“I am over the moon and so excited.”
Those were the first words to come out of Emma King’s mouth the morning after she was selected as the number one pick for the Western Bulldogs in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft.
“It still hasn’t quite sunk in,” she said. “I don’t really know how to take it, but I’m so excited for the opportunity.”
A total of 49 nervous WA girls sat at Domain Stadium on Monday night to watch the online live-streaming of the Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs select their teams in Melbourne.
Emma had some idea she would be selected for the two Women’s AFL Exhibition Games in May and August after being called over to attend the event at Etihad Stadium with teammate Kiara Bowers, Swan Districts’ Kellie Gibson and Peel Thunderbird Emma Swanson.
“Last week a few of us WA girls were told to head over,” she said. “So that gave us a little bit of an inclination that we would maybe get picked a little bit higher.”
Up against 268 players, four WA girls got picked in the top 10 draftees and this number quickly jumped to 11 after pick 20.
Rounding out a solid performance for the state, 15 girls were selected which includes Swan Districts’ players Chelsea Randall, Kara Donnellan and Kirby Bentley who were retained by the Melbourne Demons from last year.
To put it in perspective the two sides had to select 17 players each, one of which was an emergency player, and WA nearly accounted for half of that.
Emma’s home club, the Coastal Titans, had a fantastic representation in the Draft.
“I’m stoked for all the other WA girls and especially my six other Titans teammates.”
Footy has always been a driving passion of Emma’s ever since she got involved in the Auskick program at the tender age of seven.
Emma developed a strong taste for the position of ruck while playing for the under 14’s and then WA Women’s League at 16.
“You have to keep at it and try your hardest,” she said. “Train hard and give a hundred percent in everything and you will get the reward.”
Female footy has become the fastest growing sport in the country where the AFL managed to attract more than 195,000 participants last year.
More than 150 junior and youth girl teams will be created this year in response to the rising numbers.
“All the youth teams and the youth competitions are helping drive the girls from a younger age,” she said. “That’s where all the numbers have come from.”
Nerves are sure to kick in closer to the Exhibition Game on Sunday May 24 but at the moment Emma is overwhelmed with excitement after being recognised at the elite level.
“I just love the team sport, the atmosphere and the culture,” she said. “It’s a great atmosphere and it keeps you grounded as well.”
The second Exhibition Game kicks off at Etihad Stadium on Sunday August 16.
To view the 2015 WA female draftees head to http://www.wafootball.com.au/news/8193/wa-players-star-at-afl-womens-draft