Fremantle have continued to lock away their AFLW playing list with a further six players agreeing to new deals to round out the first week of the AFL Women’s Sign and Trade Period.
All-Australian defender Janelle Cuthbertson headlines the group alongside Tiah Toth (nee Haynes), up-and-coming midfielders Jasmin Stewart, Bianca Webb and Matilda Sergeant and young forward Mikayla Hyde.
They join Stephanie Cain and Ange Stannett as players who have signed-on so far this off-season.
Cuthbertson said she was excited to commit to Fremantle alongside a number of her teammates.
“I think we’re all on the same bus and heading in the same direction,” Cuthbertson said.
“It’s really exciting, we have got such a tightknit group. We have been building over the past two years and, as a collective, we are so close.
"We also know we have got some work to do and that we have got to keep working through the off-season.
“They are such a good group of girls and all bring different things to the table in terms of their attitude, their character and their skills.
“We have got such a dynamic group which really shines. I think it’s something really special and something we can keep building on.”
Fremantle have locked away Cuthbertson, the most senior player on the list at 30, for the maximum length of two more seasons, which will see her be the key pillar down back in Season 6 and 7 of the AFLW.
A former tennis player, Cuthbertson is still relatively new to football and, despite winning the All Australian and finishing third in Fremantle’s fairest and best in 2021, still feels she can improve her game.
“I’m embracing (being the eldest) now! For me, age is just a number really. I think I’ve still got a lot to offer in the sense that the game is still quite new to me, but as an athlete, I think I’m quite mature,” Cuthbertson said.
“I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to improve in my game and can still develop and give something back to the club and back to the team, which is really exciting.
“I think I can definitely reflect now on the season, finishing in the top three in the B&F and managing to do that with a broken rib, it gives me a lot of confidence to really get a good pre-pre-season under my belt, stay healthy and go into pre-season firing and see how I can keep developing as a player and as an athlete.”
Only three years into her football career, Cuthbertson said it was her teammates that made her new sport so enjoyable to play.
“(I love football) because it’s such a contrast to tennis, tennis is such an individual sport and it’s quite a lonely sport. Football is the different end of the spectrum,” Cuthbertson said.
“You have 29 other people on a list around you, you could individually be having a good or bad game, but as a team, you could be winning as well.
“I love the team factor, I love the physical nature of it. As an athlete I have had to learn different skills and different strengths and change my body shape and body type and develop a different kind of fitness which I’ve really thrived and enjoyed that challenge.
“Football has been really refreshing for me. I’m the type of personality where when I find something I enjoy I’ll just give it everything, and I’ve literally loved every minute of it.
“It really helps when you have got such a supportive club that just embraces the AFLW program. We have got such a good list with good personalities and good characters on the team. I love being around the club and the girls.”