REBECCA Webster first joined TAC Cup Girls side, the Murray Bushrangers as a 14 year-old.
At that point in time, Webster admits the opportunity to play in a nationwide female Australian Rules competition was looking unlikely. But four years later, the 18 year-old is living out her dream; drafted by Geelong at pick seven.
“I’m really lost for words,” Webster said. “I never thought the day would come that we’d be sitting in there, so to get my name read out with the Geelong Cats was something I’ll remember forever and cherish.”
The occasion was even more special for Webster, as she had turned 18 the day before she got drafted, prompting a perfect birthday present. Before draft day though, Webster had contact with the Cats and says they were very engaging when trying to get her to the club.
“They were really good people and I know quite a lot of girls from Geelong,” Webster said. “They were very inviting. “They just wanted regional girls that were going to produce some great use coming through and I think that they’ve really done that with the picks they’ve picked.”
Webster joins the club alongside fellow Vic Country representatives such as Nina Morrison, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Georgia Clarke. She knows all these players well and looks forward to continuing her football journey with them.
“All the girls that are going to be playing down at Geelong, they’re really good girls and they know how to play footy,” Webster said. “We’ve got a really good bond so I think playing alongside them will be really good.”
Representing Vic Country over the years has been a valuable experience for Webster, who has modelled her game off one particular teammate who is now on an AFL Women’s list.
“I think I’m quite an individual but I’d love to think that I play kind of like Darcy Guttridge, she’s quite an attacking half-back player,” she said.
Like many up and coming players do, Webster also has some football idols. While Webster’s admired female footballer is a common admired name, she looks up to one of the more interesting characters of the men’s game.
“Probably Daisy Pearce (is my football idol),” the 18 year-old said. “From the males, (I like) Jason Akermanis. “When I was younger, I just thought he was cool.”
Webster spent some time this year with Melbourne University. While it was a big step-up, she says it was a valuable experience.
“The step was more so body size to get used to but other than that, I really enjoyed it and thought I fitted in pretty well,” Webster said.
The midfielder/ defender had to balance this along with playing in other teams, going to school and working. This can be a stressful prospect for anyone, but Webster admits she learnt how to juggle these commitments through football.
“With Year 12 and studies and all that sort of stuff alongside footy and work commitments, it’s obviously a very big juggle,” she said. “But with the footy side of things, I’ve learnt a lot of time management so that’s really helped this year.”
Now looking ahead to 2019, Webster hopes to use these lessons at her new AFL Women’s club. She also hopes to utilise her strengths in her game to make the most of her time at the Cats.
“I’m quite happy playing half-back flank down there,” Webster said. “But playing in different positions is something that I look forward to trying out and definitely with senior footy, you can be chucked anywhere.”