her two seasons with the Kangaroos, culminating in a top five best and fairest finish in 2021.
Emerging Roos Daria Bannister, Mia King, Bella Eddey and Alice O’Loughlin have also committed to the club’s future, signing until at least the end of the 2023 season. Fellow young talents Daisy Bateman, Brooke Brown, Elisha King and Amy Smith have also put pen to paper for 2022.
Bannister burst back onto the AFLW scene after an injury-interrupted 2020 campaign, booting six goals for the season and turning down significant rival interest to re-commit her future to the Kangaroos.
Both King and Eddey played all nine home-and-away games this season, making their impact down forward and through the midfield, while O’Loughlin showed promising signs playing the first two games before sustaining an ankle injury. Bateman’s improvement was rewarded with a Rising Star Nomination in Round 6.
Defensive pillars Jess Duffin and Nicole Bresnehan have signed one year-deals, while hard-nuts Britt Gibson and Grace Campbell have also re-committed.
Midfield superstars Emma Kearney, Kaitlyn Ashmore and Jas Garner remain contracted until at least the end of 2022, as well as Sarah Wright and Sophie Abbatangelo.
North AFLW list and performance manager, Rhys Harwood, said keeping the core group together was the number one priority through the sign and trade period.
“We’ve been really clear about where we want to go and the team we want to become over the coming seasons from both a personnel and on-field system point of view,” Harwood said.
“Fundamentally our primary objective was to keep our core playing group together, and to be able to retain 24 players for the 2022-23 season and beyond is a testament to the environment, connection and feeling at the club.
“While retention has been a critical pillar of our strategy, we are also mindful that change is necessary to continue to grow and improve as a team.
“We were deliberate in our approach to take the opportunity to significantly strengthen our position for the 2021 AFLW Draft, and to hold three selections in the first two rounds, including two inside the first 12 Victorian selections, gives us a great scope to bring in some elite talent.
“The culture we’ve built here at North is obviously one the players want to be a part of and the girls are already working hard to best prepare themselves for the upcoming pre-season."