Howarth inks two-year deal with forward-thinking Pies

Collingwood have snared prolific Gold Coast goalkicker Kalinda Howarth, a day after the Suns lost powerhouse midfielder Alison Drennan to West Coast.

Howarth arrives at the Magpies as part of a three-way trade, with the Suns receiving young Brisbane midfielder Ella Smith and Collingwood's pick 59, while the Lions receive pick 68.

Suns teammate Drennan departed for Daisy Pearce's rebuilding Eagles in exchange for pick 27.

West Coast were involved in another three-way trade late on Wednesday, gaining emerging Geelong defender Annabel Johnson and pick 24 from Brisbane.

The Cats receive Lions midfielder Bella Smith alongside picks 32 and 41, while Eleanor Hartill and Shanae Davison depart the Eagles for Brisbane with picks 36 and 57.

A two-time club-leading goalkicker with 20 goals across 35 games to her name, Howarth will deliver much-needed firepower for the Magpies after Chloe Molloy's departure in 2022.

The 24-year-old took the competition by storm in her debut season in 2020 as a dynamic half-forward, being named as the Suns' first All-Australian selection and earning a Rising Star nomination.

Welcome to the Pies, Kalinda! 🖤🤍

We’ve picked up star forward Kalinda Howarth from the Gold Coast Suns.

— Collingwood AFLW (@CollingwoodAFLW) December 13, 2023

Her 2023 campaign was cut short after playing one game, due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained at training in September.

"Kalinda brings experience from a range of levels. A mobile forward, she has a strong footy IQ and her outstanding decision-making will benefit our front half," Collingwood women's football boss Jess Burger said.

"Despite an unfortunate injury this year, Kalinda has been diligent with her rehab and is determined to return to her best in 2024.

"We’re excited to see what she can achieve in this next journey as a Magpie."

Lions academy product Smith makes the leap to their cross-town rivals after failing to break into Brisbane's senior side following her AFLW debut in round one this season.

A former national champion and Australian under-19 team rower, the 19-year-old boasts an elite running capacity and is renowned for her work around the contest.

"It’s fantastic to be welcoming another up-and-coming Queensland talent to our squad," Gold Coast women's football boss Fiona Sessarago said.

"Ella already boasts an extremely impressive sporting resume, and we’re excited to see the player she becomes here.

“Kalinda will always be remembered as one of our inaugural players and our first ever All-Australian selection.

"She’s been a prominent member of our program over the last five years and we wish her all the best in both her continued recovery from injury, and this next opportunity."

The Suns have one day left of the trade period to secure the talents of Western Bulldogs player and All-Australian defender Katie Lynch, while fellow All-Australian Bulldog Kirsty Lamb has yet to seal her move to Port Adelaide.

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