THE WESTERN Bulldogs are at the centre of a huge rival AFLW raid ahead of a blockbuster sign and trade period, with captain Ellie Blackburn, star midfielder Kirsty Lamb and gun forward Bonnie Toogood all currently weighing up significant interest from elsewhere. understands Blackburn is the target of an aggressive pursuit from new expansion club Sydney, St Kilda is hoping Lamb will bolster a young and developing midfield group, while Hawthorn has expressed an interest in Toogood.

As reported last week, popular Bulldogs forward Isabel Huntington is also attracting interest from Greater Western Sydney as she weighs up her options following a third ACL injury sustained earlier this year.

Isabel Huntington poses for a photo on December 9, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Three of the four Bulldogs players being chased by rival clubs – Blackburn, Lamb and Toogood – are 2018 premiership players, while the same three had also been named in an extended AFLW All-Australian squad of 40 on Wednesday.

As revealed by earlier this week, Sydney is hunting prolific North Melbourne star Ash Riddell and has now also added Blackburn to its high-profile list of targets ahead of its maiden AFLW campaign next season.

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Blackburn, captain of the Dogs for the past four seasons, was the club's premiership skipper in 2018 and has since gone on to record three AFLW All-Australian appearances and two best and fairest awards at the Whitten Oval.

St Kilda is hoping to prise Lamb from the Bulldogs, with the club desperate to add experience to a young midfield group that struggled this season and ultimately finished second-last with a 2-8 record.


It comes after a career-best season for the 27-year-old, after she averaged 18.7 disposals per game. Her year was highlighted by an inspired display against Geelong, where she won 26 disposals and seven tackles.

Meanwhile, Hawthorn is interested in adding Toogood as the centrepiece of the club's new forward line as the Hawks also prepare for their inaugural AFLW season under former premiership-winning coach Bec Goddard.

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Toogood, a strong-marking youngster, was the Dogs' leading goalkicker this season after finishing the year with 10 goals from 10 games. She has kicked a total of 29 goals from 37 games in the competition.

The Western Bulldogs' Bonnie Toogood kicks the ball during round eight, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

AFLW clubs are still waiting for confirmation from the League as to whether they will be compensated for losing players to expansion sides and how that compensation, if allocated, will be dished out.

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