RICHMOND made its first big AFLW move, signing star forward Katie Brennan away from the Western Bulldogs.
The Tigers, who will enter the competition in 2020, announced Brennan will join the club on a two-year deal on Tuesday.
One of the competition’s original marquees for the debut season in 2017, Brennan captained the Western Bulldogs in their first two seasons and was co-captain this year with Ellie Blackburn.
She wasn’t a part of the Dogs’ premiership team in 2018 after she was controversially suspended from the grand final in a case that was headed to the Human Rights Commission before a deal was struck with the AFL.
“I feel like I need a fresh start with my football,” Brennan told reporters at a Punt Road press conference.
“It’s been a pretty challenging few years with some ankle injuries and missing the grand final.
“This is a fresh and exciting start, to build something really special and be a pioneer here at Richmond. It’s something that I will hold close to my heart.”
Richmond will enter an expanded 14-team league along with St Kilda, Gold Coast and West Coast, who follow this year’s inclusions Geelong and North Melbourne.
The Tigers, yet to name a coach for their AFLW side, already have a team in VFL women’s competition, which Brennan will play for in preparation for next year.
Brennan is expected to be named the club’s inaugural captain but will need to be voted into the role by her teammates.
The Bulldogs were disappointed to lose the talented forward, who they described as “someone we have supported through some difficult periods” in a statement released on Monday.
The 26-year-old, whose love for the game waned during a disappointing season for the Dogs, admitted it had been tough to relay her decision to her teammates and premiership-winning coach Paul Groves.
“I gave my heart and soul to that club, but sometimes in life you have to have those difficult conversations and continue to move through to the next chapter,” she said.
“I think we’ll always have really strong relationships. I’ve definitely gone with their blessing, I believe.
“We’ve parted on amazing terms and I’ll always speak highly of my time at the Bulldogs.
“I hope they would speak highly of me also. I gave a lot to that club (but) it’s an amazing thing to have a fresh start.”
© AAP 2019