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Love of footy came late for Grant

The daughter of club legend and current Bulldogs’ director of football, Chris, is poised to join the club as a father-daughter selection in this year’s AFLW Draft.  - Western Bulldogs,AFLW,AFLW Draft
The daughter of club legend and current Bulldogs’ director of football, Chris, is poised to join the club as a father-daughter selection in this year’s AFLW Draft.

Isabella Grant is hoping her next time running out for the Western Bulldogs is a happier experience than her first.

The daughter of club legend and current Bulldogs’ director of football, Chris, is poised to join the club as a father-daughter selection in this year’s AFLW Draft. 

The nomination period for father-daughter picks runs from Monday, October 7 to Friday, October 11. 

At the NAB AFLW Draft, any club is able to place a bid on a father-daughter player and the club that nominated them must match the bid with their next available pick if they want to secure that player. 

"Dad retired when I was in prep, so I didn't really know much about his career," Grant, who also goes by 'Issy', told womens.afl.

"But I definitely remember being in the changerooms and running out onto the ground for his 300th match.

"I was in his arms, bawling my eyes out, I couldn't deal with the noise. That's my only memory of his career, absolutely hating it."

The versatile Grant has played a variety of positions since picking up the game four years ago at Spotswood Football Club in Melbourne's inner west, including in defence and as a tall winger, but has most recently made her name as a key forward for Vic Metro.

At 175cm, she is a strong overhead mark who leads into dangerous positions.

"I played basketball previously in my primary school days and the first half of high school. Then AFLW came around and I was like 'oh my gosh, women can have an opportunity to play it at the highest level, we can be a part of this'," Grant said. 

"I fell in love with footy straight away. I couldn't believe it, the culture, the game itself and how much it pushes you. 

"I quit basketball effective immediately because I just loved it so much. My favourite part is the speed of the game, you can have a bit of a run. Taking a big mark is also pretty satisfying, as is the contest. So literally everything about footy, I can't name just one."

Grant, a year 12 student at Caulfield Grammar, is one of many prospective AFLW and AFL players juggling her final year of high school with draft hopes. 

Studying chemistry, maths methods, English language and business management, Grant's hoping to do "something science-y" at uni next year.

"Footy's actually been great for year 12. It's given me motivation to study in a two-hour block, then go to training. They go hand in hand. I've got really great teachers and support and that makes everything easy," she said. 

Having already spent some time at the Bulldogs through the NAB AFLW Academy, where all members have the opportunity to train at an AFLW club closest to them over pre-season, Grant looks up to speedster Brooke Lochland. 

"She just does not stop running and her work rate is phenomenal. I really like the way she attacks her footy and how she's developed her game coming from a different pathway (speed skating), it's really outstanding."

Grant said her dad never "pushed a footy at me", but she now seeks out his advice when needed. 

Testing out the waters to see if she could barrack for a different club doesn't go so well, though. 

"One hundred per cent, he's great for tips. Although it's sometimes hard to listen when it's your dad. I feel like that's always the way. Whenever it comes from someone else, it's right, but when it's your dad, it's wrong.

"I did once ask him what he would do if I chose to barrack for Geelong. He said it would be fine, which shocked me, and then he added, 'but you'd have to sleep outside'."