BETWEEN high school exams, Brenna Tarrant became a Demon, but what followed was the toughest part yet.
At just 18 years of age, Tarrant had to pack up her life in a hurry and make the move from New South Wales to Victoria to follow her AFLW dream.
“When I first moved down it was really tough,” Tarrant told Melbourne Media.
“I literally had my year 12 formal, then two days later I was down here, moved in and in training which was hard.”
After Tarrant realised her chances of playing in Sydney were slim, she decided to role the dice and stick her hand up for a career away from home.
“I thought everything was over, but then I saw that little spark with the Dees,” she said.
“I kind of forgot that I’d have to move, I thought I’d just pick it and see.
“But I guess that happens, everyone has to move sooner or later so I’m just getting a head start, I guess.”
Melbourne selected the youngster with pick No.72 in the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft, and while she was hopeful of landing at the club, she wasn’t quite sure what would play out.
“I’m never one to speak or think before it happens,” Tarrant said.
“That’s why I broke down crying so much when I got picked. I wanted to be picked up by this team, but I didn’t know, with the picks they had, if I’d go there.”
Tarrant’s emotions spilled over when her name was called out, and rightfully so.
She was amidst one of the most stressful times of any teenager’s life and said this day was “so surreal”.
“I was at the school library studying for my exams,” she said.
“I had been working for the past three days then I was at school studying for three exams in the next three days.
“It was really hectic, but it was that one sigh of relief. It just felt so good and I just started running around the school.”
At the time, Tarrant was naturally nervous about settling into the professional sporting team, but it didn’t take long for her to feel right at home.
“When I got that first call from [AFLW List Manager] Todd (Patterson), he sounded so genuine, so nice, and I knew this would be a really good environment for me to come into, going into a new state,” she said.
“Coming here the girls have been so great.
“I got text messages from everyone as soon as I was picked, and the coaches are really good too.”
With Round 1 just one month away, the Demons are now well and truly into their pre-season program and Tarrant is loving the challenge of training.
“It’s hard but it’s really enjoyable,” she said.
“I can feel myself getting stronger, you can see the girls getting stronger and we’re picking up the new drills really well.”
Tarrant, known for her strong marking overhead, played a lot of her junior footy in defence, but is equally as capable at the other end of the field.
“I want to offer a bit of versatility,” she said.
“We might lose players throughout the season, so I want to be useful somewhere else.
“I want to learn a lot of positions and fill a few roles.”
While there won’t be any expectations on the utility to have an immediate impact at AFLW level, she’s certainly embracing the lifestyle of an athlete and will be exciting to watch develop in the future.