Dream set to become a reality for Gabby Newton

Gabby Newton
Northern Knights' Gabby Newton. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

It’s starting to sink in for Northern Knights’ skipper Gabby Newton that she could soon be an AFLW player.

Newton, who started playing football as a child, is expected to be among the first picks at next week’s AFLW draft.

Speaking at the recent draft combine, Newton said it was all pretty exciting.

“We’ve been talking about it for so long now,” she said.

“The realisation that we could be drafted in like a month’s time, and I could be training with an AFLW club … it’s so exciting.

“I keep thinking about it, that it could happen, but it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Newton couldn’t have asked for a better top-age year at the Knights.

She captained the side to their first premiership then  played a key role for Vic Metro at the National Championships, before making her VFLW debut with Carlton.

“It was perfect timing,” Newston said.

“Last year we were so shattered… having had that loss. It made us hungrier for the grand final this year. It is so exciting.

“I cried so much afterwards, we had such a close team and to be able to lead them was such an honour. I just love it.”

The day after the grand final, Newton joined the Vic Metro squad ahead of the National Championships.

The 18-year-old said it wasn’t necessarily the national championships she was hoping for, but she still did enough to be named in the All-Australian team.

“I thought I had an interesting run playing a lot of different positions,” she said.

“It was good to be able to show my versatility playing different roles and spots. I was playing deep forward, half-forward and a bit of mid. Playing deep, that was different for me, I’m used to running up the ground. It was really good to get that experience in those positions.

Gabby Newton
Northern Knights Gabrielle Newton. Picture Shawn Smits.

“To get named [All Australian] it was such an honour. I sort of wasn’t feeling good about my performance at the carnival, that made me feel a bit better.”

The experience of playing in the forward line was one that came in handy for Newton, as it was a position that she would get the opportunity to play at Carlton.

Newton said it was a shock to the system playing in the VFLW at first.

“It was so good to get that senior experience and I’m really lucky and fortunate that Carlton let me do that,” she said.

“The last game felt like this is where I’m superposed to be, and feeling comfortable.

“I’ve spoken to a few of the girls Maddy [Prespakis], Emerson [Woods], Abbie McKay, Charlotte [Wilson], they’ve been so supportive and offered any support I might need.”

Like many others in this year’s draft, Newton has been juggling year 12 studies.

She had an extra commitment, playing with the Southern Sabres in the National Basketball League 1 season,

Newton said it had been tough at times juggling everything.

“It was a bit stressful and obviously I had basketball as well. I had the three things on at once, my school has been supportive and they’ve allowed me extra time if I’ve needed it.”

Newton said despite playing both sports this year,  her focus in the near future is football.

She said that is where her heart is.

“I just want to see what happens with footy as at the moment it’s my passion and what I want to pursue. I think it’s more about how I feel about myself when I’m playing footy.

“The dream was I was always going to be the first woman in the AFL. When they released that first initial release about the AFLW, it was oh my gosh, finally I can do this.

“I think we’re coming in at the perfect time. I can’t wait.”