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Prespakis was tough from the get-go

As voted by her peers, Madison Prespakis has won the AFLW Players’ Best First-Year Player Award, proudly presented by MSC Signs

Before they were facing off in the AFLW, Monique Conti and Maddy Prespakis were teammates at the Calder Cannons and Vic Metro in the under-18 talent pathway. Conti shares her first impressions of Prespakis in an exclusive column for

I first met Maddy Prespakis when we were both involved with the Calder Cannons in the formerly known TAC Cup.

Maddy is a really bubbly, energetic character and we connected right away.

As soon as I met her we got along like two peas in a pod.

She was a real tough nut on the field and was always the player on the bottom of the pack.

Maddy was one of those tough, in-and-under players from the get-go.

As her football progressed through the talent pathway, Maddy focussed on improving with every opportunity.

Every time trial or fitness testing day she would push herself and her body to the absolute limits to try and beat her personal bests.

You could see, even back then, the gradual improvements that she was making each week.

It’s a huge part of the reason she’s been able to come into the AFLW competition this year and make her mark.

The way Maddy goes about her footy meant she was always going to be a star.

It’s everything from her work-rate to her energy on the field.

In football it’s important to have that passion for the game and Maddy’s got it in spades.

She wants to be the best and at only 18-years-old she is already well on her way to achieving that.

Having the opportunity to play with Maddy at the Calder Cannons and for Vic Metro in the National Championships and then to be able to succeed, has been a highlight for me.

To then be able to play against each other in the final round of the AFLW season this year was another string to our bow.

I was waiting for this game all season — I just couldn’t believe I had to wait until Round 7!

It was a great hit-out against Carlton and it was fantastic to see first-hand just how much she’s improved since entering the elite environment of an AFLW club.

To be able to match-up against her and the Carlton midfield unit was a really great experience.

There were a few contests where we came up against each other as direct opponents and it’s definitely something the both of us will cherish.

To be able to play at the highest level against Maddy after going through our junior pathway together is incredibly special.