NEKAELA Butler is proud to look back on what she achieved in her one season with the Richmond Tigers.
Butler was drafted with pick 55 in the 2019 AFLW draft, and worked hard on the training track to earn a debut match in the final round of the 2020 season.
The former Horsham Demon was de-listed by the Tigers earlier this week, but remains determined to bounce-back and play football at the highest level she can.
"I was disappointed, but it's nothing I could change," she said.
"I tried my absolute hardest at the time, and now I just have to try even harder to get re-drafted.
"The goal is still to keep playing footy, even if it's not at that highest level. If it's VFL or something like that for another season so I can develop more, that would be a good outcome."
Butler said she would not change a moment of her time with the Tigers.
"I'd definitely do it all again," she said.
"I was very proud of myself to do what I did - I didn't think I was even going to get drafted in the first place, so I was very surprised that it all happened.
"I've done a lot of things I really thought I wouldn't have at the age of 18. It's all happened so quickly, but I don't regret any of it at all."
Butler's only disappointing moment was that her family could not watch her debut in person.
I've lived my dream, to play my first AFLW game- Nekaela Butler
It came just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to create chaos, forcing Butler to play the biggest game of her life in front of an empty stadium.
"I was definitely very happy to play that game. I was a bit disappointed that Mum and everyone couldn't come watch, but at least I've lived my dream to play my first AFLW game," she said.
"That was all I was really aiming for in my first year."
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Butler finished the match with a flurry of possessions in a loss against St Kilda.
After a quiet first three quarters, she reeled in four possessions in the final five minutes of the match, including a slick handball to a teammate to set up a shot at goal.
"I kind of just said, 'I'm just going to try and get the ball here', because nothing was working for me position-wise in the first three quarters," she said.
"It was probably a bad thing to do for the coaches, but I just did it."
Since getting drafted, Butler moved to Melbourne to help her pursue her football dream.
She has remained in the state's capital during Victoria's second lockdown.
Butler works in an aged-care facility in Preston, which has fortunately avoided the COVID-19 trouble seen in other aged-care homes across the country.
"It definitely is (a bit strange)," she said.
"But it's pretty good. You feel safe. They take a lot of precautions at my facility, we're wearing facemasks, gloves, and it's a pretty quiet facility."
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