NOBODY could accuse Carlton marquee signing Darcy Vescio of not having embraced her AFL club.
Already working at Princes Park three days a week as a graphic designer, one of Vescio’s projects is designing the inaugural women's guernsey for the "new" dark Navy Blues.
The strong-marking forward, a St Kilda fan growing up who has played exhibition matches for the Western Bulldogs, is keen to get her hands dirty out on the oval too in the build-up to the AFL women's league next February.
"I could never imagine this happening. I hung up my boots at 14 because I couldn't play with the boys anymore," Vescio said this week after being named one of the Blues’ two marquee signings.
"It's unbelievable to think that conversation will never have to happen again. Girls will never be told again they can't play AFL."
Vescio's stop-start footy career is a familiar tale that soon will become a relic – the youngster who followed big brother into AusKick through junior ranks, only to be told she could not play with the under-14s team.
Reverting to netball and tennis to feed her competitive instincts, she resumed football after moving from Wangaratta in Victoria’s north-east at 18 to start a university course in Melbourne.
She joined VWFL club Darebin Falcons and the goalkicker has played in three premierships and twice represented Victoria.
An AFL multicultural ambassador, her Italian and Chinese backgrounds make her a perfect fit among the diverse cultures at the inclusive Blues.
Vescio, 23, has represented the Bulldogs in exhibition games for the past three years. She will be reuniting with Carlton's women's coach Damien Keeping, who was in charge of the Dogs when they beat a West Australian team at Etihad Stadium in early June.
Right now, she is committed to assisting the Falcons' quest for another flag while familiarising herself with the workings inside Carlton.
"There will be opportunity for a bit of rest in late September, early October," she said. "Players will take that opportunity to switch off because there's a massive pre-season coming up and then we roll straight into our (new) season. It will be a heavy load, but it will be up to the clubs to manage it."