Less than 15 hours after being selected by St Kilda at pick number four in the AFLW Draft , Horsham's Ella Friend was back at school completing her year 12 studies.
After watching Tuesday night's draft with her family in Horsham, the 17-year-old had to leave her home first thing Wednesday morning, to be back in time for her classes at Ballarat Grammar.
Although the forced return to reality left her little time to celebrate her mammoth achievement, Friend said she had yet to come down from "cloud nine".
(It's) pretty surreal still," she said.
"I'm super excited to get down to the Saints and get started."
While most drafts had the former Horsham Saint being selected in the top ten, Friend herself said it was a "nice surprise" hearing her name called out at pick four.
"I was expecting a fair bit lower," she said.
The versatile Friend at 175cm with a classy left boot and a great set of hands, is seen as a quality pick up for the Saints who finished their inaugural season (2021) in the AFLW in 11th position.
Friend has already been in contact with some of her new teammates and coaches via Zoom but will travel down to meet everyone when she can.
While Tuesday night was an exciting time for Friend, it was a proud moment for her supportive parents who watched the draft unfold on the couch next to her.
"Last night (Tuesday) was like no other!" Friend's mum Michelle said.
"It was the best."
Ahead of Friend in the draft were Charlie Rowbottom at pick one (Gold Coast), Georgie Prespakis at two (Geelong), Charlotte Thomas at three (West Coast) before Stella Reid (Richmond) rounded out the top five.
St Kilda had one other draft selection - pick 12 which they used on Ashleigh Richards from the Dandenong Stingrays. The Saints passed on pick 36.
This year the AFLW competition will start in December and finish in March to avoid overlapping with the men's competition.
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