AFLW: Sabreena Duffy signs with Melbourne while Ashlee Atkins out of WAFLW grand final after joining Suns

Headshot of Eliza Reilly
Eliza ReillyThe West Australian
Sabreena Duffy.
Camera IconSabreena Duffy. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

Former Fremantle livewire forward Sabreena Duffy has joined Melbourne as an undrafted free agent.

While former Eagle Ashlee Atkins will at this stage be unable to play in Saturday’s WAFLW grand final for East Fremantle after being listed by Gold Coast.

Duffy sat out the 2022 season due to a combination of work commitments and her personal health, and also had foot surgery.

Fremantle delisted Duffy before the draft, prompting her to nominate for the Western Australian draft pool where she was overlooked by West Coast.

The Demons signed Duffy following Wednesday’s AFLW draft, where the club chose to pass on their final pick of the night to make room for the former All-Australian squad member.

Duffy’s decision has however turned some heads after telling Peel Thunder players and coaching staff in the wake of the club’s qualifying final loss to Swan Districts a fortnight ago that the AFLW wasn’t for her.

The West Australian also understands Duffy had some interest from Port Adelaide but turned down an opportunity to sign with the expansion club to remain in Perth.

The 22-year-old also made a cameo for the Warnrbo Swans in the Perth Football League last weekend after Peel’s season ended.

“We’re really excited to bring Sabreena across the Nullarbor and I know she’s really up for the challenge,” Melbourne’s AFLW list manager Todd Patterson said.

“I’m sure most of the fans would remember Sabreena, as she’s always been a difficult match-up for us as a crafty small forward for Fremantle.”

Meanwhile, delisted West Coast forward Atkins has signed with Gold Coast as an undrafted free agent.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 9: Ashlee Atkins of the Eagles in action during the 2020 AFLW Round 01 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the West Coast Eagles at Victoria Park on February 9, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Camera IconAshlee Atkins. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

With 36 AFLW games to her name, the 29-year-old adds some much-needed experience to Gold Coast’s squad.

But it’s set to come at a cost, with Atkins at this stage set to be withdrawn from East Fremantle’s grand final team on Saturday.

Atkins is expected to join her new Gold Coast teammates and begin training next week.

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