Northern Knights star Maykaylah Appleby is hoping her long-held AFLW dream comes true next Tuesday when the official draft picks are announced.
The 18-year-old was selected to take part in the 2021 AFLW draft combine, which puts players through a series of tests, to explore their readiness for the top level of competition.
Appleby said she will not be able to participate in the testing, as she is recovering from a torn meniscus.
“It doesn’t take me out of consideration,” she said.
“It’s not so serious anymore, the surgeon said I should have no more problems with my knee.
“I [got injured] during the second metro game, I was just running, ran to get the ball, and went to take… an agility take off.
“My body went one way, my leg went the other way.
“But I started running last week, so I should be ready for pre-season with an AFL club, if I get drafted.”
Appleby said her injury did not dampen her spirits, given her long standing love for football.
“I’ve had a footy in my hands since I was four years old,” Appleby said.
“I would always drag mum out to kick the footy with me.
“Mum was not wanting me to play as much, really, because [I’m] a girl.
“I asked her, what’s the difference between my brothers playing footy and me?
“I then started to do AusKick, and fell even more in love with the game.
“It’s been like that ever since.”
Appleby said getting back into the swing of the game following a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic proved more challenging than she was expecting.
“Trying to connect with everyone again, trying to connect with the coach… was a bit difficult,” she said.
“I think at about… round four or five, all the girls were just hanging out together, and started to get along really well again.
“It’s been really good.”
Appleby has been identified as a potential draft pick along with fellow Northern Knights standouts Tarrah Delgado and Maeve Chaplin.
“Having each other… it’s been another big step up for us,” Appleby said.
“We’re pushing each other.”
Appleby said she has met with several club representatives from Melbourne, St Kilda, and Western Bulldogs, although does not have a preference.
“It’s footy and I love footy, so it’s just about that, doing what I love,” she said.
“The dream I really want to achieve is getting into an [AFLW] club.”