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Abby Bushby joins West Coast Eagles in AFLW

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 9:35 AM

What a 2022 it has been for exciting 17-year-old Swan Districts star Abby Bushby. She played some brilliant WAFLW games for Swans, she played State 18s for Western Australia and now has been drafted into the AFLW by the West Coast Eagles.

Having grown up in Karratha, playing AFLW felt like a faraway dream for the talented left-footed running machine but when she moved with her family down to Perth, her football began to take off.

She started playing with High Wycombe before coming to Swan Districts but really it was only about 12 months ago when she thought AFLW was a genuine possibility.

With a raking left foot and tremendous running ability, Bushby was emerging as a rising star and it's all come together for her in 2022.

She would end up playing 12 WAFLW League matches with Swan Districts which included her being named to the Team of the Week four times and averaging 16.4 possessions while kicking six goals.

Not only that, but Bushby also played for WA in the State 18s and then to top it off, last week she was selected at No. 24 in the AFLW Draft by the West Coast Eagles.

She has now already begun training with the Eagles ahead of the AFLW season beginning at the end of August and to be able to join the Eagles means the world to the 17-year-old.

"It means pretty much everything to me," Bushby said.

"Growing up a bit younger and knowing that there is a pathway for girls to strive for is pretty awesome. Now knowing that I might be playing AFLW and could have little girls looking up to me is pretty cool."

Last Wednesday night was a big night in the Bushby household. She was given no guarantees that either West Coast or Fremantle would select her, but the excitement and nerves were certainly there as the draft unfolded.

However, once it was time for selection 24, the Eagles picked Bushby and the rest is history.

"It was actually a complete mystery. I was just at home with the family and I invited my two best friends over to watch it on the tele," she said.

"We set up the camera for every West Coast and Freo pick, and then we got to pick 24 and my name was called out. It was an awesome feeling.

"I'm not sure I can describe it too well but it was just a great feeling. The family was stoked. We had fire crackers and everything going off so they were over the moon. Dad even shed a couple of tears which is always great. They were stoked about it."

Bushby has always enjoyed playing football through her teenage years, but really it's only been the last 12 months where she thought about AFLW being a possibility, and moving forward that she could make a career out of the game.

The chance to spend time in the State Academy is when it all really clicked for Bushby and combined with the standout football she was playing through the midfield and on the wing in the WAFLW for Swan Districts, and everything came together in 2022 heading into the draft.

"It was really only this year and maybe a little bit of last year where it really clicked to me that it could be a pathway that I want to go down and try to play AFLW," Bushby said.

"Just being around the state programs and getting involved in that, and then going to the academy this year was really cool. That really was a big turning point for me. Just being at the academy, it gives you a bit of an experience about what it's like to be a top level athlete.

"It shows you about waking up early, the meetings, the games and it was a really cool experience just to learn what it would feel like if theoretically we did get drafted. It was just so much fun meeting all the new girls and so many new people so it was a really good experience."

Now that Bushy is part of the AFLW system and the upcoming season is only seven weeks away, she should be thinking about what sort of a role she could play for West Coast.

"I'd love to hopefully be a midfielder just so I can work away around the ground so I can take on the game, and kick some goals as well which would be awesome," Bushby said.

"I like to use my left foot to my advantage so hopefully I can do that in the AFLW now."