A dream could become a reality next week for Laura Elliott.
The young defender is among those who are hoping to have their name called out at the AFLW draft on Wednesday night.
Having started playing football when she was four, Elliott has loved the sport and always wanted to get to the top level.
“To be honest I never actually thought I’d be here at the start of the year,” she said in the lead up to the draft.
“It’s always been a dream and something I’ve wanted but I thought everything had to go right with my footy this year. To be able to get to this point as past years in [Western] Jets I hadn’t played my best footy but thankfully everything has gone good all with the help of my family and all the programs I’ve been lucky enough to be part of.”
Elliott played a key role for the Western Jets as they became the toast of the NAB League Girls competition, winning the club’s first premiership.
She was named in the team of the year and led the competition for intercept marks.
Elliott said she was still in disbelief about the premiership, which they won with a goal in the dying seconds of the grand final against Dandenong Stingrays.
“I’d never actually played finals as a junior, always just missing out every year, so to play in a grand final at that level and with that team of girls and all those coaches was a feeling I can never describe,” she said.
“The best part was the hard work and goals we set as a club paid off and we achieved something that no one in the league thought we could, not just the players on the field that night but everyone a part of that team. It was an amazing night and something I will always cherish.”
While Elliott was unsure how she would go this season, she had been selected in the NAB AFL Academy for the best players in the country ahead of the season.
She would then be selected for Vic Metro for the national championships. Both those are experiences Elliott will also remember.
“Firstly, to get the chance to play in those teams with some top level players is still so surreal,” she said.
“The experiences in those programs were really fun and just an overall amazing experience.
“Building new friendships and meeting new people was a good aspect of it all and also learning from the talented coaches really helped me a lot. Everyone was super nice and supportive and the community around it all was good to be a part of.
“Playing against the best players and being teammates with them was some of the best footy experiences I’ve had, the talent and skills they have is crazy and no doubt a lot of them will dominate in the AFLW.”
Elliott was also selected for the draft combine, but didn’t test on the night. The last couple of months, she’s been busy speaking with AFLW clubs.
She said the whole experience and the next couple of weeks were so surreal.
“All the clubs have been super nice and all seem like they are really good people and a good culture within,” she said.
“I’m just super grateful for the chance to be interviewed no matter how it goes.
“I’m a bit nervous [about the draft], but also very excited to see what happens with it all, if I get picked that will be so surreal but meanwhile just trying not to jinx myself.”