For new Essendon forward, Caitlin Sargent knowing she didn’t have to sit through another AFLW draft period waiting and wondering, was such a relief.
A star for the Western Jets last year, Sargent went undrafted and returned to the Jets in the NAB League Girls competition.
This year she led the league goal kicking with 21 goals and was a key in the Jets first premiership. She also kicked three goals for Vic Metro during a game in the national championships.
Her performances had AFLW clubs watching.
Essendon was among them and signed Sargent as an open age player to its inaugural AFLW list.
Sargent said she was thrilled to have realised her dream of making the AFLW.
“It was a sigh of relief,” she said.
“I’d been in contact with them late in the Jets season and had a couple of meetings with them.
“They told me the good news the day after the grand final. It was pretty big and I was relieved not to go through the draft again.”
Sargent said while missing out on being drafted last year was disappointing, she knew that she could return to the Jets for another year. It would be her fourth year at the Jets.
It would be a year to remember with the Jets stunning everyone to claim the premiership.
“It was a really good team,” she said. “We did really well and performed really strongly.”
Making an AFLW list has been something Sargent has dreamed of since she started playing football.
She started at St Bernard’s, before moving to Melbourne Uni and later Caroline Springs.
“I have played footy pretty much since I was 10,” she said. “I’ve been through all of the rep programs.
“I’ve always wanted to play. I’ve been part of Robbie Campbell’s Rookie Me program since I was nine, that has been the biggest help for me.”
Sargent has already started to immerse herself at Essendon. She has been training with the club’s Victorian Football League Women’s side for more than a month.
The decision was made that she wouldn’t play with them, but just train with the focus on the future.
She will start pre-season training with the AFLW side this month. Among her new teammates is Bonnie Toogood.
“I watched Bonnie Toogood closely for her forward craft,” she said. “When I found out she was coming to Essendon I couldn’t believe it, it’s a bit crazy.
“I’ll definitely look to spend time with her.”
Sargent said now she was keen to just start training and get to meet everyone.