Skipper Hannah Priest, star forward Jesse Wardlaw and vice-captain Bianca Jakobsson will call St Kilda home for at least another three seasons, forming part of a fresh wave of re-signed Saints.
Priest has served as the side’s captain since 2021, having played in every game since the club’s AFLW inception to become an inspirational and irreplaceable cornerstone of the side and its identity on and off the field.
Season 6 Best & Fairest Jakobsson has similarly led from the front throughout her time at St Kilda, surpassing the 50-game milestone earlier this year to cement herself as one of the Saints’ most seasoned defenders with multiple accolades to her name.
In a similar vein, Wardlaw’s impact in her new colours has been profound, thriving as both the Saints’ focal point of attack and as an influential second option in the ruck. The All-Australian and AFLW Leading Goalkicker from Season 7 finished equal-fifth at St Kilda’s 2023 AFLW Best & Fairest, with her journey as a Saint only just beginning to flourish.
“You couldn’t find three more different people, but the contributions of Hannah, Jesse and Bianca are all so important for our program,” Executive General Manager of AFLW Tessie McManus said.
“Hannah’s leadership is second to none, which is evident through her daily leadership here but also her presence on the competition committee.
“Similarly, Bianca’s impact on our playing list, especially our young defenders, is so crucial to what we’re building.
The trio will be accompanied by the experienced Nicola Stevens and emerging youngsters Alice Burke and Ella Friend in recommitting to the club until at least the end of 2026, with all set to play major roles in the Saints’ ascent towards finals football.
Stevens’ influence at either end of the ground and as a leader of the club has held her in high regard by her teammates and coaches, with her latest contract extension to take her into at least an 11th season at the highest level.
Meanwhile, Burke and Friend’s careers are only just at their dawn, having come into their own this season to entrench themselves as core players of St Kilda’s future.
“Nicola, Alice and Ella all had great seasons as they flexed their versatility on-field,” McManus said.
“All three of them are popular members of our group and we look forward to seeing them continue to represent the red, white and black in the years to come.”
St Kilda will now look to finalise its playing list through the AFLW Draft on Monday 18 December.