TWENTY-FOUR Demons have turned their back on the AFLW Sign and Trade Period, staying loyal to Melbourne for the upcoming season. 

Despite plenty of player movement in the league with four expansion clubs joining the competition, the Dees have been able to retain the majority of their playing list in 2022. 

Twenty of the Melbourne players to have put pen to paper on Wednesday afternoon pulled on the boots in the club’s Grand Final appearance two months ago, strengthening its chances to compete strongly again in Season Seven. 

As announced last month, captain Daisy Pearce will be back in the red and blue come the commencement of the season in August, as will the remainder of the Demons’ nine-member leadership squad. 

That includes Karen Paxman, Libby Birch, Maddi Gay, Tyla Hanks, Kate Hore, Sarah Lampard, Lily Mithen and Lauren Pearce, who have all agreed to terms, holding the core group of the club together. 

The leaders will be joined by the youth, with 2020 draftees Alyssa Bannan, Megan Fitzsimon and Eliza McNamara all sticking around, which is exciting for the future. 

Last year’s gun recruits – Tayla Harris, Olivia Purcell and Eliza West – have also agreed to another season with the Dees, while consistent contributors Eden Zanker and Casey Sherriff have signed on as well. 

The Dees’ backline will remain strong with Gabby Colvin, Shelley Heath and Sinead Goldrick continuing their stay with Melbourne, while the commitment of Georgia Campbell, Tahlia Gillard, Maggie Caris and Alison Brown rounds out a significant day for the club.

List Manager Todd Patterson was thrilled to be able to secure this wealth of talent, setting his side up for another positive campaign. 

“Our players have made a significant statement, that together as a group they believe they can take the next step towards success and that we have built a program and environment that can facilitate that,” he said. 

“The expansion period was always going to be challenging, but for the players to forego significant offers that came their way is really powerful. It’s something that provides us with lots of energy as we kick-start our pre-season campaign.” 

Melbourne has also added Jordan Ivey and Charlotte Wilson to its list in the Sign and Trade Period, bolstering its stocks on top of the retention strategy. 

“To be able to bring in quality people with great football ability and potential, in such a challenging player movement market, is exciting for the team and will help us keep evolving,” Patterson said. 

“I’m really confident both Charlotte and Jordan will quickly become much loved and important members of our side.” 

Throughout this time, the club has parted ways with Shelley Scott (Geelong), Jackie Parry (Geelong), Brenna Tarrant (Sydney), Krstel Petrevski (West Coast) and Isabella Simmons (West Coast). 

“We’re thankful for all the players’ contributions and trust they see themselves as Melbourne people for life,” Patterson said.  

“From here, we will add a couple of more pieces to our group in the next week as we then progress on to executing three picks at the AFLW Draft, which we are really excited to be a part of.”