Western Bulldogs sign first USAFL player for AFLW 2020
Wednesday, July 10 2019 @ 04:40 pm ACST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
The first AFLW signing of an American player has finally been made. Today the Western Bulldogs officially signed American Dani Marshall. Marshall who has played in the 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Arizona Lady Hawks made her way to Melbourne earlier this year to play with the Aberfeldie club in the Essendon Districts Football League.
After showing good form there and quickly making her way from a trial at the Western Bulldogs to playing their VFLW team Marshall quickly convinced the club she had what they needed at AFLW level.
Marshall also trialled and spoke with a number of other clubs in Melbourne but the Bulldogs have secured her services for the 2020 ALFW season.
While a number of other Americans have trialled and up until now failed to be signed to an AFLW contract, the hurdle has now been cleared and hopefully we will see other clubs willing to take on other talented players from the USAFL.
The club also announced today they have signed Katy Herron from Donegal, another Irish Gaelic footballer to join compatriot Aisling McCarthty. This comes despite the departure of head coach Paul Groves who was a strong proponent of the CrossCoders program that originally brought McCarthy to the club from Ireland.
The full statement from the Western Bulldogs below:
The Western Bulldogs have secured two international rookies for the 2020 AFLW season, signing Gaelic footballer Katy Herron and American soccer player Danielle Marshall.
Herron, 28, joins the Bulldogs after playing for Donegal in Ireland’s women’s Gaelic Football competition, while Marshall, 27, hails from Phoenix, Arizona in the United States.
Both are excited for the opportunity to call VU Whitten Oval home and pull on the red, white and blue.
“Sport is a huge part of my life and to get the opportunity to focus solely on that and play in Australia is very exciting,” Herron said.
“I am very appreciative of the support the Club has shown me so far and I can't wait to meet everyone in person.”
Marshall earned a contract after making three VFLW appearances for the Bulldogs this season, kicking five goals. Marshall anticipates that she will return to Melbourne towards the end of the VFLW season.
“The feeling is just absolutely indescribable,” Marshall said about signing with the Club.
“Being here earlier this year and at the end of the five weeks getting offered a contract, it’s amazing to know that all the hard work has paid off and I’m going to fulfil a dream.”
The Bulldogs’ AFLW List Manager, Michael Sandry, said both Herron and Marshall had attributes to be successful players for the Club at AFLW level.
“Katy’s work rate in her Gaelic football was what really stood out to us initially,” Sandry said.
“Her repeat efforts in transitional running is exceptional and something we think will be really valuable in our team. Katy has quickly adapted to the oval ball and is able to kick on both sides of her body, which we also value highly.
“Not only did Dani display an ability to convert around goals, but also she showed she can play as a key defender. Her versatility will be a key strength to her game at the highest level, and her determination and appetite for the contest will hold her in great stead.”
The Western Bulldogs will head to the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft with picks 1, 6, 8, 9, 47, 62 and 90.