Maddi Gay during the 2023 semi-final between Melbourne and Geelong. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON is set to poach Melbourne's AFLW premiership midfielder Maddi Gay, as the club seeks to improve a developing young list that played finals football for the first time this season.

It's understood Gay has already requested a trade to the Bombers, where she will continue her 54-game AFLW career, ahead of the League's player movement window officially opening on Thursday.

The impending move will add to what is expected to be a busy Trade Period for Melbourne, with Casey Sherriff and Eliza West having already requested trades to Hawthorn and Charlotte Wilson set to move to Gold Coast.

As revealed by last week, the Demons' two-time premiership defender Libby Birch has also attracted rival interest – most notably from the Hawks – and is still considering her future.

Gay established herself as one of Melbourne's most important players throughout the club's premiership campaign in 2022 (season seven) and had attracted significant expansion interest last year, only to remain at the Demons.

Maddison Gay is tackled by Kate Surman during the semi-final between Melbourne and Geelong at Ikon Park on November 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

However, having spent her last six seasons at Melbourne – Gay originally started her career at Carlton – she now appears set to leave the club following a campaign where she had averaged 12.4 disposals and three tackles per game.

The addition of Gay is set to bolster an Essendon midfield group led by a young core featuring Madison Prespakis last season, which finished with a 6-4 record to qualify for the AFLW finals for the first time.