Trade Period preview: Dees bracing for exodus, Tigers eye reinforcements

ALL ROADS lead to Melbourne ahead of the 2020 AFLW Sign and Trade Period, while Richmond is set to bring in four players.

The Demons have a whopping six players (a fifth of their list), headed by star midfielder Elise O'Dea, expected to land at other clubs over the 10-day period, which kicks off on Monday at noon. 

O'Dea, who co-captained the club during Daisy Pearce's pregnancy in 2019, is a contracted player but now wishes to continue her career at Carlton. 

The expectation is the deal won't be straightforward and it could take some days for an agreement to be reached.

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With an older list and a tight soft cap, the Demons are looking towards the NAB AFLW Draft, having only made four relatively late selections in the 2019 edition.

Melbourne key defender Harriet Cordner (Richmond), utility Bianca Jakobsson (St Kilda), speedsters Aliesha Newman (Collingwood) and Maddy Guerin (Carlton) and young leader Katherine Smith (has been linked to both GWS and Gold Coast) are expected to be at different clubs in 2021.

The two other high-profile deals expected to be completed involve Carlton's Sarah Hosking and Collingwood's Sarah D'Arcy, with the duo linked to Richmond.

After a winless first season, the Tigers were granted "competition assistance" in the form of an end-of-first-round draft pick (15), under the condition it was traded to another team to bring in mature talent. It will be heading to Ikon Park in return for Hosking.

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Richmond's head of women's footy Kate Sheahan and recruiter Lauren Tesoriero are former Pies players, and D'Arcy won't be the only Collingwood player heading to Punt Road, with improving midfielder Sarah Dargan also on the move. 

Top sides North Melbourne and Fremantle will be looking towards list maintenance rather than wholesale changes, with the Dockers set to re-sign young stars Roxy Roux, Hayley Miller and Mim Strom.

Adelaide, GWS, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs are set to take a comparatively small part in the trade period, while Geelong and Brisbane will be very quiet.

West Coast and Gold Coast – who both played their first seasons in the AFLW this year – are reportedly looking towards the draft, although the Eagles will snare Irish Bulldogs midfielder Aisling McCarthy in return for their own competition assistance draft pick (16).

Other moves to watch:

- Jayde Van Dyk, who missed most of 2020 with an ankle injury, to move from Carlton to St Kilda

- Young Pies forward Katie Lynch is expected to head to the Western Bulldogs

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- Tasmanian Abbey Green to swap from North Melbourne to Collingwood, shoring up its ruck division following the retirement of Eliza Hynes

- First-year Dog Hannah Munyard to return home to South Australia and play for Adelaide. A second-round pick has been mentioned as a possible trade

The trade period will finish at 2pm 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 (there are four levels of pay) 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.