The Carlton Football Club can confirm that midfielder Madison Prespakis and forward Georgia Gee have today informed the Club of their decision to explore a move to the Essendon Football Club. 

The Club had been in discussions with Prespakis and Gee for a number of weeks and had been exploring every possible avenue to retain them.  

However, today they declared their intention to join the expansion club.  

Carlton General Manager of Women’s Football Brett Munro said the news was disappointing, however the inevitable reality of expansion had created a situation in the industry that was going to see quality players leaving existing clubs across the entire competition.  

“The introduction of four new expansion clubs was always going to create a significant challenge in terms of being able to retain your players,” Munro said.  

“It is obviously disappointing to lose Maddy and Georgia, there is no shying away from that, given our significant investment in both of them to date over the last four years and five years respectively. Our intention, which we had made known right throughout discussions, was to have them both part of the team success we are building with this playing group, to go along with the individual success they have deservingly earned so far in their careers. 

“However the reality is that some of the offers being made in regards to player movement this off-season are very significant. That has its positives for the AFLW competition as a whole but for existing clubs, it places you in an unavoidably tough situation in terms of being able to compete with those offers.  

You never want to lose good players, you want to do everything possible to keep them, however it has to be within reason. We have been detailed with our strategy in how we’ve gone about building this playing list, through the draft, to now having the youngest list in the competition that we believe will set ourselves up for sustained success.   

“To compromise that strategy entirely for the possibility of retaining a player would have put that long term goal at risk, which would not have been in the best interest of the football club.  

“While we certainly did not want to lose Maddy and Georgia, it now gives us a significant number of options heading into this off-season. One aspect is that we now have considerable flexibility in our salary cap, from both a player retention and acquisition point of view that we can take into the upcoming sign and trade period.  

“We will work through all options over the coming months to continue to strengthen our playing list and ensure we are ready to launch into AFLW Season 7.0 exactly how we finished the last – full of running.”