Western Jets rising star Jemima Woods has taken a big step on the path to the AFLW, snaring a highly sought invite to the competition’s key pre-draft talent showcase.
The gun Bacchus Marsh teen, who has also pulled on the jersey for the Western Bulldogs VFLW, is one of a handful of NAB League players invited to attend the AFLW Draft Combine, which puts prospects through their paces prior to the NAB AFL Women’s Draft at the end of July.
Woods, 18, said she is excited by the opportunity to demonstrate she can mix it with some of the game’s best.
“It was pretty surprising as not many girls got picked this year,” she said.
“At the start of the NAB league season it was my goal to get to this point, so it feels pretty good.”
The journey for the talented forward and midfielder stretches back to involvement in Auskick around the age of five followed by steady progress through her teens.
She said people’s attitudes to women’s football have come along in leaps and bounds during that time.
“It was so weird, when all the girls actually started playing and the AFLW took off it was suddenly cool to play now,” she said.
“That was a big change, all the girls were playing netball and basketball and stuff and now they’re playing footy as well.”
Woods said she still enjoys watching the elite men’s teams go round, but the chance to see women living out her dream at the top level is a real inspiration as well.
“It’s cool because earlier you just had to watch the boys play, which was cool as well, but watching the girls play you get more of an idea of what the game is like at that level.”
Woods is now setting her sights on taking her own game to that level as early as this summer, hoping to catch the eye of recruiters at the draft combine.
“My game has definitely improved the second half of the season, I moved around positions a bit, moved a bit more in the midfield, and that’s worked well for me,” she said.
“I still like to play in the forward line though, swapping into the midfield.”
Woods said her VFLW experience has also been a great opportunity to mix it with some of the game’s best.
“A lot of the AFLW girls are also rotating through that comp, so it’s been really cool training with them and playing with them,” she said.