Lauren Wakfer was already the feel-good story of the AFLW draft when identical twin Zoe, who had planned to be her sister’s support act, stole the show. At pick No 15, West Coast had selected Lauren with the second live pick in Western Australia, despite the ruck being just a week after a full knee reconstruction.
Then with pick No 36, Zoe, who had not even attended the draft in her South Fremantle club polo, anticipating she would be in Melbourne purely supporting her sister, was brought to tears.
The Eagles called out the key defender’s name with the final selection of the first round, then handed her a polo, which she proudly wore over her dress: a surprise outfit perfect for the occasion.
“It’s surreal. I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t this,” Zoe said. “I was following her [Lauren]. I was here tonight for her, so to be called out as well as an even bigger surprise. So, [I’m] overwhelmed, gobsmacked.”
Lauren, long-expected to land on West Coast despite her serious injury, said she had not been given a heads-up Zoe could join her but had her suspicions.
“We shared the first interview; we both went in together, and they interviewed us together,” she said. “I think she [Zoe] had more interviews than I did with the Eagles.”
While Zoe could debut as early as August, Lauren, who attended the draft on crutches, will have to bide her time until next season after rupturing her ACL earlier this month. When asked how she had supported Lauren through her injury, Zoe quipped: “everything”.
“The past three weeks, I’ve been on foot and hand,” she said, pushing on through her sister’s indignant denials. “We went to a concert a couple of weeks ago when she first did it. We weren’t sure if it was an ACL or where RAC Arena was at the time, so I ended up piggybacking her.”
Given the pair play different positions, there is plenty of room for excitement when both Wakfers line up together for the first time.
“I would have taken her out if she competed for my spot. She wouldn’t be here tonight,” Lauren said, laughing.
The twins look set to become Eagles fan quicklyfavorites, provided they change one thing: their “avid” support of Fremantle.
“We’re diehard Freo fans,” Lauren said. “We’ll go for the Western Australian teams, but Freo’s always number one,” Zoe added. “It’s about to change, I guess.”
Earlier on Wednesday night, Sydney pounced on Montana Ham with the No 1 pick after the Victorian gun midfielder shunned clubs in her home state in favor of heading north.
Midfielder Ham was nominated for the NSW draft pool, citing lifestyle and future career reasons. That meant Sydney or GWS could only select the 18-year-old, and the Swans did not hesitate to select Ham as their first-draft pick.
“, Super excited. You’re always nervous until your name’s called out,” Ham said when presented on stage. “Massive honor, and I’m thrilled to attend the Swans. It’s a big challenge for me, but I’m super-excited to be moving to a new city.”
Ham’s decision follows fellow Victorian Charlie Rowbottom’s call last year to nominate for the Queensland draft pool, where she was taken as pick No one by Gold Coast. Drafts are still state-based as the AFLW is semi-professional and part-time.
Jasmine Fleming, daughter of former Australian cricketer Damien Fleming and niece of former Essendon captain Gary O’Donnell, landed at Hawthorn at pick No 2.