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AFLW: The Cats' granted a second chance

Kate Darby will be a key forward target for the Cats in 2019 - Geelong Cats
Kate Darby will be a key forward target for the Cats in 2019

The addition of two teams for the 2019 NAB AFL Women's season means there are more list spots available, giving previously delisted players a chance to relaunch their careers at the top level.

Starting with the expansion club signing period, through the NAB AFLW Draft and concluding with the brief post-draft free agency window, nine players were given lifelines by new teams while two others return to their original clubs after being delisted.

Who are they, where have they been and what can supporters expect from them?

2017-listed players

Kirby Bentley (Fremantle to Carlton): A knee injury and subsequent surgery in September 2017 ruled Bentley out of Fremantle's 2018 campaign, but she had been one of their best in the 2017 season. Now working on indigenous programs for the AFL in Melbourne, Bentley will provide some leadership and experience to the Blues having joined them as a free agent.

Mia-Rae Clifford (Melbourne to Geelong): Clifford played all seven games for Melbourne in 2017 as a defender but impressed up forward for Geelong's VFL Women's side this winter. The Cats promoted her to their AFLW list after 15 goals in 17 games, locking her in as an open-age player during the expansion signing period.

Mia-Rae Clifford will pull on the blue and white hoops for Geelong in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Kate Darby (Carlton to Geelong): Key forward Darby will be a different prospect in 2019 from the inexperienced player who represented Carlton on two occasions in 2017. Darby spent the past two seasons with Geelong's VFLW team, kicking 36 goals in 19 games, and was picked by the Cats as an open-age player during the expansion signing period.

Jordan Ivey (Carlton to Geelong): An injury-replacement signing for Carlton in 2017, Ivey played two games that season. A torn ACL in her right knee sustained in May that year while playing for Geelong's VFLW side meant she wasn't re-drafted for 2018, but the Cats pounced on the creative forward as an open-age signing. She returned to playing in July this year.

Maddy Keryk (Carlton to Geelong): It was an odd second season for Keryk, who was picked for only two games in 2018 after playing six of seven for the Blues the year before. The inside midfielder went to a new level playing for Geelong's VFLW team in 2018 and was rewarded when the Cats drafted her last week.

Meg McDonald (Western Bulldogs to Geelong): Signed as a free agent after being overlooked in the 2016 draft, McDonald made an impact for the Bulldogs late in the 2017 season as a tall forward. Was delisted after that season and has played consistently for VFLW side Darebin (31 games in the past two seasons). Geelong signed McDonald as an open-age player after she reinvented herself as a rebound defender.

Jordan Membrey (Brisbane to Collingwood): Membrey, an explosive midfielder, has reignited her AFLW career after playing five games for Brisbane in 2017, including the losing Grand Final. Drafted with pick 51 by Collingwood, she will be moving south after nominating for the Victorian zone of the state-based draft. Membrey impressed this year while captaining Gold Coast in the Winter Series.

Renee Tomkins (Greater Western Sydney): The key defender played 11 of a possible 14 games for the Giants in her first two years at the club but was delisted at the end of the 2018 season. Tomkins was rewarded for a strong AFL Sydney season with Penrith-Auburn Giants, finishing fifth in the League best and fairest and being re-drafted by the Giants with pick 65.

Defender Renee Tomkins will return to the Giants. Picture: AFL Photos

Hayley Trevean (Carlton to Geelong): A free agent signing for Carlton, Trevean played just one game in round seven of the 2017 season, battling a stress fracture in her foot. From Bendigo, the contested forward played for Geelong VFLW's team over the past two years and was signed as an open-age player.

2018-listed players

Maddie Shevlin (Melbourne to Collingwood): A raw rookie for Melbourne in 2018, Shevlin didn't play a game in a strong team but impressed with her work-rate and enthusiasm on the track. The running midfielder had a blinding VFLW season, winning Casey's best and fairest award. The Magpies drafted her with pick 19.

Haneen Zreika (Greater Western Sydney): A rookie in 2018 for Greater Western Sydney, Zreika didn't manage a game in her first season. The tough inside midfielder is now a senior-listed player for the Giants after being re-drafted with pick 69. Zreika finished equal-first in the AFL Sydney best and fairest award playing for the Penrith-Auburn Giants, but was ineligible for the award after a suspension.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs