“The experience of the whole thing was something I thrived on." Carlton AFLW NAB Rising Star Maddy Prespakis remembers her time at the NAB Draft Combine, just last year, with extreme fondness.
Now, in 2019, as part of the NAB AFL and AFLW Rising Star Program, Prespakis has used her platform to inspire the girls of the future of women’s footy, leading the AFLW Draft Combine Experience at Margaret Court Arena.
“Seeing the girls running around with all the boys is pretty exciting,” Prespakis said.
This exclusive NAB event invited 25 children from Prespakis’ junior football club- Romsey, alongside 25 children from AFL Rising Star Sam Walsh’s club- St Joseph’s, to participate in their own version of Draft testing.
“To think when I was playing there [at Romsey], I was the only girl in my team. To see a couple more girls at the club is awesome,” the 18-year-old said.
The kids who attended competed in the 20-metre sprint, vertical jump amongst other activities that make up the all-important Draft Combine yearly.
“It’s good to see them run their guts out all the way to the end. It’s giving these kids an opportunity to come and see what we have done.”
It was the perfect occasion for Prespakis to share some wisdom with her own Romsey juniors, in order to introduce them to the joy of Aussie Rules.
“Bringing my junior club here is exciting, since they played a big role in my junior footy,” she said.
And it is opportunities like these that Prespakis find herself in awe of how far the AFLW competition has come.
“It’s a weird feeling [being seen as a role model]. Sometimes you walk past someone at the footy and they say ‘hi Maddy’ and they’re the same height as me!” she joked.
“Younger boys see no difference with girls and boys footy.”
Prespakis was awarded the AFLW Rising Star Award for the 2019 season after her stellar debut season with Carlton Football Club, booting seven goals for the nine-game season and averaging 19.1 disposals each week.
She also took out Carlton’s Best and Fairest, AFLW Player’s Best First-Year Player and was named in the AFLW All Australian Team for 2019, having one of the most decorated first years in the competition.