by Tara Murray, Star Weekly, 19th October, 2020
Draft night couldn’t have been any better for new Western Bulldogs AFLW recruit Isabelle Pritchard.
A diehard Bulldogs supporter who lives down the road in Spotswood, Pritchard was hoping that she might make her way to Whitten Oval in the draft.
It was a dream come true, when the Bulldogs used their third pick, pick 16, to take Pritchard.
“It’s very exciting and it’s unreal,” Pritchard said. “Especially since I’ve grown up with the Dogs my whole life, it’s a dream come true.
“From picks 11-16 those were some of the clubs I’ve had interviews with. I wasn’t expecting to go then, but thought maybe I would go around then.
“There was a bit of silence when all those picks read out from pick 11 to 15 and it wasn’t my name.
“The room was silent and it came to pick 16 and we all had our fingers crossed and all hoping that I would be picked.
“My mum and dad erupted and my brother was so happy.”
Pritchard has become the second Spotswood female player to be drafted by the Bulldogs, after they took father-daughter pick Isabella Grant last season.
Pritchard said having that relationship will Grant will help her when she heads down to the Bulldogs.
“Growing up at my local club, I played for Spotswood and my coach there was Chris Grant, who is the director of football at the Dogs now.
“We’re good family friends with Chris and I’m good friends with Izzy already. It’s just so good knowing her.”
Pritchard isn’t a complete stranger to the Bulldogs, having trained at the club earlier this year as part of her time in the AFLW Academy.
She said it gave her an insight into what she has to expect.
“I’ve met with all the players before which is really comforting… they’re all really nice.
“I know it will be a big step up. I remember when I trained there at the start of the year, I did that week with them and by the end of the week, I couldn’t walk properly.
“I was so sore. I know it’s a step up and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Pritchard said she was unsure when she would start training as she juggles year 12 study as well.
She had the GAT the day after the draft and admits she had only three to four hours sleep the night before with all the excitement.
“It’s super exciting and it will be good to take my mind off study and get a little break. It’s super exciting being able to start training.
“I’m going to try and learn as much as I can in the environment… and see how much I can improve.”
Pritchard was one of two Western Jets players taken in the draft. Amelia Velardo was taken at pick 25 by Collingwood.