By JARROD POTTER
LUCKY number 13.
For the usual number one footballer in the south east, who prefers to wear number two, 13 is a new standard for Blackburn – selected with the Melbourne Demons’ seventh pick at the inaugural AFL women’s draft.
“Hopefully we can go better than the male team at the moment, but it’s pretty good,” Blackburn said.
Hearing 12 other names go before her, the nerves started to kick in for Blackburn – already riding high on a month of success.
She was named as Vic Metro Youth Girls captain, national player of the championships and All-Australian – but when she was called out she felt relief.
“I was a bit nervous waiting but good to be called out – it’s an amazing feeling I can’t wait to get out there and play footy with the girls.”
Melbourne’s coach for the match, Debbie Lee said Blackburn’s versatility proved the big asset and reason she was selected at the top end of the draft.
“We looked at Ellie really early – we wanted to take her as an early pick because of her ability,” Lee said. “Very strong, very big engine and can dispose the ball really well.
Can play in the midfield but can also run at the half-back flank.
“While she’s young, she can still match it with the senior womens’ players so we’re really happy to pick her.”
South eastern suburbs footballers Kara Donnellan, Katie Loynes and Bianca Jakobsson also had their names called out in the 50-woman draft, which took place at the MCG on Wednesday night.
Bianca Jakobsson was pick 33, going to the Melbourne Demons to join Blackburn and Kara Donnellan (pick five) and said the chance to play on the MCG proved an exciting prospect when she squares off against former Berwick player Katie Loynes (pick eight), who was selected for the Bulldogs.
Jakobsson said the thrill of hearing her name is only surpassed by the pride it instiled to be one of the first 50 women to play in an AFL-sanctioned football match.
“It’s such a great thing to be a part of and really an honour and to see the raw emotion of the girls there and it’s such an historic night to be a part of,” Jakobsson said.
“I think all of the girls have this dream to aspire to and you don’t think it is going to happen, and it all came so quickly and is great for women’s footy.”
Darebin Falcons’ Daisy Pearce was selected by the Melbourne Football Club as the inaugural number one draft pick.
The curtain-raiser match takes place on Saturday 29 June at the MCG.