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Bonner Embraces New Challenge

Irish Star Yvonne Bonner lands 2019 GIANT Irish AFLW rookie, Yvonne Bonner has landed and has set to work ahead of the 2019 AFLW season.

Yvonne Bonner doesn’t have to look far for confirmation that Gaelic footballers can make a big impact in the AFL Women’s competition.

The GIANTS’ newest Irish recruit is following in the footsteps of new teammate and Gaelic football star Cora Staunton.

For Bonner, 31, the chance to play Australia Rules football presented itself with a CrossCoders trial in Melbourne in October, where she excelled, catching the eye of the GIANTS coaching staff, who signed her as a rookie.

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Having landed in Australia alongside compatriot and AFL rookie Callum Brown on the weekend, she has launched into her first week of preseason with aplomb.

“I landed here on Saturday morning and I came out for the first training session,” Bonner said.

“I got to watch the first session, (then) Monday I got into it and really enjoyed it.

“(It was) pretty similar to Gaelic, a lot of similar drills, so I felt my skills were transferable, so I really enjoyed it."

Bonner, who has previously spent time in Sydney, said she was drawn to New South Wales and the GIANTS, for “the surroundings and just a great club as well”.

With five Irish players gracing AFLW lists in 2019, the Gaelic presence in the league is growing in the wake of a stunning first season from Staunton, who was a dynamic force up forward for the GIANTS in 2018.

A documentary on Staunton released in Ireland in September followed her first season at the club, and made a big impact in her homeland, where she is revered as one of the greatest sportswomen the Emerald Isle has ever produced.

Bonner said the 11-time All-Star Award winner's influence on fellow Gaelic footballers to look to the Australian game had been profound.

“The documentary just aired as well before we came here to the (CrossCoders) camp back in October," she said. 

"So it’s been massive and it’s shown as well because there are five girls now out here now playing AFL.”

As for Bonner, she’s keen to ply her trade as a forward and make an impact on the scoreboard like she does back home for Donegal in the GAA.

“I’m just excited to give it a go.”

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