Peel Thunderbirds gun Sabreena Duffy is hoping to move a step closer to her dream of playing at the top level when she’s put through her paces at the AFL Women’s National Draft Combine in Melbourne this October.
The midfield star – handpicked as one of just 36 players nationwide to attend the combine – is hoping to make an impression on AFLW talent scouts when they put her through several rigorous fitness and agility tests at Marvel Stadium (formerly Etihad Stadium).
Duffy joins Subiaco’s McKenzie Dowrick and Claremont’s Jasmin Stewart as the only three WA talents attending, and is hoping to make her mark as she eyes selection to an AFL Women’s club via the draft on October 23.
“I was a bit shocked when I got an invite – I wasn’t aware that’s how they go about it so when I was asked to attend I was pretty stoked,” Duffy told the Mandurah Mail.
“To be honest I didn’t really expect it.”
While the 18-year-old’s modest approach may be endearing, her repertoire speaks for itself.
The Thunderbirds phenom took out the WA Women’s Football League rising star award for the 2017 season, and only impressed further in 2018 when she finished in the top 10 for the league’s Dhana Kerr Best and Fairest award despite missing several games due to state responsibilities.
She has also captained WA state teams and represented the Black Swans at the under 16s and under 18s level, where she earned all-Australian honours.
When asked what she would bring to an AFL Women’s club, the young gun pointed to her all-round approach on the field.
“I like to run and carry the ball, but I can also play a bunch of positions,” she said.
“With Peel I play about 90 per cent midfield, 10 per cent forward, but at state level I’ve been playing off half back, so that versatility is something I have to offer.
“Off the field I like to be a leader around my team so I’m hoping that could play a part too.”
Duffy has also had the pleasure of playing alongside AFL Women’s talents such as Fremantle’s Tayla Bresland and Carlton’s Katie Grieve in her Peel uniform.
“What I’ve learnt from those guys has been huge for me,” she said.
“Bres is always messaging me with advice and Katie has given me some insight in what it’s like to play AFL Women’s in a different state so they’ve both been awesome.”
Prior to the draft combine, Duffy will play in the under 18 all-stars match at Adelaide Oval, which showcases the top 44 players from this season’s national tournament and then determines the all-Australian make-up.
It’s another chance for her to impress clubs at the elite level, but Duffy insists she’s keeping a level head.
“To be drafted would be a huge honour, but if I don’t get picked up this year I won’t be heartbroken,” she said.
“It will just be motivation to keep pursuing my dream.”