The inaugural AFLW draft was an incredibly empowering moment for young girls and women within the sphere of football and in everyday life.
Heading into the draft, I had mixed emotions — excitement, anticipation, nerves, doubt and gratitude.
Fortunately for me, I was in a position where I knew I would be taken at No. 1, so the pressure to be picked by a team was off.
However, having the ‘No. 1’ title came with a different kind of pressure and expectation. Walking into a building filled with incredible female footballers that I’d heard about and looked up to was intimidating. Coming from NSW and with little AFL experience, I felt almost out of place.
I knew I’d worked hard to be in the position that I was but I was unsure whether I was good enough to be surrounded by the calibre of talent in the room and was worried that people might question the ‘No. 1’ title.
Prior to the draft, a friend joked with me saying, ‘You could go No. 1, Nic.’ I laughed it off but didn’t realise how real that possibility was until the Giants called me up a week out from the draft saying that’s where I would be taken.
I didn’t believe it was all really happening until I was flying to Melbourne on the morning of the draft with my mum.
Having mum there on the day made me feel as though I was able to give back to her and my dad for everything they’d done for me growing up. Their support for anything I have wanted to do is how I ended up in this position, so to share the moment with them when my name was called out was very emotional.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so overcome with emotion. The feeling you get knowing you are changing the game forever is quite unique. I have never been as shaky as I was on that stage in my entire life.
But the main thing about this draft for me, was being a part of something bigger than myself.
Yes, of course I was incredibly excited to be taken at pick No. 1. The fact that we were at this draft was indicative of starting something new, something different, and something that would be so instrumental for the way women and young girls see themselves. I feel so privileged and proud to be a game changer and part of creating pathways for young girls that weren’t there before.
Being picked in an AFLW draft is a big job — it’s not just about playing good quality football.
It’s about being a role model for people who want to do anything out of the ordinary.
Whether you are pick 1 or pick 101, you are changing the way young girls see their potential both inside and outside of footy. Being a part of the inaugural AFLW draft is something I will hold close to my heart forever.