Whittlesea student chosen for AFL women’s draft

Deanna Berry

FOR the briefest moment, a sense of normality returned to Deanna Berry’s life today as she was welcomed back to Whittlesea Secondary College as one of women’s football’s rising stars.

The Year 12 student will start pre-season with Melbourne next month ahead of the inaugural season of the AFL Women’s competition after being chosen at pick No. 9 in Wednesday’s draft.

The 18-year-old, who played junior football with Mernda and St Damien’s before joining VWFL club Montmorency and VFL Women’s side Melbourne Uni, said her selection was yet to sink in.

“It was so strange, everyone was up and about,” Berry said about returning to school the day after being drafted.

“They all watched it and all my teachers were getting around me. It was really weird.”

One of the first people to congratulate Berry on her selection was the sport’s biggest star — Daisy Pearce — who just happened to be sitting in front of her at the draft.

It wasn’t long before the pair were posing for selfies with the rest of their new Demons teammates as Berry went through a whirlwind of draft day emotions.

“Daisy was sitting in front of me and I spoke to her before the draft so she knew I was behind her,” she said.

“She was straight onto it, said congratulations and there was people turning around saying congratulations and my body was just in complete shock.

“I didn’t know what to say or do. I got handed over a couple of Melbourne hats and then Daisy came back a couple of minutes later with a Melbourne T-shirt which was unreal.”

She left the most emotional chat of all for after she had left the draft venue, calling her mother Delwyn who was holidaying in Tasmania to discuss the realisation of her footy dream.

“It wasn’t until later that night,” she said.

“Mum and dad, it was just on loud speaker, they were just so happy and proud of me.

“They knew how hard I have worked.”

This story was written by Tim Michell and originally published in the Herald Sun in October 2016.