Geelong has elevated Kate Darby to its 2022 AFLW list as a replacement for Renee Garing, who will miss the season while starting a family.

Darby is returning after welcoming daughter Ella into the world earlier this year. She has been training with the Cats through the preseason.

Darby has played 10 games and kicked six goals with the Cats. She also played two games with Carlton in the inaugural AFLW campaign.

“Kate has been outstanding in her training and preparation since returning, and we are thrilled that she now has the opportunity to be a member of our primary list for the 2022 season,” Geelong’s head of women’s football and pathways Brett Johnson said.

“Starting a family is a joyous time, and we have worked with Kate to ensure that she has been able to combine parenthood with her desire to continue as an elite athlete and part of our program.

“We are equally thrilled that Renee is expecting and will be starting a family with her husband Tony. Our club believes that players should be supported to combine their family life and desire to pursue or continue their careers in AFLW. We will continue to work alongside players to ensure an environment that allows for the combination of family and footy.”

Garing announced early this month that she and her husband Tony are expecting their first child in 2022. Garing will remain actively involved with the team throughout the season. Garing has played all 23 games in the Cats AFLW history and has twice placed in the top four of the best & fairest count.