Albany’s Sophie McDonald signs with West Coast for next two seasons as host of AFLW players retained

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Sophie McDonald has re-signed with West Coast.
Camera IconSophie McDonald has re-signed with West Coast. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

Great Southern pair Sophie McDonald and Belinda Smith will play on with the West Coast Eagles, who announced their AFLW playing squad last week.

The pair were among 29 AFLW players retained by the Eagles from last season at the completion of the sign and trade and priority signing periods.

Albany’s McDonald had a breakout campaign in season seven, playing 10 games and averaging 2.1 marks per game and two tackles per game as a key defender.

The 22-year-old became a vital part of the Eagles’ defence in her fourth season at AFLW level.

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Pingrup’s Smith became the first player in Eagles history to reach 50 AFLW games last season and the reliable rebounding defender was a regular for her side in 2022.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 07: Belinda Smith of the Eagles in action during the round seven AFLW match between the West Coast Eagles and the Richmond Tigers at Mineral Resources Park on October 07, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images via AFL Photos)
Camera IconWest Coast defender Belinda Smith in action. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

In season seven when she played 10 matches, the 27-year-old averaged 10.5 disposals per game, 3.7 marks and 186m gained.

Both McDonald and Smith finished inside the top 10 in the Eagles club champion award.

Smith remains part of the squad that will play in season eight later this year while McDonald signed on until the end of 2024.

The Eagles also secured trade target Amy Franklin from Fremantle to add to their young list under coach Michael Prior.

“To retain 29 players from last season and recruit Amy Franklin is a terrific result for the club and a huge vote of confidence in our AFLW program,” Eagles AFLW list manager Jordan Loxley said.

“We have worked hard to add talent through the draft and other avenues in recent years, and everyone can see the exciting potential of this core group as they grow together in coming seasons.”

Eagles head of women’s football Michelle Cowan was proud of the inclusive culture the coaches, players and staff had created and continued to develop.

“It’s great to have the playing group committed and aligned to our team’s vision. Now it’s time to put in the hard work and continue our development,” Cowan said.

“We want to be competitive in this competition and know the effort and application this is going to take. Our players are up for this challenge and driven to make an impact.”

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