Rio gold medallist Chloe Dalton will return to rugby sevens after the AFLW season and launch a late bid to be part of Australia’s title defence in Tokyo.
Chloe Dalton will launch a late bid for a second Olympic gold medal with the Carlton AFLW convert set to rejoin Australia’s rugby sevens program in April.
The talented kicker was a key piece in Australia’s triumph in Rio and was named player of the year in her last rugby sevens season before swapping codes.
Dalton will play for the Blues this AFLW season before rejoining the rugby program in April, giving her three months and two world series tournaments to press her case for Olympic selection.
Australia haven’t won a leg of the world series since Dalton departed, with Rio silver medallists New Zealand the team to beat in Japan.
However, Australia, the United States and Canada have closed the gap in the past six months.
Coach John Manenti, who was an assistant coach in Rio, said Dalton’s arrival could prove a difference-maker for the side.
“In her last season playing Chloe was the Australian sevens player of the year and we are looking forward to providing her with the platform to be that player again,” he said.
“The competition for positions is already red-hot and adding a multi-skilled player into the mix will only increase that drive amongst the players for the gold jersey.
“Chloe is a world-class kicker and will add depth to our current crop of kickers.”
Dalton debuted in 2014 and played 16 world series tournaments before her move to Melbourne to play in the AFLW.
“I’d like to thank Carlton for their support in me pursuing the gold jersey and to John Manenti and Scott Bowen for their faith in me in giving me this opportunity,” the 26-year-old said.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back to and getting on with the hard work with my teammates.”
Australia sit second on the world series ladder behind New Zealand after two legs of the 2020 campaign, with five still to play before the Games.