NEWLY crowned No.1 draft pick Nina Morrison says her journey to the NAB AFL Women's competition "escalated very quickly" after her dad's encouragement to attend a talent identification day two years ago.
Geelong's newest young star joins Greater Western Sydney midfielder Nicola Barr (2016) and Western Bulldogs forward Isabel Huntington (2017) in being a No.1 pick in AFLW's brief history.
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"It's a massive honour and I'm super excited and can't wait to get into pre-season and meet all the other girls and get stuck into it," the Geelong Falcons graduate told reporters.
"At the same time, it's important to recognise that with all the different regions and states you can nominate, there are effectively quite a few girls that are going at pick one for their regions, so it's a big honour for those girls as well.
"I started playing football only two years ago, so it's all escalated very quickly and I'm just super excited to be here."
Nina Morrison with parents Julianne and Dougal after she was selected with the No.1 pick. Picture: AFL Photos
Morrison and fellow onballer Madison Prespakis, of the Calder Cannons, emerged as the country's brightest new talents with outstanding respective seasons in 2018.
The Falcons won the TAC Cup premiership, and Morrison and Prespakis were joint-winners of the competition's best and fairest award and co-players of the AFLW Under-18 Championships.
Players nominated a state or in Victoria's case a region – Melbourne metropolitan, Geelong or all of Victoria – in which they could be drafted from.
Prespakis' decision to select Melbourne metropolitan meant Morrison, who grew up a Cats supporter, instantly became the hot favourite to be the first player off the draft board.
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"Maddie and I have shared quite a bit this year," Morrison said.
"I think we played only the one game (together) in Adelaide (the under-18 exhibition match), but she's obviously a really talented player and works really hard at her game.
"It's good to be able to push yourself off her and she deserves everything that comes her way."
Geelong coach Paul Hood was delighted to add Morrison to his squad.
"She brings a fantastic mix of football skills, athleticism and terrific values to her football game and we look forward to developing her for the next few years," Hood said.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels speedster Sophie Van De Heuvel joined Morrison at the Cats with the No.2 selection, while Prespakis went to Carlton with pick three.
No.2 selection Sophie Van De Huevel in action. Picture: AFL Photos
The other player who may have come into the reckoning for the No.1 selection in an open draft was Alyce Parker, who instead went to Greater Western Sydney with the 12th overall pick.
Parker dabbled in football, cricket, basketball, netball, tennis, cross-country running and athletics growing up, before choosing to kick Sherrins about a year ago.
"Coming from a country town, (football) was really popular … and I guess that's what brings the town together," she said.
"I got into it through playing with the boys.
"Especially at my age, the (opportunity for) girls wasn't there, but going into high school, schoolgirls' footy just exploded and that's when my journey began."
Parker's attention had to quickly switch to her studies after the draft, with an agriculture exam to be completed at nearby Melbourne High School on Tuesday afternoon.
"It's very intense," she said of the juggling act between sport and school.
"I guess it's what you have to do and in my circumstance, coming from New South Wales and HSC is bang on this time, it's unavoidable but definitely manageable.
"I'm looking forward to getting through it."
The first round selections in the 2018 NAB AFLW National Draft on Tuesday. Picture: AFL Photos
Full NAB AFLW Draft
|GEEL||1. Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons, VIC)|
|GEEL||2. Sophie Van De Huevel (GWV Rebels, VIC)|
|CARL||3. Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons, VIC)|
|FRE||4. Jasmin Stewart (Claremont, WA)|
|COLL||5. Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays, VIC)|
|MELB||6. Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power, VIC)|
|GEEL||7. Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers, VIC)|
|ADEL||8. Nikki Gore (South Adelaide, SA)|
|BL||9. Paige Parker (Coorparoo, QLD)|
|WB||10. Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons, VIC)|
|COLL||11. Katie Lynch (Oakleigh Chargers, VIC)|
|GWS||12. Alyce Parker (Thurgoona Bulldogs, NSW)|
|COLL||13. Mikala Cann (Eastern Ranges, VIC)|
|GEEL||14. Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons, VIC)|
|MELB||15. Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights, VIC)|
|CARL||16. Abbie McKay (Sandringham Dragons, VIC)|
|FRE||17. Sabreena Duffy (Peel Thunderbirds, WA)|
|COLL||18. Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels, VIC)|
|COLL||19. Maddie Shevlin (Melbourne rookie list/Casey Demons VFLW, VIC)|
|GEEL||20. Denby Taylor (Geelong Falcons, VIC)|
|CARL||21. Jayde Van Dyk (Hawthorn VFLW, VIC)|
|BL||22. Natalie Grider (University of Queensland, QLD)|
|WB||23. Aisling McCarthy (Tipperary, Ireland)|
|GEEL||24. Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels, VIC)|
|NMFC||25. Daisy Bateman (Oakleigh Chargers, VIC)|
|WB||26. Kate Bartlett (Peel Thunderbirds, WA)|
|CARL||27. Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges, VIC)|
|FRE||28. Philipa Seth (East Fremantle, WA)|
|COLL||29. Sophie Alexander (Collingwood VFLW, VIC)|
|ADEL||30. Jessica Foley (Sturt, SA)|
|MELB||31. Jordann Hickey (Northern Territory Thunder, NT)|
|COLL||32. Georgia Gourlay (Casey Demons, VIC)|
|BL||33. McKenzie Dowrick (Subiaco, WA)|
|WB||34. Selena Karlson (Southern Saints, VIC)|
|GEEL||35. Rene Caris (GWV Rebels, VIC)|
|NMFC||36. Courteney Munn (Southern Saints, VIC)|
|ADEL||37. Chloe Scheer (North Adelaide, SA)|
|CARL||38. Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges, VIC)|
|FRE||39. Courtney Stubbs (Subiaco, WA)|
|CARL||40. Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints, VIC)|
|ADEL||41. Katelyn Rosenzweig (North Adelaide, SA)|
|CARL||42. Jessica Edwards (Collingwood VFLW, VIC)|
|GWS||43. Brittany Perry (North Adelaide, SA)|
|MELB||44. Shelley Heath (Southern Saints, VIC)|
|BL||45. Lauren Bella (Bond University, QLD)|
|WB||46. Jessie Davies (Western Bulldogs VFLW, VIC)|
|GEEL||47. Maighan Fogas (Geelong VFLW, VIC)|
|ADEL||48. Danielle Ponter (St Mary’s, NT)|
|FRE||50. Parris Laurie (Claremont, WA)|
|COLL||51. Jordan Membrey (Wilston Grange, QLD)|
|ADEL||53. Hannah Martin (West Adelaide, SA)|
|GWS||54. Lisa Whiteley (South Adelaide, SA)|
|NMFC||55. Chloe Haines (Burnie, TAS)|
|BL||56. Tori Groves-Little (Coorparoo, QLD)|
|GEEL||57. Elise Coventry (Geelong VFLW, VIC)|
|NMFC||58. Libby Haines (Burnie, TAS)|
|FRE||59. Laura Pugh (West Perth, WA)|
|GWS||60. Ingrid Nielsen (UNSW Bulldogs, NSW)|
|BL||61. Jesse Wardlaw (Coorparoo, QLD)|
|GEEL||62. Madeline Keryk (Geelong VFLW, VIC)|
|NMFC||63. Nicole Bresnehan (Clarence, TAS)|
|FRE||64. Matilda Sergeant (Claremont, WA)|
|GWS||65. Renee Tomkins (Penrith-Auburn Giants, NSW)|
|FRE||66. Ebony Dowson (Peel Thunderbirds, WA)|
|GWS||67. Delma Gisu (Wilston Grange, QLD)|
|GWS||69. Haneen Zreika (Penrith-Auburn Giants, NSW)|
|COLL||70. Erica Fowler (Collingwood VFLW, VIC)|
|GWS||71. Ebony O'Dea (Norwood, SA)|