The inaugural AFL women’s league has its first cult figure, with Moana Hope stealing the show on Thursday.
Hope and AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan greeted each other on stage in Melbourne with a “dab” hip-hop dance move as she was confirmed as one of 16 marquee players for the new league.
She’ll play for Collingwood and, similar to Magpies star Dane Swan, her right arm is covered in tattoos.
Hope is a long-time Magpies fan and comes from Broadmeadows, where club president Eddie McGuire grew up.
As one of the best forwards in women’s football, Hope also can play and should be an immediate star when the league starts next February.
“I feel very blessed. It’s an opportunity I’m not going to hold lightly,” Hope said.
Top women’s players such as Daisy Pearce and Tayla Harris were predictably also among the first 16 named, with two apiece for the eight teams.
Several West Australian players are relocating to other states to ensure an even distribution of the best players.
The AFL held simultaneous announcements in WA, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane as well as Melbourne to announce the players.
But Hope was the undoubted highlight.
Rather than simply shake McLachlan’s hand when she walked on stage, Hope proposed beforehand that they “dab”.
The dance move has become popular as a sporting celebration.
“There was a lot of explaining and a lot of practising, too,” Hope said.
“He didn’t know what it was … he did pretty good for his first time.”
Hope, also a talented cricketer before choosing football, is looking forward to meeting Swan and says it’s “fate” that she’ll play for the Magpies.
THE AFL WOMEN’S LEAGUE 16 MARQUEE PLAYERS:
Chelsea Randall (25, WA, forward)
Kellie Gibson (20, WA, forward)
Tayla Harris (19, Qld, ruck-forward)
Sabrina Frederick-Traub (20, WA, ruck-forward)
Brianna Davey (21, WA, utility)
Darcy Vescio (23, Vic, key forward)
Moana Hope (28, Vic, key forward)
Emma King (22, WA, ruck)
Kara Donnellan (24, WA, midfielder)
Kiara Bowers (24, WA, midfielder)
Renee Forth (29, WA, midfielder)
Emma Swanson (21, WA, midfielder)
Daisy Pearce (28, Vic, midfielder)
Mel Hickey (31, Vic, defender)
Katie Brennan (23, Vic, forward)
Ellie Blackburn (21, Vic, midfielder)