Birch AFLW move looms as teammates traded to Hawks

Anna Harrington |

Melbourne Demons star Casey Sherriff has secured an AFLW move to Hawthorn.
Melbourne Demons star Casey Sherriff has secured an AFLW move to Hawthorn.

Star Melbourne defender Libby Birch’s bid to join North Melbourne looms as one of the defining deals of the AFLW trade period as rival clubs raid the Demons’ list.

The fallout from Melbourne’s straight-sets finals exit, after they were red-hot favourites to win back-to-back premierships, has spilled into the trade period, with Birch requesting a move to the grand finalists on Friday.

The Demons have historically been able to avoid losing players to other clubs, with retiring great Daisy Pearce the only member of last season’s premiership team to depart at the end of that campaign.

That changed on Friday when Eliza West, who was dropped for Melbourne’s qualifying final loss to North Melbourne, moved to Hawthorn with fellow premiership player Casey Sherriff.

The Hawks sent draft picks No.5 and No.26 to Melbourne in exchange for Sherriff, West and pick No.16.

“Not only will Casey and Eliza’s playing abilities enhance our young and developing squad, but so too will their knowledge of what it takes to win an AFLW flag,” Hawthorn AFLW list manager Mitchell Cashion said.

Birch was also linked to the Hawks before North Melbourne, whose grand final loss to Brisbane included a purple patch from Lions key forward Dakota Davidson, swooped.

The Kangaroos announced on Friday that skipper Emma Kearney, Birch’s premiership teammate at the Western Bulldogs in 2018, had signed a two-year deal.

Melbourne skipper and league-leading goalkicker Kate Hore and vice-captain and star midfielder Tyla Hanks have signed a four-year extension until the end of 2027.

Later on Friday, Fremantle snared Irish gun Aisling McCarthy from crosstown rivals West Coast.

The Dockers coughed up pick No.27 plus forward Roxy Roux to snare hard-running midfielder McCarthy.

“She’s a powerful player who is very versatile in her role,” Dockers AFLW boss Darryn Fry said. 

“She’s played inside mid, has the capacity to play forward and kick goals and we believe she will be a real asset to our group.

“Aish is also well connected with our existing Irish players, so we feel coming into the Freo family will be really seamless for her.”

Carlton landed Yasmin Duursma from Port Adelaide, trading pick No.21 to the Power for the winger and pick No.25.

Duursma’s older brother Xavier departed the Power for Essendon in this year’s AFL trade period while younger brother Zane was drafted to North Melbourne at pick No.4.

Earlier on Friday, Brisbane youngster Zimmorlei Farquharson, who was on the Lions’ inactive list this season, joined the Bulldogs.

The wooden spooners gave up their third-round pick (No.41) in the draft for the 21-year-old, who has booted 12 goals in 17 games.