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AFLW: South West star signs as free agent

Fremantle have signed former Carlton player Katie-Jayne Grieve as a free agent.

Katie-Jayne Grieve’s rise to the Fremantle AFLW list has almost been as fast as her pace on the football field.

The 21-year-old outside midfielder only started playing the game two years ago, where she finished runner-up in South Bunbury’s best and fairest and named in the 2017 South West Football League team of the year.

Her tenacity saw her picked up by Carlton on the rookie list where she broke through to play two AFLW games in 2018.

Grieve returned to WA to play for the Peel Thunderbirds for the 2018 WAWFL season and won the club’s best and fairest in a year where they finished second on the ladder.

She said she learnt a lot from her time at Carlton but added it was an easy decision to return to WA to play closer to home.

“Moving to Melbourne was a massive change, going from a town with four sets of traffic lights to a lot!” Grieve said.

“I had good support from the club. I learnt a lot about myself, nutrition and the physical side of the game and also developing a strong mindset for the season. 

“Playing in Perth is nowhere near as far and that’s one of the reasons I decided to stay at home.

“The support network that I have down here, you can’t get that anywhere else, so it’s really nice to be back.”

Grieve’s fast-track to the AFLW almost happened by chance.

When playing for South Bunbury, she was spotted by a local who saw she an ability that could take her far in football. 

“I had a mentor help me and put me through some training sessions to build me up,” Grieve said.

“He loves footy, he’s a passionate bloke. I didn’t know him at the time but he was just happy to help and he’s been a massive part of my life since.”

Grieve feels it’s only a matter of time until more players from her local league push for the AFLW. 

“I played a couple games in the South West (as well as) the WAWFL season (in 2018), and the talent is definitely growing after only one year,” Grieve said.

“The competition has definitely lifted, from the experience and physicality of the girls.

“There are more women getting noticed and there’s a lot more coming out to play, so they’ll definitely find the talent down there.”

Fremantle senior coach Trent Cooper is confident Grieve's impressive rise is yet to reach its peak.

“We’re really excited to add Katie-Jayne to our list,” Cooper said. 

“She will bring a rare mix of high speed and hardness to our midfield.

“She showed considerable improvement through her time in our academy and, having only played about 20 games of football in her career, we think she has a massive upside.”

Grieve’s signing completes Fremantle’s list for 2019, wrapping up an off-season signing period that also saw eight players come through the draft and two as rookies.

“Now we have our list finalised, we can fully focus our efforts on hitting the ground running when pre-season commences in mid-November,” Cooper said. 

“We have a group of 31 talented footballers and we are confident their excellent character will ensure they do everything they can to deliver for the Fremantle fans in 2019.”

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