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Envious Bulldog reunites with teammate for women's league

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: Emma Kearney of the Bulldogs in action during the 2016 AFL Womens match between Western Bulldogs and Western Australia at Etihad Stadium on June 05, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Emma Kearney showing off her foot skills against Western Australia
I was hoping I would get picked up as well because I love playing with her
Emma Kearney speaks about good friend Ellie Blackburn

MULTI-TALENTED sportswoman Emma Kearney admits to being envious when her midfield mate Ellie Blackburn was recently selected as one of the Western Bulldogs' marquee players.

Now the partnership can continue, with Kearney nominated as a Bulldogs priority pick for next season's AFL women's league.

"When Ellie was named as one of the Bulldogs' marquee players, I was hoping I would get picked up as well because I love playing with her. So, it's pretty exciting we can play AFL together," Kearney said.

The pair won’t have to wait long to share the on-ball duties in their Doggies' jumpers at Whitten Oval – both have been named in the team to play Melbourne in the women’s all-stars match under lights on Saturday, September 3.

Teammates for Melbourne University against Eastern Devils in the VFL women's league semi-final on Sunday, they will have contrasting pre-season preparations for the inaugural AFL competition starting in early February.

Kearney is facing a punishing summer schedule as an opening bowler for Melbourne Stars in the women's cricket Big Bash competition.

"I have to juggle cricket as well, but now I have clarity in terms of what team I'm playing for, so I can plan mixing the cricket and football," she said.

"I'm sure the strength and conditioning coach for Melbourne Stars will work closely with the Western Bulldogs to find the right program for me. It's probably more about managing my loads and making sure I'm not overdoing it. At least I'll be on holidays for most of the time."

A physical education teacher at Mt Alexander College in Flemington in Melbourne’s inner north-west, Kearney has played for the Bulldogs since exhibition games started in 2013. The 26-year-old has also worked for the club at NAB AFL Auskick and school clinics.

Midfielder Lauren Arnell, physical education teacher, is Carlton's priority pick. The Blues’ first female football ambassador is working to develop the women's game in Melbourne's northern suburbs and she will play for the Western Bulldogs in the all-stars game.

The AFL's 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 pre-sign two players and the Greater Western Sydney has the option of selecting four.

Clubs also can each list two rookies. A rookie is a player new to the code or one who has not been registered as a player over the past three seasons.

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