Alyce Parker is a certainty to be drafted by the GWS Giants at Tuesday’s AFLW draft in Melbourne.
The 18-year-old from the outskirts of Holbrook nominated NSW has her preferred destination – meaning the Giants have first access and are set to use their first selection (pick 12) to welcome Parker to the club.
But her journey to this point has been far from straightforward.
In her younger years, Parker played as many as seven sports in the same year, excelling at the likes of netball, swimming, cricket and tennis.
Never could she have imagined six years after playing for her school’s football team alongside the boys before she even knew the rules of the game “because I could kick”, that it would lead her to where she is now.
It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for Parker, which included being named captain of the under-18 All-Australian team.
“To have such lovely parents that really encourage me to do that, most parents make them choose in a way, but I never really wanted to choose (a sport) until I knew what I wanted to do,” Parker said.
“I guess I was experiencing as much as I could and even 12 months ago I wasn't sure if footy was what I wanted to do.
“I was playing netball at a high level and loved my tennis and swimming and everything else I was doing.
“The NSW pathway and the people I was given access to and could learn off really drew me to the sport, and I guess eight months ago I knew footy was what I wanted to do and it's exactly where I'm headed.
“In the end it was a decision that made itself for me to stop playing netball and stop all my other sports and start focusing on footy.
“It was probably the best decision I've made in my life.”
Parker admitted she had the option to go down the Victorian pathway, but couldn’t look past the Giants.
“There was a lot more opportunity in Victoria with the amount of clubs and nominating NSW directly puts you with the Giants,” she said.
“I’ve had a lot to do with them in the last three years and I couldn’t fault them with the way they’ve supported me and continued that the whole way through my draft year.
“When I made my decision, it wasn’t so much the club I could get the highest pick with, it was the club I knew would look after me, not only as a footballer, but as a person as well.”
The draft kicks-off at Marvel Stadium at 12pm.
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