The Sydney Swans have signed QBE Sydney Swans Academy athlete Ruby Sargent-Wilson as the first player for the club’s inaugural AFLW team.
The 18-year-old, who grew up in the Illawarra region on the south coast of New South Wales, is a natural born athlete who represented NSW in touch football, netball and AFL in the same year. In just her fifth AFL game in 2018, she was voted best player at the School Sports Australia Championship. She went on to play for the Southern Power and most recently celebrated a win representing the Swans White team against the Giants Charcoal team in the Women’s Summer Series in Canberra.
Sargent-Wilson joined the QBE Sydney Swans Academy in 2021 and represented the Swans in the inaugural Under-19 series, an experience which she credits for preparing her to become a professional athlete. Earlier this year she made the move to the Gold Coast to study at Bond University on the prestigious Riewoldt AFL Excellence Scholarship as she chased her AFLW dream.
That dream became reality late last week. Sargent-Wilson was sitting in class at university when she received the good news via phone call from Sydney Swans AFLW coach Scott Gowans.
“It’s an honour. To be a part of the inaugural team, it’s hard to put into words,” Sargent-Wilson said.
“I know how much this means to the Swans, and the effort they have had to put in to get into the competition. It fills me with so much pride – it takes a lot to pull on that guernsey, it represents more than running out to play with the team. I’m so excited for the journey ahead.”
Sydney Swans AFLW coach Scott Gowans is thrilled to have signed his first recruit and said Sargent-Wilson’s resilience and athleticism made her a key target for the team.
“To be the first player in the inaugural team, that’s history making,” Gowans said.
“Ruby is an incredible runner, which is crucial, as 16-aside versus 18-aside is a different game. You have to be able to run and carry the ball, and more importantly, you have to be able to get back and defend well.
“I was looking for a player like Ruby who can get up the end of the field and help with offence, but also have the ability to sprint back and help with defence. We’ve found that player in Ruby.”
Sydney Swans Executive GM - AFLW Kate Mahony added it wasn’t just Sargent-Wilson’s on-field credentials that impressed.
“Ruby brings a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude to everything she does,” Mahony said.
“She’s a hard worker, she’s been a train-on with the Giants for a few years and has seen what it takes to be an AFLW footballer and has taken that head on.
“She’s a product of our QBE Sydney Swans Academy and has played her junior footy through the Swans. We’ve seen her grow and mature as a person, as well as watching her flourish on the field, so we’re really excited to have Ruby on board.”