WOMEN’S footy was first seen in 2013, in an exhibition match between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
Now, seven years later, Elise O’Dea is preparing to take on the side whose guernsey she first pulled on.
“That was just so exciting because we were playing on the MCG and running around in AFL colours,” O’Dea said on the Inside Melbourne podcast.
“It was a bit surreal because you’re playing against Melbourne, who is the team I love and support, but at the same time you’re just so happy to be running around, kicking the footy on the ’G.
“Who knew what it would turn into – it’s amazing.”
In such a short space of time, the AFLW has grown into a 14-team league – an incredible development O’Dea could only have dreamed of after the inaugural match.
“It definitely just felt like an exhibition, one-off type game,” she said.
“It never really felt real until the start of season one when we all played in the first round.”
With the competition entering its fourth official year, rivalries have sparked – none more so than the one between the pioneers of the league.
“Not just because of the exhibition games, I think now that we’ve got some games between us in seasons gone by, there’s a real sort of rivalry there and a lot of dark memories,” O’Dea said.
The Dogs upset the Demons in 2018 in a clash that had finals on the line, but Melbourne got its redemption with a one-point win in Round 6 last season.
To hear O’Dea preview this Friday night’s contest, alongside Libby Birch and Lily Mithen, tune into the Inside Melbourne podcast below.