“She literally couldn’t kick a ball 18 months ago.”
Stories of remarkable rises in AFLW draftees are becoming more and more common, but this might be one of the most phenomenal yet.
North Melbourne forward Will Walker’s comments on his sister Daisy, who was drafted to Carlton with pick 28 in last week’s women’s draft, highlight the extent of her staggering emergence as one of the best young footballers in the country.
For Carlton’s new draftee, the rapidly soaring football journey began with a decision to forego basketball, where her talent was widely recognised.
“She played one year of local footy for the Beaumaris Sharks, and she really enjoyed it,” Will Walker told aflplayers.com.au in an interview after his sister was drafted to the Blues.
“She played [representative basketball] for Dandenong, dropped that and decided to try out for the Sandringham Dragons.
“She pretty much went from nothing to that within six months, so it’s quite phenomenal where she’s gotten to.”
Her basketball prowess has likely played a key role in accelerating her football development, and it’s a factor familiar to Will, who previously excelled playing soccer.
“She played basketball at a bit of a higher level than I played soccer at, but it’s similar in the fact that we both picked it up quite late, I think she’s a better athlete than I am,” he said.
“Playing footy, I felt like I was really good in tight spaces and I had decent awareness, which I thought was purely from a soccer background.
“I think that’s similar with basketball because you’re in such a confined space, I think there’s definitely transferable skills from both sports.
“Basketball and soccer are a lot more technical than footy skills wise, so I feel like you can get places quicker in footy from having those transferable skills.”
Importantly, Daisy combined this with striking dedication, prompting Sandringham Dragons coach Tam Hyett to label her as “the most coachable player”.
Over her two-year stint at the Dragons, Daisy transformed from a back pocket to a running half back, and then into a midfielder.
Put simply by brother Will, “She works really hard”.
“She’s always got a footy in her hand at home, always at the park asking her friends to go for a kick, always asking me to go for a kick, she goes for lots of runs by herself, everyday she’s doing something,” he said.
And with three years at AFL level while living at home in Sandringham, Will’s experience has proved important to his inquisitive sister.
“I was a big fan of the North AFLW team when they came in, so she’s asked a fair few questions about that, how it works, what the games are like,” Will said.
“She’d have a pretty good idea, I think, of what everything’s like.”
And while Daisy won’t line up for North’s AFLW side, a tongue-in-cheek Will said he was prepared to reluctantly support the Blues.
“It’s going to be quite hard to support Carlton, but I’m sure I’ll be at every home game supporting Daisy,” he said.
“Hopefully she goes a long way, and hopefully she requests a trade to North Melbourne.
“I’m really proud of her, where she’s got to from where she’s come from.”