Sport AFL AFLW draftees start their football journey

AFLW draftees start their football journey

The AFLW drafttees, with No.1 pick Nina Morrison centre. Photo: The New Daily
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Geelong has taken Nina Morrison with pick one in the AFLW draft held in Melbourne.

Morrison, who only started playing Australian Rules football two years ago, had a breakout year in 2018 with the Geelong Falcons and was expected to be in demand in Tuesday’s draft.

“It’s super exciting,” Morrison said after being selected. “I barracked for Geelong as I was growing up. It’s really special to be able to play in the first women’s team.”

Obviously I’ve only been playing for two years I’ve come a long way already but I’ve got a long way to go. It’s really just the beginning now.”

The No.1 pick told Cats fans they will see a player who prides herself on effort.

“I provide a lot of outside run and I work really hard with second efforts and maintaining intensity is a big part of my game.”

With pick two The Cats chose Sophie Van De Heuvel, a speedy, agile goal kicker who also has been a state level cricketer.

The Blues utilised the father-daughter rule to choose inside midfielder Abbie McKay with pick 16. Her father Andrew McKay is a Carlton premiership player who played 244 games in navy blue.

Carlton also secured tough inside midfielder Madison Prespakis with pick eight. She shot into top 10 contention with a standout performance in the AFLW Under-18 exhibition match in Adelaide earlier in the year.

Prespakis admits that as a kid playing at AFL level seemed out of reach.

“Playing with the boys growing up I never thought I’d get the opportunity that they did. To think that now we’ve got the opportunity it’s a dream come true.”

The AFLW draft is regional in nature to accommodate the part time status of the competition. Players are asked to nominate the state or region they wished to drafted in.

Fremantle had first look at the best Western Australian talent with pick four. The Dockers went with 2018 Claremont best and fairest winner Jasmin Stewart.

Collingwood took defender Jordyn Allen at pick five. Allen captained Vic Country in the 2018 AFLW Under-18 Championships and is pegged as a future leader. The Pies were looking for more forward fire power after the departure of Mo Hope and at pick 11 they have invested in Katie Lynch.

Tyla Hanks already has a taste of AFLW action with Carlton and that enticed Melbourne to use pick six to take her. The Adelaide Crows had to wait until pick eight to take local midfielder Nikki Gore.

Runners up in the past two seasons, the Brisbane Lions are looking for that extra edge to go one better and used pick nine to select hard-running defender Paige Parker.

The GWS Giants snared All-Australian AFLW Under 18 captain Alyce Parker. It was a momentous day for Parker who had to leave the draft announcement to take an agriculture exam. Up until recently she wasn’t sure which sport she would pursue.

“At one stage I was playing seven (different sports) I was a swimmer predominantly for a number of years. My parents did a lot driving. In one year we clocked up 92,000 kilometres getting me around. Up until 12 months ago I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.”

The defending champions the Western Bulldogs used pick 10 to select dynamic utility Eleanor Brown who had a brilliant year with the Southern Saints in the VFLW.

AFLW boss Nicole Livingstone has overseen a controversial revamp of the competition that sees the 10 clubs split into two separate conferences with no extension of the home and away season despite the expansion of clubs participating .

“We are only entering the third  year of the competition but the AFLW is here for the long haul.” Livingston said.

It will be interesting to see if football fans are still on the journey with her.