IT ALL STARTED on Facebook for Jackie Parry.
Sure, that’s not the usual pathway to a professional sporting career, but it worked wonders for the 23-year-old who was drafted to Melbourne on Tuesday.
Earlier in the year, the Demons took to social media promoting a talent search, giving young women a chance to prove themselves ahead of the AFL Women’s Draft.
“My friend tagged me in the post and so I wasn’t even really concentrating when I signed up for it, but I’m glad I did,” Parry told Melbourne Media.
“I thought, I’ve got nothing to lose.”
And she was spot on.
Parry, who lives in Canberra, funded her own flights down to Melbourne to train in front of the club’s talent scouts, and ended up hearing her name called out with the Dees’ first selection in the draft – pick No.54.
That reality is still hard to comprehend.
“Every now and then it hits, and I get a few moments of shock, but it still hasn’t sunk in,” Parry said.
“My phone was out of control, especially on the day.
“Lots of the girls have messaged me which is really lovely.”
It has been a whirlwind few years for Parry, who made the decision to move out of her Melbourne home and follow her studies.
“In 2015 I got into ANU (Australian National University) and came pretty much straight up after I finished high school,” she said.
Prior to this, football wasn’t in the equation for the 176cm forward, instead, she was playing a high level of soccer.
“I played all throughout high school pretty much,” Parry said.
“I played at South Melbourne and got a few games in the premier league when I was in year 11 and 12, and then I graduated and moved to Canberra and took it a bit easy up here while I settled in.”
Her uni friends then convinced her to give Australian Rules a shot, and within 12 months she joined Queanbeyan to test herself at a higher level.
Parry went on to boot over 50 goals in her second season of footy and has now found her way onto an AFLW list.
“I can’t put words on it, especially seeing last year I wasn’t taking it very seriously,” she said.
“It’s only been this year that I’ve kind of put my head to it.”
Although she’s still new to the game, Parry is a natural footballer who will provide a great target inside 50 for the Demons in 2020.