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Elise seizes the day

Matt Burgan  October 12, 2016 10:29 PM

AFLW draft: Elise O'Dea Elise O'Dea speaks to Melbourne TV after being selected with Melbourne's first pick in the inaugural AFLW Draft

TALK about fortune favouring the brave.

Three years ago, Elise O’Dea rolled the dice when she left a glorious football career in the ACT Women’s League at the Belconnen Magpies – which featured four consecutive best and fairest awards and a 2012 All-Australian selection – to come to Victoria.

The aim was to improve her chances of AFL selection by playing in the strongest women’s football competition. She backed herself further by joining the strongest team of all: the Darebin Falcons, who were beginning a run of four straight premierships, which O’Dea would be a key player.

“I moved to play football and it’s been great,” O’Dea told melbournefc.com.au, who was the Falcons’ vice-captain in the inaugural VFL Women’s season.

O’Dea stepped up to the highest standard as a playmaker, cutting through packs and possessing a booming boot. On top of pulling on the Big V in 2013-14, she would play for Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in Women’s AFL Exhibition Matches.

At 1.26pm on Wednesday, the player affectionately known by her teammates as ‘Junior’ made history: Melbourne women’s football operations manager Debbie Lee called O’Dea to the stage, after the club named her with its first pick in the inaugural AFL Women’s Draft.

“I thought the best thing I could dream for was being picked in the first-round,” O’Dea said.

“But to have it presented by Deb was actually even better.”

O’Dea is one of six Darebin players who will be pulling on the red and blue in the inaugural AFL Women’s competition.

With her selection, she joined marquee picks Daisy Pearce and Melissa Hickey and priority pick Karen Paxman. Soon to join her were later draft selections Lauren Pearce and Brooke Howells.

“It’s all just setting in,” she said after the announcement.

“Now I just can’t wait to play.”