Ararat's Ella Wood is on the brink of making football history

Ready: Ararat's Ella Wood is excited for what her future might hold in football. Picture: Cassandra Langley
Ready: Ararat's Ella Wood is excited for what her future might hold in football. Picture: Cassandra Langley

Ararat's Ella Wood is on the verge of history.

She could be the first player from Ararat to be selected in the AFLW draft.

At 11am on Tuesday, AFLW clubs will select footballers from across the country for the 2020 season.

"After the combine I still wasn't sure if I would get an invite to the draft," Wood said.

"I thought I did OK at the combine, but there were so many other girls who were really talented as well.

"The AFLW was late in sending out the invites to the draft, and I was pretty nervous waiting."

Wood said the draft was a really unknown process. Even after being invited, she was unsure if she would get picked up by an AFLW club.

"At the end of the day, I would be happy to be picked anywhere and be able to play football," Wood said about her preference of club.

"I haven't really thought too far ahead. My future is something I'll need to look into if I am not fortunate enough to be picked. There are other pathways and avenues to play football at a higher standard."

Starting her career at an Auskick clinic, Wood played under-12s at Tatyoon before continuing her football career at the Ararat Mounties. She then played three seasons with the Ararat Storm.

One of five children, Wood went along to a number of junior football games and training sessions with her older brothers.

"I picked up the football and had a natural kick and thought to myself I would take on the opportunity," she said.

"My brothers like to take the credit sometimes for my career - one of my brothers also has a left foot and always says I got my kick from him."

"I was fortunate to be selected for the Victorian side and it was a huge confidence boost," she said. "I initially didn't want to try out but was glad I did and was fortunate enough to get picked."

Being selected in the Greater Western Victoria Rebels program, Woods said the development opportunities she received over a number of years had played a big part in her football journey.

A move to the backline this season has helped Wood become accustomed to the pressure.

"I feel I've really grown as a footballer this year," she said. "The pressure has been a weakness in my game.

"I've always hated the pressure of the backline but I think when you have a great bunch of girls and supportive coaches it allows you to keep your head up high, no matter the score.

"Mental strength has been a really big focus this year and I think I've turned my weakness into something I can comfortably manage."

Wood's parents, Andrew and Megan will travel with the young footballer to the draft on Tuesday.

"We don't really know what to expect, only from what we've seen from past years," Mr Wood said.

"We never expected an invite to the draft - that came as a shock. We had already organised to have the day off and was just going to watch it at home.

"We're pretty excited. But as we've done for the whole of Ella's career, we will just take it one step at a time."

This story AFLW draft has Ella on the verge of history first appeared on The Wimmera Mail-Times.