A big week ahead for Grunden

Sarah Grunden (left) (Ljubica Vrankovic) 338826_07_18

Harper Sercombe

The AFLW draft is less than a week away and after bursting onto the scene, Calder Cannons’ Sarah Grunden is ready to hit the big time.

The draft is set to take place on Monday, December 18.

The 18-year-old debuted in the Coates Talent League in round three of this season and had an immediate impact after moving across from the Western Jets.

Now with the draft imminent, tension and anticipation is rising for the Keilor local.

“Feeling a bit of the nerves at the moment just in the lead up to it but it’s just a wait and see process I think but it’s exciting as well,” Grunden said.

“Not playing last year in the Coates season, being drafted wasn’t really on my mind, going in towards the season I just came in playing for a bit of fun and seeing where it would take me.

“It got to mid way through the season and I could really see myself as a chance of getting drafted, so I really started to put in the effort.

“It was always about enjoying my footy a lot but I also think my confidence grew a bit this season and it gave me a little bit more drive to work my best and be able to get drafted.”

Moving Talent League clubs has helped boost Grunden’s footy she said especially being able to train and play with fellow draft likely Kayley Kavanagh and Essendon’s latest AFLW recruit Amy Gaylor.

Gaylor was selected as an expansion club pre-signing in November.

“The environment at the Cannons, knowing a few more people there helped my self confidence and to be able to play every game really helped,” Grunden said.

“Having those two people who are in the same position you can always reach out to them on how you’re feeling and it really helps with nervousness.”

Prior to her debut with the Cannons, Grunden played at her local club Keilor in the Essendon District Football League, where she was a trailblazer of women’s football.

Grunden was one of just two girls playing with the boys at the Blues in under-10s, from there she was able to play in an all girls side from under-13s. She played four senior games this season, named in the best twice.

This season, she added another string to her bow playing for Essendon in the Victorian Football League against Geelong in round nine.

“It was a really good experience being able to see what it looks like at the higher level, knowing how the training works and how the game prep works so that was a really good insight,” she said.

“There were a few girls from Keilor that I knew, they really helped me adjust, but playing the game against the Geelong Cats was a really good insight of what the next level was and the skills that are required.”

One of Grunden’s major strengths is her versatility, with her having the ability to play within the midfield and forward line, however, she sees her best footy played across the half forward line.

“Being able to lock it inside 50, set up teammates as well as working up the ground and working the ball back into our 50,” she said.

“My vision kicking towards someone is one of my biggest strengths I think. I always try to put that on show because that’s something that I love to do, helping other people out and getting them on the scoreboard.”

A lot could change for Grunden on Monday night as any of 18 teams in the competition are free to select her, however, she said regardless of where she ends up it will be a dream come true.

“It would mean the absolute world, growing up being surrounded by footy, to be able to make my parents and family and friends proud of me would be really good,” she said.