St Kilda has snared another two talents ahead of its inaugural AFLW season, with Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Mel Kuys joining the Saints’ ranks.
The duo were signed yesterday afternoon as delisted free agents, taking the club’s official count to 16 players as the squad for 2020 begins to take shape.
Both Lucas-Rodd and Kuys starred at the elite level prior to their delistings, playing three seasons at Carlton and Collingwood respectively for a combined 33 games.
Such experience will be crucial in the eyes of AFLW Senior Coach Peta Searle, who recognised the importance of the new Saints to the emerging side.
“It’s great to give these girls another crack at the big time and we’re proud to have Tilly and Mel on board for next season,” Searle told saints.com.au.
“They’re valuable additions for the club, come with the talent and will strengthen the side and culture we’re currently building for 2020.”
Kuys’ resumé speaks for itself, with the skilful left-footer captaining the Box Hill Hawks in the inaugural VFLW season, helping lay the foundations to the club’s maiden flag in 2018.
Able to drift in-between the midfield and the half-back line, Kuys’ versatility will be an important asset when she dons the red, white and black next season.
The 31-year-old was only able to line up twice for the Magpies in 2019 after tearing her left achilles in last year’s VFLW preliminary final, but after a challenging recovery, was delisted by season’s end.
Now, a new opportunity beckons at Moorabbin.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer and I’m grateful the Saints have given me that second chance,” Kuys said.
“I believe I can bring experience and leadership qualities to the Saints and that’s something I’m going to be intent on doing for the club.”
“I’m ready to give it my all and show there’s still plenty more left in the tank.”
Spending time as an in-and-under midfielder, a thrifty defender and now as a lively forward, Lucas-Rodd boasts a wide array of skills that can be utilised all over the ground.
Tilly Lucas-Rodd bursts through a combined Adelaide tackle.
The small utility was part of Carlton’s Grand Final side which ultimately went down to Adelaide earlier this year.
But a new club brings about new beginnings, and it’s something the 23-year-old is looking forward to as the Saints gear towards 2020.
“I’m keen for a fresh start here at St Kilda,” Lucas-Rodd said.
“It’s early days, but everything I’ve been a part of and seen so far has me excited, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck right into everything.”
“All the girls I’ve been involved with through my time in the VFLW and AFLW have been invaluable and I’m grateful for all they’ve done, so I’m looking forward to bringing all I’ve learned to the Saints.”
While St Kilda’s AFLW side won’t see action until next year, some of the recently signed stars will take to RSEA Park in this Sunday’s double-header for the Southern Saints.
Peta Searle’s women will kick off their VFLW campaign against Collingwood at 12pm, with the full squad to be announced later tonight.