K rock Football

VFLW stars get AFLW chance

Geelong VFLW ruck Olivia Fuller has been pre-listed by the Cats AFLW squad. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

GEELONG has rewarded Claudia Gunajca and Olivia Fuller for impressive seasons at VFLW level with a spot on the club’s AFLW list for next season.

The Cats have also revealed their first international signing with Irishwoman Rachel Kearns to don the Hoops.

Gunjaca and Fuller have been signed as part of the special assistance package provided to the Cats after they finished 13th on the ladder with only one win in 2021.

They have been key components in Geelong’s push for a first women’s premiership at any level, with the Cats set to face Essendon in a preliminary final when the VFLW season resumes.

Following the retirement of Michelle Fedele mid-season. 23-year-old Gunjaca, who won the Mostyn Medal as the AFL Sydney women’s best-and-fairest, was elevated to the captaincy of the VFLW team.

Originally from Geelong West, Gunjaca was a training partner with the AFLW team earlier this year.

A talented underage basketballer, 21-year-old Fuller represented South Australia at under-18 level before making a move to football.

The ruck/forward had played 15 of a possible 16 VFLW matches, including both of Geelong’s two finals, before the season was paused.

“Claudia and Olivia made a great impression across the VFLW season, and their perseverance has paid off,” Geelong’s AFLW boss Brett Johnson said.

“Claudia and Olivia are being rewarded for their hard work and talent, and we look forward to them making the most of their opportunity at AFLW level.”

Kearns has enjoyed success in Gaelic football, soccer and boxing.

From County Mayo, the 24-year-old was selected at full-forward in the 2019 Ladies Gaelic Football Association All-Star team in 2019.

Kearns was also a member of the Republic of Ireland under-19 soccer squad and claimed two All-Ireland boxing medals.

“Rachel is an experienced athlete; her list of achievements speak for themselves,” Johnson said.

“She is well suited to the physicality of AFLW, and we see her making a strong contribution.”

Geelong will finalise its list for the 2021-22 season with four selections at the AFLW Draft next Tuesday.

Twitter: @tom_king79