GANMAIN’S Clare Lawton is still coming to terms with the fact she is set to become the Riverina’s next AFL footballer.
Lawton added a new chapter to Riverina’s rich AFL history when she was picked up by Greater Western Sydney (GWS) in Wednesday’s AFL Women’s Draft.
She will begin pre-season with the Giants in November before taking part in the inaugural AFL Women’s competition in February and March.
Lawton was at lunch with friends keeping a casual eye on the draft when she saw her name appear.
She had not been contacted by the Giants since attending a testing day and had given up hope of being drafted.
“I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, thinking I wasn’t going to get picked up,” Lawton recalled.
“I had the draft going on my phone and looked down and my mug popped up. Then I got a message from the coach, Tim Schmidt, and a call from the manager.”
Lawton is still on a high from the shock selection.
“Nervous and over the top excitement. It still doesn’t feel real,” she described her feelings.
“I didn’t think I would ever get this opportunity but the fact I’ve managed to pull it off is pretty exciting.”
Lawton, 22, works in the defence force and is based at Townsville. She will be transferred to Kapooka at the end of the month.
“The fact I’ve gone from trying to find a comp or a team to play for (in Townsville) to now getting to play in a full AFL competition is pretty crazy,” she said.
“For girls to get recognised as elite athletes is out of this world. I didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime. The fact it’s come in now, I can’t believe it and full credit to everyone that has put in the hard yards to make it happen.”
Lawton learnt her trade at Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong but credits her time with the Riverina Lions as instrumental in her pathway.
While playing with defence form teams, Lawton played rugby in Townsville this year to keep fit.
After being in Townsville for the past two years, Lawton cannot wait to return home.