The AFLW Sign and Trade period commenced on Monday with Fremantle looking to retain the bulk of the playing list that went unbeaten in the 2020 NAB AFL Women’s season.
Senior coach Trent Cooper said the club and players were hungry to keep building after the 2020 season was called off.
“Our main goals are to retain as much of our current list from this year,” Cooper said.
“We are obviously really pleased with our season but, even more importantly than that, we’re really pleased with how well the girls have gelled together and they have got unfinished business, so we want to go in with a similar group as possible for 2021.”
Fremantle had a relatively young playing lists in 2020 and Cooper was confident that improvement can come in house without needing to trade for existing talent.
“Last year we drafted for performance and for the future. There are a lot of young girls that performed really well and we’re looking to sign them to maintain that forward momentum,” Cooper said.
“We also have 12 players who are already locked in as they signed to two-year contracts from last year.
“It’s not a case of having to sign everyone this year and we’re really confident that we can put a group out that the Purple Army will recognise as being very similar to the 2020 group.”
Cooper acknowledged that Fremantle would have to make some tough decisions with at least three delistings required under AFLW regulations to make room for new draftees.
“(The delistings) are going to be really difficult because we’ve had so many contributors this year to our program and it’s going to be a difficult situation with at least three players not being on the list at the end of this sign and trade period,” Cooper said.
“To be honest, we haven’t made the decision on exactly what that looks like yet, depending on how the next week and a half goes.
“We’ll get to that point, that’s always one of the things we’re least looking forward to, particularly this year as everyone contributed to what was a fantastic season.”
The trade period runs until 12pm WST on Wednesday 12 August, however players can continue to be re-signed and restricted free agents – a new status in 2020 – can move clubs until 2pm on Monday, 17 August.
Players qualify for restricted free agent status if their club offer a lower-tier contract than they were previously on. If a rival club has a better offer, their existing club can either match or allow the player to freely move.
Delisted free agents may still find a new home until 2pm, Friday 21 August, after which the AFLW draft order will be confirmed.
Clubs can sign up to 27 players (including up to three rookies) before the draft, a date for which has not yet been set.