Fremantle have made some big off-season AFLW signings, securing the signatures of two star Irish Gaelic football players to play for Freo in season 2020.
Aine Tighe of Leiterim and Kate Flood of Louth, both 27, join as rookie signings and are set to fill two crucial positional needs at the club.
Senior coach Trent Cooper said he expects to see Tighe fill Fremantle’s current ruck void, with the 185cm player impressing Freo recruiters with her athleticism.
“The girls were identified firstly through CrossCoders, who supplied vision of over 30 International Rookie prospects and then run a camp for them in Athlone, Ireland," Cooper said.
“We’re really excited to get Aine on board, obviously we have a list deficiency in the ruck so to have someone who is 185cm in itself is great but she’s so athletic, she runs really well and I think she’ll translate to AFLW really quickly,” Cooper said.
“To have her on board is going to be fantastic. Her athleticism is next level for someone of that height and we think she’ll adapt really quickly. We can’t wait to see her arrive at the club later in the year.”
Flood joins Fremantle as a potential forward who has experience at the elite level in Gaelic football and soccer.
“Kate is a power forward who has really good goal sense which I think will translate well to our game,” Cooper said.
“She has played premier league soccer as well, so she’s got the skills in both codes.
“She can use both sides of her body, she’s very athletic, she’s a high-speed, high-energy player who I think will suit our game style really well.
“It was extremely valuable to attend the camp, see both Kate and Aine in action and get to know them and their families better before they make the big move to Australia later in the year.”
Flood said she was thrilled to join Freo and to start playing in a professional environment.
“It’s a massive achievement, I never thought in a million years that someone from the countryside in Ireland would be able to go over to Australia and play in such a professional setup and professional sport,” Flood said.
“Here in Ireland, there’s nothing like that for women or men; it’s all amateur sport, so I’m really excited and I can’t wait for it.”
The pair are set to arrive in Australia in November to commence training with the club.
Tighe said she couldn’t wait to get started with her new sport.
“I’m really looking forward to getting over there and getting into the thick of the practice,” Tighe said.
“The (Australian Rules) games I’ve played here have been great to get a feel for it.
“That’s making it all the more real I think. Just getting over, getting started into the actual games, match sim and stuff like that to see what it’s really like.”
Flood joked that there was an additional motivation for heading down under.
“I’m looking forward to the sun and getting a tan!” Flood said.
“But it’s also the facilities and the way they train.
“At home we might only do strength and conditioning once every two weeks but over there, it’s done after your training session and there’s all the recovery facilities too.
“It’s the whole lot, I’m really looking forward to it.”