Lions, recruit finally on same Paige
PAIGE Parker's persistence has finally paid off with the young defender named as the Brisbane Lions' first AFLW draft pick for season 2019.
The Coorparoo talent headlines a list of eight recruits for the Lions, with Brisbane also picking up All-Australian ruckman Lauren Bella, promising Western Australian McKenzie Dowrick and Queensland under-18s captain Natalie Grider in a successful day in Melbourne.
Tori Groves-Little, Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw, Jacqueline Yorston and Jade Ellenger also joined Brisbane's 33-player squad as the club aims for a third straight AFLW grand final next year.
Top choice Parker, who was overall pick No.9, was a dark horse selection for the Lions, but one that is deserved after years of hard work.
The 23-year-old only started playing the game three years ago at the recommendation of Brisbane's AFLW CEO Breeanna Brock, but failed to qualify for the Lions' squad over the last two seasons.
She said her draft selection was a reward for all the effort she has put in over the last few years as part of the club's train-on squad.
"I originally trialled as a rookie for the Lions and missed out. I missed out again last year, but we got there in the end," she said.
"I always knew I wanted to play for the Lions so I kept working harder. I didn't take it as a reason to give up. I knew I had the potential.
"(Selection) obviously means the world. They've had faith in me from the start. They have put the effort in to develop me as a player.
"Every young girl that plays sport wants to be a professional."
Coach Craig Starcevich said Parker - who played for the Gold Coast Suns in the Winter Series - was deserving of her spot and he cannot wait to see what she produces for the club next year.
"She's been terrific in terms of her perseverance and willingness to learn," he said.
"This year playing for Coorparoo and the Suns … we started to see her understand the game.
"The penny dropped in both those competitions and we saw Paige emerge as someone we really want on our list."
Parker is also an Australian touch football player and while the AFLW will now become her major focus, she said she will continue to play the game she has been involved with since the age of 10.
Geelong kicked off the draft with the top two picks, adding gun midfielder Nina Morrison and teenage talent Sophie Van De Heuvel to their list.
Carlton made history by selecting the first ever father-daughter recruit Abbie McKay, who is the daughter of premiership defender Andrew McKay, while Cyril Rioli's cousin Danielle Ponter was picked up by Adelaide.
1 - Paige Parker (Coorparoo) Defender; pick 9
2 - Natalie Grider (UQ) Midfielder; pick 22
3 - McKenzie Dowrick (Subiaco, WA) Utility; pick 33
4 - Lauren Bella (Bond University) Ruck; pick 45
5 - Tori Groves-Little (Coorparoo) Forward; pick 56
6 - Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw (Coorparoo) Forward; pick 61
Compensation pick - Jacqueline Yorston (Wilston Grange) Midfielder
Compensation pick - Jade Ellenger (Coorparoo) Defender