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Meg Hutchins joins Pies under new women's priority pick rules

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 27: Emma King of the Magpies is presented with her jumper by Meg Hutchins during the national women’s league marquee players announcement at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia on July 27, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Collingwood marquee Emma King and Meg Hutchins

EXPERIENCED defender Meg Hutchins is a step closer to living her dream to play for Collingwood in next season's AFL women's league.

Hutchins, the Magpies' women's football operations manager, can be included on the playing list as part of the priority player rules announced by the AFL on Saturday morning.

The priority selection breakdown allows Carlton, Collingwood, Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle to pre-sign one player who has an association with the club. Adelaide and the Brisbane Lions can each pre-sign two players, while Greater Western Sydney has the option of four.

The eight clubs also can each list two rookies (players new to the code or who have not been registered in organised football competition over the past three seasons). 

The rest of the clubs' player lists will be completed at the AFL women’s draft in mid-October.

Hutchins, a six-time All Australian, plays with VFL women's club Eastern Devils. She won the club’s goalkicking multiple times before switching to defence seven years ago.

"I've been working towards this my whole career (and) it has always been a dream to play in an AFL-sanctioned competition," the 34-year-old said.

AFL game development general manager Simon Lethlean said list-building for a new competition was "a unique situation" and the process needed to be flexible.

"We are keen to ensure that players who already have connections to clubs are listed prior to the draft as well as provide concessions to help boost the talent pool in those states or territories that need it," he said.

"Clubs are required to submit priority player requests to the AFL and each request will be considered based on those principles."

Lethlean confirmed the Giants and Dockers would each be granted an additional priority selection to compensate for long-term knee injuries to their respective marquee players, Renee Forth and Kiara Bowers.