AFLW expansion: Swans sign first player… will it be a Kiwi next?

With the AFLW expanding from 14 to 18 teams next season, new clubs are starting to build their player lists ahead of their entry into the competition.

As they search for new talent, clubs could soon be looking at players from New Zealand’s talent pool.

With development programmes in place, AFL New Zealand is working with AFL clubs to increase the exposure to women’s talent across the ditch.

The Sydney Swans recently signed QBE Sydney Swans Academy athlete Ruby Sargent-Wilson as the first player for the club’s inaugural AFLW team.

The 18-year-old, who grew up on the south coast of New South Wales, is a natural born athlete who represented NSW in touch football, netball and AFL in the same year. In just her fifth AFL game in 2018, she was voted best player at the School Sports Australia Championship. She went on to play for the Southern Power and most recently celebrated a win representing the Swans White team against the Giants Charcoal team in the Women’s Summer Series in Canberra.

Sargent-Wilson joined the QBE Sydney Swans Academy in 2021 and represented the Swans in the inaugural Under-19 series, an experience which she credits for preparing her to become a professional athlete. Earlier this year she made the move to the Gold Coast to study at Bond University on the prestigious Riewoldt AFL Excellence Scholarship as she chased her AFLW dream.