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Birthday Wish For West Perth DefenderWednesday, December 13, 2023 - 2:14 PM

West Perth’s Liliana Grassenis could enjoy a dream 18th birthday if she’s selected in today's AFLW Draft.

Liliana’s big day falls on the same day as the Draft, adding an extra layer to her anxiety.

“I’m feeling very excited and nervous heading into the draft,” she said.

“I’m not sure what the outcome will be, but I would obviously love to be picked up by a club.

“If I don’t, I’ll just work extra hard to have a big season at West Perth to give myself the best chance for the next draft.”

Liliana has developed into an AFLW Draft prospect off the back of some outstanding work as a key defender in the WAFLW.

Entering her top-age year, she was thrown forward for the Falcons to improve her versatility, but a mid-season change of coach prompted a return to the backline and she never looked back.

“I think this year was big for me and my development.

“I’ve improved my kicking and other footy skills a lot compared to last year.

“My season was interrupted with an ankle injury which set me back a bit, but I think I finished the year off strongly at West Perth and the State 18 games.”

Like every player entering the Draft, she’s desperate to be given an opportunity.

“If given the chance, I feel like I could fit into an AFLW team.

“With training and after gaining confidence at that level, I believe I could make an impact or at least become a valuable member of the team.”

Trent Cooper, Coaching Specialist – Female Talent Pathways at the West Australian Football Commission, has forecast the possibility of Liliana being an option for the Eagles or the Dockers.

“Competitiveness and closing speed make Grassenis an option for either of the local AFLW clubs wanting to improve their key defensive stocks.

“Her height and athleticism allow her to play on a variety of opponents and her never-say-die attitude in the contest will stand her in good stead going forward.”