Each year, there are some incredible stories as two teams seek premiership glory, with unlikely youngsters announcing themselves on the big stage, and players who have overcome injury heartbreak.
AFLPlayers.com.au highlight the most intriguing stories ahead of Adelaide vs. Carlton this Sunday afternoon.
Six months ago, Irish recruit Ailish Considine was attending a CrossCoders skill-testing camp in Melbourne. This week, she is preparing to run out onto Adelaide Oval for the AFLW Grand Final. Hailing from mid-west Ireland, Considine came to Australia not expecting to play a game. Despite the step-up from AFL 9’s in Ireland to the AFLW competition in Australia, the international rookie has featured in all but one of the Crows games since earning a Round 1 debut.
Last year’s pick 3 in the AFLW draft has slotted perfectly into Carlton’s side after making her debut in Round 1. Earning a Rising Star nomination in her second game, Prespakis will be a favourite for the award and the AFLW Players’ Best First-Year player, after taking part in every game in her debut season.
The niece of Essendon legend Michael Long, and cousin of Hawthorn superstar Cyril Rioli, Danielle Ponter comes from a famous lineage of AFL talent. The Rioli and Long names are synonymous with Grand Finals, and an addition to their premiership collection this Sunday will make Ponter a trailblazer.
Growing up in Darwin, Ponter pursued her passion for sport with St Mary’s in the NTFL, dreaming of one day playing AFL. Unlike her famous family members, Ponter did not know where her dreams would take her with the AFLW competition only coming into effect in 2017. Now, she is preparing for the ultimate success.
Hailing from South Australia, Carlton’s Jess Edwards’ journey to the AFLW has been winding. After captaining North Adelaide in the SANFLW in 2017, Edwards moved to Melbourne to give herself the best shot of earning a spot on an AFLW list where she captained Collingwood’s VFLW side for the 2018 season. At 29, a premiership would cap off her debut season.
Jessica Foley first picked up a football when she signed with Sturt in the SANFLW 12 months ago. Prior to taking up the oval ball, Foley had a professional basketball career in the WNBA and WNBL with the Adelaide Lightning. A doctor as well, Foley added to her impressive resume when she was taken with pick 30 at the 2018 AFLW draft. Since arriving at the Crows, Foley has played in every game and settled seamlessly into her role in the ruck.
After starting her career with Carlton in the 2018 season, Sophie Li made the difficult decision to return to Adelaide ahead of 2019. Originally from South Australia, Li put her career as a paramedic on hold, taking leave without pay, to move to Melbourne and fulfill her dream as a footballer. At the end of the 2018, Li couldn’t take anymore leave and had to make a decision that would satisfy both her paramedicine and football careers. Facing her old side in the grand final on Sunday, Li will also celebrate her birthday with a premiership medallion if they win, making it one to remember.
18 months ago Chloe Dalton gave up her promising rugby sevens career to chase an AFLW dream. After winning a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Dalton decided to pursue football, joining Carlton in the VFLW. An impressive season saw her drafted as a rookie signing ahead of the 2019 season. An AFL premiership medal would sit nicely beside her Olympic gold.