Greater Western Sydney (GWS) women's coach Alan McConnell is looking forward to working closely with Wagga's Ally Morphett.
The 17-year-old East Wagga-Kooringal product's dream came true on Tuesday night when she was picked up by the Giants in the AFL Women's (AFLW) Draft.
She earned herself $5000 from NAB in the process for being the first NSW footballer selected in the draft.
McConnell has worked 'on and off over a couple of years' with Morphett and firstly acknowledged what she's been through to make it onto the Giants list.
"She's obviously been an integral part of our academy in the last 12 months. It's the first year of our women's academy and Ally's had an interesting journey," McConnell said.
"Over the last few years, god knows the number of kilometres she and her family have had to drive between our academy program, the Bushrangers and playing at Belconnen. She's done a huge number of miles and due credit, particularly to the family, to have gone out of their way to make all of this happen."
Morphett, at 188cm, was the tallest player available in Tuesday night's draft. She needs no further growing as she will enter the system just a centimetre shorter than Giants ruck Erin McKinnon, who has been one of the tallest players in the competition in recent years.
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Traditionally young rucks take time to develop, but McConnell has not ruled out Morphett making an instant impact at AFLW level.
"That remains to be seen. Ally's done a fair bit of work in the conditioning space. You look at the photos of her over the last couple of years and it's amazing. She's changed shape completely over the last couple of years," he said.
"At the inception of AFLW, it was pretty much every child player won a prize. Everyone got a go. The level of physical preparation and the level of footy IP has improved dramatically in the last couple of years so it's not as easy to get to the level as it was. And that's why it's become a better spectacle to watch.
"But there's opportunity for Ally on our list if she's good enough. We've had historically two rucks on our list, two full-time rucks, if you like, and Jess Allan is on leave for the next 12 months due to work with the Army so there's certainly opportunity there if she's good enough."
McConnell is also keen to see what Morphett can offer as a forward.
"She's a lovely kick, she's a great mark so we'll be looking to develop her forward craft as well, which will give her a couple of options in terms of being able to get a game," he said.
"I know she's pretty driven and focused and looking forward to it so if she's good enough, she'll get a go."
As the Giants, and the women's game, looks to grow their presence in the Riverina, McConnell believes Morphett is a great example of the opportunities that are now available to young women.
"Our academy is still growing down there in Southern NSW and this is a great stimulus for that, we'll find more girls out of that space that want to play for us going forward," he said.
"The women's game has just blossomed and exploded so much in terms of participation. No more so than in NSW since the inception of the AFLW competition.
"Ally is a great example of providing opportunity and stimulating young women to chase their dreams."
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