Irish star Wall tips influx for AFLW

·2-min read

Increased salaries and growing professionalism in AFLW will likely see more Irish footballers switch allegiances to the Australian game in coming seasons, leading code-swapper Vikki Wall says.

Wall has joined North Melbourne this year, having starred for Meath in consecutive All-Ireland championships.

The 24-year-old said the physicality of Australian Rules was the most appealing on-field aspect of her Kangaroos switch, but added off-field considerations made it an opportunity she couldn't pass up.

It came after the AFL and AFL Players Association struck a one-season collective bargaining agreement that almost doubled the average AFLW player salary.

Top-tier players are now paid $71,935, while the minimum AFLW wage was increased from $20,239 to $39,184.

"More so now with the CBA and the change in the agreements over the last year here is the chance to treat it more as a professional lifestyle," Wall told reporters on Wednesday.

"Back home our trainings are a lot later in the evening and you're trying to balance a full-time job and things like that.

"Not that girls over here aren't in that sense as well, but it's kind of a chance to focus more on the sport than other aspects of things."

Wall finished her university degree in Ireland and felt this season was the right time to test herself in AFLW, arriving in Melbourne after starring in July's All-Ireland final.

But she admitted the decision wouldn't be so simple for all Irish players considering the move.

"It might have that caveat of that means there's absolutely no chance of going back home to play our season as well," Wall said.

"But I think that's kind of inevitable that it will be going to that level in the next year or two anyway.

"Obviously it's enticing but then there's that catch of not being able to go home to play anything at all."

Wall made her AFLW debut in North Melbourne's round-one win over Gold Coast, impressing alongside fellow Irish recruit Erika O'Shea.

More than a dozen Irish players featured across the league in round one as a brilliant goal from West Coast's Aisling McCarthy made the highlights reel.

Cora Staunton booted three goals for GWS, taking her career tally to 50, and Collingwood's Aishling Sheridan shone in the season opener.