Every thing has comeup quickly for top WA prospect Amy Franklin, who has been on the radar as a key position player for the past two years. However, she has had plenty of curveballs thrown her way during this time.
Until recently, the young key forward didn’t know getting drafted was well within her grasp or, even in a realm of possibility for her.
She is set to go within Western Australia’s top three picks, with both West Coast and Fremantle keeping a close eye on her.
Selection in both the WA state AFLW Academy and the AFL Women’s academy, plus time in the Claremont WAFLW and State under 19 squads has put her name on the map, and made the difficult to achieve; achievable, for her.
“I’ve only been playing footy for the past four years and I feel at the start of last year, it was only put into perspective that I could actually try and get drafted,” Franklin told The Inner Sanctum.
“I had never really played sports growing up and I never really knew what it took to get to the top level. Now coming in this year, it’s just been a dream over the past two years to get to this point, and I’m extremely proud of myself for making it this far.
“A lot of people wouldn’t get these kind of opportunities and I feel like it’s great to know that I’ve made it here with a great bunch of girls and try and do my best to get drafted.”
Part of doing her best to get drafted, was navigating uncharted waters of the backline to better herself as a player.
Despite playing as key forward for the Claremont WAFL Women’s side, she was assigned a more defensive role in the 2021 AFLW Under 19s Championships. She took the opportunity with both hands, and learned some valuable lessons.
“Back’s kind of unknown territory for me,” Amy Franklin said.
“I was thrown in the deep end a little bit. I was told I was playing in the backline, and I’ve never played in the backline my whole life.”
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For some, it would’ve been easy to give up, or let the unknown circumstances consume them.
For the 18-year-old though, in a move that defined her maturity and class, she refused to let it deter her and made the most of the opportunity, despite how it forced her to challenge herself.
“It was a really good experience because it’s really good to know from both ends,” she said.
“I feel like it’s improved me as a forward because now I know how the backs work a little bit more. At the start, it was a bit hard for my brain to switch over a little bit.”
Many have classified her as a key utility player, but she prefers to play forward and is hoping to become a key part of either West Coast or Fremantle’s inside 50 brigade in the AFLW draft. However, she hasn’t ruled out the backline entirely.
“I feel like I enjoy playing in the forward line a lot better, but I’m sure that’s just because I’m used to it, but I’m sure if I was in the backline a bit longer then I’d like that too,” Franklin said.
But that wasn’t even the most difficult part of her tenure in the Under 19s Championship.
She failed to board the plane to Adelaide in late March after failing a concussion test, which was disappointing for her, especially after missing opportunities to play the year prior.
“I remember we were all ready, a week to go and we were warming up and I got a footy to my head and everything just went blank, and I got told I had a concussion, and I was missing out,” Franklin said.
“It was probably the worst thing I had heard in a long time because last year we didn’t get to go anywhere because of COVID. I feel like it was a little upsetting because I had been waiting for such a long time for this and it felt like it was taken out of my hands and I couldn’t do anything about it.”
The Claremont product was luckier a few weeks later, and managed get on the field during both matches against the Allies and Victoria Metro, kicking a goal in the latter match.
Franklin, upon reflection, said going to Melbourne with her teammates was “amazing”, and played her role well in both matches.
Against the Allies, Franklin had nine touches, four rebound 50s and two marks, while against Victoria Metro, she balanced her time in both lines. She finished with 12 touches, two marks and tackles, and a goal.
In the WAFLW, she has kicked 13.5 for Claremont, across 12 games, with her best outing against Subiaco in round four. There, she booted three goals and was a key part of their 20 point victory.
Heading into the draft, both nerves and excitement are starting to kick in, but she credits nerves as a motivator for her
“Nerves are a big part of me, like before games, I just get extremely nervous, but I feel like it’s good and it pushes me and drives me to be the best footy player I can be,” she said.
“Coming into the draft, I feel like the nerves are really settling in because there’s no footy anymore… it’s been a long thing, so now that it’s almost here it’s almost scary.”
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