Calder Cannons and Melbourne Uni ball-winner Madison Prespakis is well prepared for a potential career in the AFL Women’s following a decorated junior-football journey.
The 17-year-old (turning 18 in November) is a top prospect for the NAB AFLW Draft on October 23 after jointly winning both the TAC Cup Girls Best & Fairest and AFLW U18 Championships MVP awards (alongside Nina Morrison) in 2018 as well as earning selection in the AFLW U18 All Australian team.
Prespakis has also been named in consecutive TAC Cup Girls Teams of the Year, having played a role in Calder’s 2017 premiership team and taken on the captaincy of the Cannons this season.
The inside midfielder later graduated to play six Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s matches for the Mugars – averaging team-highs of 26 disposals, 14 contested possessions and six clearances per game – capping a successful season that was a long time in the making.
“I started playing Auskick when I was four years old at Romsey (Riddell District FL),” Prespakis said at the recent AFLW Draft Combine.
“I had to stop playing with the boys when I was 14 and that was probably one of the hardest times in my life. I loved playing with the boys and I think in a way they set me up for where I am today. They didn’t take it easy on me; they treated me exactly like one of them, and that’s where I think I got a lot of my strengths from.
“At that stage I really didn’t think I’d play footy again because I didn’t know much about girls’ footy, but the pathway we’ve been given and the opportunities we’ve had recently are just unreal.
“This year I have gone back and reflected a little bit on what I’ve achieved, and it shocks me because I didn’t think in a million years that I’d achieve it.”
Competitiveness and sharp skills on both sides of her body has helped Prespakis make her way in football, but she also says hard work was a key factor in her long list of recent honours.
Roles this year as both a newcomer at Melbourne Uni and a senior player at Calder have seen her develop in different areas.
“Playing my first VFLW game was such a step up in speed,” Prespakis said. “I enjoyed getting that feel of what senior bodies are like, but it’s a fast game and I definitely need to work on my fitness.
“I’ve also worked a lot on my leadership – not just on the field but helping girls off the field. I think I’ve learnt a lot about myself in that way.
“You don’t know it until it actually happens – when girls actually look up to you in some way. It shocks me sometimes when a girl my age or older than me actually looks up to me; it’s a pretty surreal feeling.”
THE AFLW DRAFT WATCH ‘FAST FIVE’ with Madison Prespakis
Why should an AFLW club draft you?
“I’m a hard-working person and I push hard to get the best out of myself. I think my strengths are my kicking and my inside physicality.”
What is the funniest or weirdest question you’ve been asked by an AFLW club?
“I haven’t been asked any weird questions from a club yet.”
Who is your football idol?
“In the AFL someone like Nat Fyfe (Fremantle), and in the AFLW Emma Kearney (North Melbourne), Ellie Blackburn (Western Bulldogs) and Karen Paxman (Melbourne). They can all play as inside midfielders, they can all take hard hits and they can be damaging on the outside and all push forward and kick goals.”
Who will be selected with pick no.1 in the 2018 AFLW Draft?
“Definitely Nina Morrison. A very talented athlete and she has worked very hard to get to where she is today.”
Which of your 2018 teammates should also be in draft consideration?
“Players like Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power). I’m close friends with her and would love to see Tyla get drafted. She lets her actions speak while she is training or playing and that’s what makes her stand out.”