Lions look on the bright side after player exodus

THE BLEEDING for Brisbane's AFL Women's team might not be finished yet, but the club is taking a "glass half full" approach to the player exodus that has marred its off-season.

Captain Leah Kaslar, vice-captain Sam Virgo and youngster Jacqui Yorston were the latest players to confirm their departures on Monday – all headed to expansion team Gold Coast.

Paige Parker and Tori Groves-Little have also joined the Suns, while dual All Australian Sabrina Frederick has already asked for a trade to a Melbourne club to be closer to her partner's family.

And there might be more players on the way out yet.

Best and fairest runner-up Nat Exon and speedster Kate McCarthy could also be gone, with St Kilda looming. However, depending on the number of other Lions who depart for expansion teams, the possible departures of Exon and McCarthy could be contingent on trades.

Exon is from Melbourne and has family reasons for returning.

Could Nat Exon be on her way out the door as well?

Teenager McKenzie Dowrick is also believed to be weighing up interest from West Coast, in what would amount to a return to her home state.

Ruck Lauren Bella will sign with Gold Coast after previously being a Suns Academy member.

Lions Women's CEO Bree Brock told womens.afl Brisbane was disappointed but philosophical about the turnover.

"Let's not sugarcoat it, we're not happy, but we have a good bunch of people who want to be here," Brock said.

"We're taking the glass half full approach.

"While it looks doom and gloom we can still only offer 22 contracts and we've secured 18 players, so we'll go to market and look at who we can get."

Amid the departures, Brisbane has locked away Kate Lutkins, Emily Bates, Jess Wuetschner and former skipper Emma Zielke in the past week.

Jess Wuetschner has re-signed with the Lions for another season

The Lions are also confident best and fairest and 2019 All Australian Ally Anderson will put pen to paper in coming days.

Although disappointed with a couple of the departures, Brock said there were a number of reasons players had left.

Kaslar lives on the Gold Coast and can save herself a three-hour return trip to training by playing for the Suns.

Put simply, Brisbane can't match the money being offered by other clubs in an expansion market.

They're no strangers to losing players, either.

Just 12 months ago Kaitlyn Ashmore, Brittany Gibson, Jamie Stanton and Tahlia Randall headed to North Melbourne.

The year before that it was golden girl Tayla Harris, who moved to Carlton.

"There are opportunities available out there for girls to not have to work as much, concentrate on their footy, get better, and that's what expansion has done," Brock said.

"We don't begrudge girls chasing those opportunities."

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