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Emma Michelle Kearney (born 24 September 1989) is an Australian rules footballer and cricketer. She plays for and captains the North Melbourne Football Club in the AFL Women's (AFLW) and plays for the Melbourne Stars in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL).

Emma Kearney
Emma Kearney 19.01.19.jpg
Kearney with North Melbourne in January 2019
Personal information
Full name Emma Michelle Kearney
Date of birth (1989-09-24) 24 September 1989 (age 29)
Place of birth Hamilton, Victoria
Original team(s) Melbourne University (VWFL)
Draft 2016 priority player
Debut Round 1, 2017, Western Bulldogs
vs. Fremantle, at VU Whitten Oval
Height 165 cm (5 ft 5 in)
Weight 68 kg (150 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current club North Melbourne
Number 9
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2017–2018 Western Bulldogs 15 (3)
2019– North Melbourne 07 (1)
Total 22 (4)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
2017 Victoria 1 (1)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of the 2019 season.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2017.
Career highlights



  • Melbourne University best and fairest: 2011, 2012


Early lifeEdit

Kearney was raised on a sheep station in the rural western Victorian town of Cavendish.[1] She played football through her early years, but was forced to give up the sport at the age of twelve, when she was barred from playing with the youth boys team.

She attended high school at Monivae College in Hamilton.[2]

Australian rules footballEdit

State league and representative footballEdit

Kearney returned to football while studying a physical education teaching degree at university in Ballarat.[3]

She began playing state-league football in 2010, when she joined the Melbourne University side in the Victorian Women's Football League (VWFL).[3] She won the club best and fairest award in 2012 and 2013. In 2016, she was a member of the club's grand final side that ultimately lost to the Darebin Falcons.[4]

In 2013, she was selected to play in, and was a member of the winning Victorian side at the AFL Women's National Championships in Cairns.[3]

Kearney was selected by the Western Bulldogs with the tenth overall pick in the first women's AFL draft in 2013.[5] Kearney then played in the inaugural women's exhibition match in June that year. She would go on to play in exhibition matches for the club through to the end of 2016.[4]

AFL Women's careerEdit

Kearney was signed by the Western Bulldogs as a priority player in August 2016. As part of the newly formed league's rules, her off-field work at the club made her eligible for the special pre-draft signing.[6][7]

Kearney faced a limited pre-season, missing eight training sessions due to cricketing commitments across the 2016-2017 summer.[4]

She made her league debut in the club's inaugural match, in round one of the 2017 season against Fremantle at VU Whitten Oval. She was among the best afield, recording a game-high twenty-three disposals on the night.[4][8] At the conclusion of round 2, Kearney was ranked first in the competition for disposals, uncontested possessions, inside-50s and metres gained. She was also ranked second in clearances.[9] In Round 6 she recorded 30 disposals, becoming the first player to reach the total in the competition's six week history.[10] After six rounds Kearney remained amongst the most profilific ball-winning midfielders in the competition; ranking second for total disposals and first for both inside-50s and metres gained.[11]

At the end of the 2017 season, Kearney was nominated by her teammates for the AFL Players' Most Valuable Player Award[12] and was listed in the All-Australian team.[13]

In May 2017 she was announced as the co-winner of the Susan Alberti award, as the equal best and fairest player at the club alongside Ellie Blackburn.[14]

The Western Bulldogs signed Kearney for the 2018 season during the trade period in May, 2017.[15] The Western Bulldogs won the premiership by defeating Brisbane at the 2018 AFL Women's Grand Final, and Kearney was named the 2018 AFL Women's best and fairest on 27 March 2018.[16]

On 4 April 2018, Kearney informed the Bulldogs that she had accepted employment as sport and recreation coordinator at The Huddle, North Melbourne's community organization, and that she would accept a contract to play with North Melbourne during the 2019 AFL Women's season.[17] In November 2018, North Melbourne announced Kearney as inaugural captain of the team.[18]


Cricket information
BowlingRight-arm medium
Domestic team information
2013–2017Victorian Spirit
2015–Melbourne Stars
Career statistics
Competition WNCL WT20
Matches 20 43
Runs scored 55 83
Batting average 13.75 5.18
100s/50s 0/0 0/0
Top score 30* 23
Balls bowled 768 811
Wickets 9 20
Bowling average 59.77 41.75
5 wickets in innings 0 0
10 wickets in match 0 0
Best bowling 2/22 3/13
Catches/stumpings 3/– 4/–
Source: CricketArchive, 7 February 2018

In January 2014, Kearney represented Victoria in the women's under-17 national championships in Geelong. She played five matches for the tournament, taking a single wicket.[19]

Kearney later played grade cricket at the Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies Cricket Club in Melbourne's inner-north.[20]

She was selected for the Victorian Spirit in the 2013/14 season for the first time. There she played first class Twenty-20 and limited overs matches. She has continued to play limited overs cricket with Victoria through to the end of the 2016/17 season.

Kearney was signed by the Melbourne Stars ahead of the league's inaugural season in 2016/17.[21] In her first season at the club, she took seven wickets from twelve matches. She was the club's most economic fast bowler and third tidiest overall.[22] Kearney took eight wickets in fourteen matches in 2016/17 and at a club's best economy of 5.27 runs per over.[20]

Dual sports controversyEdit

Kearney garnered media attention in December 2016 on account of her dual-sports status. She revealed that she had been asked by Cricket Australia to sign documents committing her to prioritise cricket training and matches over AFL Women's training sessions held during the cricket season. At the time, Kearney voiced public criticism of the decision by cricket bosses in light of the semi-professional nature of the league.[23][24]

Personal lifeEdit

Outside of cricket and football, Kearney has worked as a physical education teacher including at Mount Alexander College in Flemington.[7][1] She holds a bachelor of physical education from Ballarat University.[22]

AFL Women's statisticsEdit

Statistics are correct to the end of the 2019 season.[25]
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Led the league for the home-and-away season and after finals
Played in that season's premiership team
Won that season's AFL Women's best and fairest
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T Votes
Totals Averages (per game)
2017 Western Bulldogs 5 7 0 4 82 68 150 17 20 0.0 0.6 11.7 9.7 21.4 2.4 2.9 7
2018 Western Bulldogs 5 8 3 5 123 29 152 27 41 0.4 0.6 15.4 3.6 19.0 3.4 5.1 14
2019 North Melbourne 9 7 1 2 96 45 141 22 37 0.1 0.3 13.7 6.4 20.1 3.1 5.3 3
Career 22 4 11 301 142 443 66 98 0.2 0.5 13.7 6.5 20.1 3.0 4.5 24


  1. ^ a b Nicholson, Larissa (12 August 2015). "Meet Emma Kearney: AFL player, state cricketer, teacher". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  2. ^ "#20 Emma Kearney". Victorian Women's Football League. SportsTG. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c O'Neill, David (26 June 2014). "Cavendish export Emma Kearney leads the way in footy and cricket". The Weekly Times. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Navaratnam, Dinny (10 February 2017). "From Big Bash to teaching to AFLW, weary Kearney can still find the pill". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  5. ^ Twomey, Callum (16 May 2013). "Pearce the first pick in AFL's inaugural women's draft". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Kearney chosen as Dogs' priority player". Western Bulldogs. Bigpond. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b Matthews, Bruce (25 August 2016). "Envious Bulldog reunites with teammate for women's league". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  8. ^ Cavanagh, Chris (5 February 2017). "Bulldogs star Emma Kearney lights up Whitten Oval in first AFLW game". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  9. ^ @championdata (13 February 2017). "AFLW Player Stat Leaders after Round 2 matches.(Ties ordered by games played, player name)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Cheadle, Josh (11 March 2017). "Lions topple Dogs to lock in AFLW Grand Final spot". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  11. ^ @championdata (12 March 2017). "AFLW Player Stat Leaders after Round 6 matches.(Ties ordered by games played, player name)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "AFLW MVP Nominations Revealed". AFL Players Association. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  13. ^ Navaratnam, Dinny (28 March 2017). "Lions, Crows dominate AFLW All Australian team -". BigPond. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  14. ^ @bulldogsw (19 May 2017). "Your winners of the 2017 Western Bulldogs AFLW Best and Fairest!! #RealStrength" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "AFLW: All the clubs' full lists after trade period -". Telstra Media. 26 May 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  16. ^ Navaratnam, Dinney (27 March 2018). "W Awards: Dogs star named League B&F". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  17. ^ Cherny, Daniel (4 April 2018). "AFLW star Kearney walks out on Dogs to join North". The Age. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  18. ^ Black, Sarah (2 November 2018). "AFLW: Superstar recruit named Roos' inaugural captain". Telstra Media.
  19. ^ "PLAYER ORACLE REVEALS RESULTS - EMMA KEARNEY". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Emma Kearney". Melbourne Stars. Cricket Network. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Stars sign Cameron, Lanning for WBBL02". WBBL. Cricket Australia. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  22. ^ a b "Emma Kearney". Cream of the Crop. Cream Communications. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  23. ^ Sewell, Eliza (7 December 2016). "AFLW players asked to prioritise cricket training over football". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  24. ^ Gearin, Mary (6 December 2016). "Cricket administrators 'threatened' by AFL, women players asked to prioritise cricket". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  25. ^ "Emma Kearney". Australian Football. Retrieved 10 May 2019.

External linksEdit