Ararat College’s Year 12 student Ella Wood has made regional history, being drafted by the Richmond Football Club at the AFL Women’s Draft yesterday in Melbourne, at pick 31.
Her fellow Year 12s – enjoying their last day of schooling – watched the live stream from a classroom, jumping with joy as her name was readout.
“After 13-years at school with her, to finally see her achieve her goal that’s so innovative and making history… it’s amazing. I can’t put into words how proud I am right now,” School Captain Lauren Bowles said.
“I am honestly beyond proud. This year she has achieved so much and she deserves it so much,” friend Izzy Laws said.
“I was stoked… I was screaming and jumping with excitement.”
Wood arrived home to Richmond coloured decorations last night before enjoying end of school celebrations with her fellow Year 12s. Today, the realisation is still sinking in as she begins to prepare for upcoming exams.
“It’s still sinking in, it still doesn’t feel quite real but they said that always happens so I’m sure it will sink in once preseason begins. I’m looking forward to it,” she said.
“I didn’t even believe it at the start, I didn’t realise it was actually my name but Mum and Amy were next to me and they jumped on me, they were squealing. It was unbelievable.”
Playing for Richmond is a dream come true for Wood who has been “watching them for years, barracking for them and now [she] gets to play with them.”
Two of her Greater Western Victoria Rebels teammates were also picked up by the Tigers yesterday.
“When I saw that [Sophie Molan] got picked by Richmond I was hoping that Richmond would pick me up, I thought it would be good to go through with her. Nekaela Butler from Horsham was a rebel’s player as well, and we’re all going to Richmond so that’s exciting.
Ararat College Acting Assistant Principal, Jessica Erhardt said that the reaction from her peers shows just how excited the school community is about yesterday’s result.
“It’s an exciting time for the sport and it’s great that Ella is involved in the history making,” Erhardt said.
“We can’t wait to see how far she goes with her football.”
Ararat West Primary School – Wood’s primary school – also shared their congratulations on Facebook, saying “it is always great to see the successes of former students.”
She now moves her focus towards VCE exams, followed by the AFLW Preseason which begins mid-November.
”The support has been unbelievable. I’ve had 50 to 100 messages from different people and that support has been unreal. Even watching the reaction video I got a bit emotional… it’s just great having that support base.”
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