New reality for AFL draftees

Kara Donnellan and Chelsea Randall.d400240
Kara Donnellan and Chelsea Randall.d400240

Chelsea Randall became the first player to nominate for the draft following a Talented Player invitation, and Kara Donnellan’s invitation followed soon after.

If selected, the women will form part of the first AFL Women’s Exhibition game between the Melbourne and Western Bulldogs football clubs on the hallowed MCG during Women’s Round on June 29.

Donnellan, who began playing football at the age of nine, started playing senior women’s football at 16 and represented Victoria five times.

Randall, on the other hand, said she ‘kind of fell into’ football. ‘I was 11 at the time and kicking the football with dad during halftime of my brother’s football match when the under-11s coach asked if I wanted to fill in for the boys’ team,’ she said.

‘I played one game and haven’t stopped since.’

Randall was part of the Safety Bay Stinger’s team before joining the Swans women’s team. She also holds the role of development officer at the club and the West Australian Football Commission.

Donnellan said the game had given her friendships and a passion for football, adding she would like to play at the highest level and was honoured to be involved in the inaugural AFL Women’s Draft.

‘I feel very privileged and honoured to have the opportunity in being part of this,’ Donnellan said.

‘As a female you always sit back and envy the guys who get to run out in front of thousands of people every weekend on the best sporting field in the world, and now this may become a reality for us.’

Randall said the game had given her so many opportunities both off and on the field and was also honoured and excited to be a part of the inaugural draft.

‘I have met some amazing people along my football journey so far,’ Randall said.

‘My former State football coach got me in the door to where I am with my career in football, starting off as a receptionist and now working in game development for the WAFC.

‘Females now have something further to aspire to in football.

‘It’s a challenge and I hope I can give it my best shot and be a part of something special.’

Women were nominated for the draft based on selection criteria that the player was over 17, an All-Australian team member, State representative and AFL High Performance Academy member.