AFLW dream coming closer

Abbey McDonald is excited for the draft. (Joe Mastroianni). 265355_12

Tara Murray

Calder Cannons’ Abbey McDonald has a mix of emotions ahead of the AFLW later this month.

After a number of strong years of performances, the Sunbury star is among those who might realise their AFLW dream in the next few weeks.

For McDonald, there’s a lot of nerves ahead of the draft, but she’s excited at the same time.

“To be drafted would mean the world as I’ve been wanting to play high level footy for years and would love the opportunity to be able to play in the AFLW,” she said.

“I started playing football in under-10s with the boys and have played all the way through to under-19s and with the women.

“I started playing football as I was always with a family full of boys who loved football and inspired me to start playing and it grew bigger over the years as I got older.”

McDonald has been a member of the Cannons squad for a few years and continued to improve each year.

She was named in the AFL NAB Academy for the best under-18 players heading into this year.

On field for the Cannons she was one of their best this season and was named in the NAB League Girls team of the year on the half-back flank.

McDonald said she enjoyed her top age season with the Cannons.

“This year at Cannons was such an enjoyable year playing with all the girls as well as meeting new teammates, being able to travel to Tassie and stay in Corowa was a highlight, being able to travel as a team and play interstate,” she said.

“Although I missed a few due games due to injury which was a setback, I still felt I had an impact on the team whether I was on the field or not.”

McDonald’s form saw her selected in the Vic Metro squad again. She said her experiences in previous year’s in that set up had helped her massively.

It wasn’t quite the national championships she had been hoping for though.

“During under-17s was a good eye opener to the wider competition and being able to train with the under-19s that year helped me see and understand what it’s like to play a higher level of skill with those girls.

“My under-19s metro was a lot different as I was unfortunately unable to go up to Queensland and play the third metro game as I had COVID which was also a setback.

“I was lucky enough to still be able to play one of the metro games which I loved and was good to play with and against the top named players.

“I loved the metro hub and being able to stay on a camp with the other metro girls, making us closer as a team which helped dramatically throughout the national championships.”

Having played football for as long as she can remember, McDonald looks up to the Prespakis sisters, Maddy and Georige, when it comes to football.

Like McDonald, both played junior football in Sunbury before joining the Calder Cannons.

“They have also been on the same path as me playing junior boys through to under-19s at the Cannons,” she said.

“I got to see how much work and what it has to take to get there and maintain yourself in the AFLW.”

The AFLW draft is on June 29.