Ladies football sensation Emma Duggan won't be joining the AFLW this year and insists the recent giant pay hike for Australian players won't influence any potential future decision.
Duggan's Dunboyne and Meath colleague Vikki Wall, along with Cork's Erika O'Shea, are reportedly set to join North Melbourne for the new AFLW season which begins in August.
Close friends Duggan and Wall have been central to Meath's rise to the summit of the game as reigning All-Ireland and National League champions with Saturday's Leinster final next on their to-do list.
Current AFLW star Cora Staunton suggested recently that All-Star forward Duggan is likely to be on the Australians' radar too though the DCU student said she isn't interested, for now at least.
"I'm still very much at college, I have a lot keeping me in Ireland," said Kellogg's Cul Camps ambassador Duggan. "Especially with Meath going so well I don't think I'd ever think about upping and leaving at the minute. We'll see, you don't know what the future holds but for now, I'm staying put for sure."
AFLW players are set for a near doubling of their wages as authorities attempt to bring the salaries of female players more into line with their male counterparts. AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has revealed a vision to make AFLW players 'the best paid female athletes in any local professional competition by 2030'.
Duggan, still a teenager when she kicked Meath to All-Ireland success with the crucial goal in last year's final defeat of Dublin, has time on her side to potentially cash in.
"My commitment to Meath is my number one priority at the minute," she said. "I'm sure it would be appetising for girls that are over there playing at the minute, to stay over there, but look, I think even if I was in a position (to consider joining), pay is obviously a massive thing but I'm not sure it would be something that would completely sway me either way to be honest with you. The professional environment I think is what a lot of people are after, getting to be a full-time athlete."
Duggan was rested for Meath's last game, the Leinster championship round robin win over Westmeath, though is available for Saturday's provincial final against Dublin which will be played before the men's decider.
It's Meath's first time in the Leinster championship since 2016 and an opportunity for the current group to add yet another title to their collection.
"That's something we've all kind of spoken about," said Duggan. "I don't have a Leinster medal, at adult level. A lot of the girls are in the same boat."
If Meath win, they will advance to the All-Ireland championship in Group A as Leinster champions along with Mayo, Tipperary and Cavan. The Leinster runners-up would join Group B with the Ulster champions and Monaghan.
"Whatever group we are put into, it is going to be a tough group," said Duggan. "I don't think there is any easy path to the All-Ireland quarter-finals or semi-finals."
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