CARLTON is on the cusp of signing Olympic gold medallist Chloe Dalton as a rookie for the upcoming AFLW season.
Tom Morris – Fox Sports
Dalton, 25, was a key member of Australia’s rugby sevens team during the Rio Olympics but took an indefinite break from the sport in January to focus on footy, foregoing a full-time wage.
She also played basketball for the Sydney Uni Flames in the WNBL from 2012 to 2014.
As a rugby player, the gold medallist was considered a conversion specialist and stands at 180cm and 74kg.
foxfooty.com.au understands Dalton will be signed as an ‘other sport rookie’, which is similar to a Category B rookie in the men’s competition.
But unlike the AFL rookie regulations, Dalton will not need to wait for a long-term injury to pull on the navy Blue jumper in 2019. She will be eligible from Round 1 as per the new collective bargaining agreement that’s being negotiated between the AFL Players’ Association and the league.
Each club will have 28 primary list spots to fill, plus two positions for ‘other sport rookies’ such as Georgie Parker at Collingwood and now Dalton.
Under these guidelines, any prospective ‘other sport rookie’ will not have played AFL or been involved in a high performance program in the three years prior to April 1, 2018.
Although Dalton has been playing VFLW for the Blues (debuting in May), she still qualifies as a prospective rookie listed player, meaning the Blues don’t risk losing her to the national draft and rival club.
Dalton has a degree in physiotherapy and decided on Carlton after strong interest from two other Victorian clubs.
“When the opportunity came for a trial and I knew Carlton was interested, it all fell into place,” Dalton told the Herald Sunbefore her VFLW debut earlier this year.
“It’s been an awesome few months.
“My goal is to play AFLW. To learn the game this VFL season and work really hard there and try to earn my spot into the AFLW list hopefully as a rookie.”
In January it was announced Dalton was taking a “leave of absence” from rugby for personal reasons.
“It’s just her decision.
“Throughout the time that I’ve been involved, we’ve had players leave, players come in and that’s the nature of professional sport and that’s the ability of a team as well, just knowing that’s what it is going into it but, also as a team how you react to it and (the mentality that) nothing’s a problem for us, no one’s bigger than the game and we just move on.”
It’s understood Dalton has not ruled out returning to rugby ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Carlton is expected to formally announce Dalton’s signing in the near future.