In late July, there was a new wave of football stars drafted to AFLW clubs. One of those was new Bulldog Amanda Ling, and after missing out on getting selected in the 2020 draft, she’s more determined than ever to make her mark on the game.
The Inner Sanctum spoke to Amanda Ling about her draft night experience and what she can bring to this young Bulldogs outfit.
Although it wasn’t until year 8 that Ling started playing AFLW, it didn’t stop her from dominating from her very first game.
“So I started when I was in year 8,” Ling told The Inner Sanctum.
“A lot of people thought that I started a lot earlier, but some of my school mates needed extra players at the local club at Whitehorse Colts.
“I just went down, and it was only meant to be for one season and turns out that I wasn’t too bad at it, so I carried on and went into multicultural programs set by the AFL and then got linked up with the Oakleigh Chargers.”
It was a nervous draft night for Ling but once her name was read out, she was over the moon.
“It was surreal to be honest, that night will be a night that I won’t forget. I was just sitting there on the couch, heart beating out of my chest. It was so nerve-wracking, but it was so great to hear my name get read out.
“I couldn’t even respond [when my name was read out.] I was so happy, I looked over and mum was jumping up and down and everyone on the couch was jumping up and down. It was great experience for the whole family.
“I looked at the video and everyone was like ‘why aren’t you jumping up and down?’. I was like ‘to be honest, I was in that much shock that I couldn’t even get off the couch’, it was amazing.”
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Although she didn’t know where her destination was prior to her name being called out, the new Bulldog feels like things have come full circle.
“It was a complete shock to be honest, but I’m really glad that I ended up there because I did have a VFLW opportunity with them at the start of the NAB league season which I turned down.
“It just feels like it’s come full circle and they’re a great club. I’m just super stoked to be there.”
After missing out on the draft in 2020, there was that determination from Ling to go and come back stronger than ever.
“I think last year it really gave me that drive to go harder this year, and really go for it and give it all that I’ve got. It made me more determined to get it this year and it made it more special.”
Ling is a classy inside midfielder with lots of speed and has the potential to become one of the next AFLW superstars. She’s looking to bring that to the Bulldogs’ midfield come the 2022 season and beyond.
“I hope I can bring some speed, some clean possession, quick hands and just to get the clearances out of the middle and into the forward.”
With the 2020 NAB League season being cut short due to COVID-19, being able to go back and get full season up against some of the best up and coming stars has put her in good stead when making the jump to AFLW.
“I think with the NAB League getting pushed up to Under 19’s as well, the mature-aged players and the competition stepped up as whole and I think the physicality did as well.
“It really guided me in the right direction, going to VFL afterwards and really paved the way, I guess, to the AFLW competition now.”
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