There are now two more reasons to get excited about St Kilda’s historic entry into the AFLW competition, with the club today announcing the signing of Nat Exon and Kate McCarthy.
“Kate will bring some incredibly important attributes to our forward line,” St Kilda AFLW coach Peta Searle said.
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“We believe we have some really good talls coming through our VFLW side, but her speed in front of the ball is phenomenal.”
The 26-year-old was named in the All-Australian team in 2017 after proving a revelation as the Lions stormed into the AFLW Grand Final.
Originally taken with the number 82 pick in the 2016 AFLW draft, McCarthy has now played 23 games across three seasons.
“She’s proven over three years that she can find the ball, kick goals, explode and light up the big stage,” Searle said.
“Nat also has some great x-factor and is extremely clever and clean.
We feel her midfield craft was exceptional this year and you can easily see why she finished runner up in the Lions Best and Fairest.”
Exon rose to prominence with Carlton in the inaugural season of AFLW as a hard-running midfielder, before joining Brisbane in 2018.
In 2019, she was regarded as one of the Lions’ most consistent performers, averaging 15 disposals and six tackles per game.
Exon finished the season fifth in the league at the end of the season for tackles (45) and 10th for inside 50s (22) – the leading Lion for both tallies.
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After touring the RSEA Park facilities, McCarthy said she was looking forward to etching her name into St Kilda history.
“For me the most exciting part is that it’s a brand new team, so we get to play a role in shaping the culture of the club and also be among the first women to play for St Kilda and give the members an opportunity to see women running around in the St Kilda guernsey,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy also hoped her impact wouldn’t just stop at the boundary line, aiming to help her teammates as they navigate their own AFLW careers.
“Being able to help younger girls transition into their first season of AFLW football and the impact that has on your life is something I really want to help with,” McCarthy said.
You have to learn to juggle your studies, your work and your commitments to the team, so I want to be there to make that as seamless as possible for them.”
Exon agreed, saying she was excited to make an impact at the club alongside one of her good friends.
“Hopefully I can be a bit of a leader around the group, bring a bit of experience and just try and make it a lot of fun for everyone.
“Kate and I are really good mates so when I heard she was coming I knew I’d made the right decision. It’s nice to come home [to Melbourne] and spend some more time with the family, which was the driver behind the decision, but it’s a big-time bonus that she’s here as well.”
“We both like to have a lot of fun around the club, so we’ll be keeping it pretty light, which won’t be much different to the past two years,” McCarthy added.