Debutante Dani Marshall says the best part about playing her first AFLW game was getting the win with her teammates.
Marshall, who became the first American to play AFLW when she took to the field on Sunday against St Kilda, said the feeling was “indescribable”.
“To run out there alongside all the women that you’ve been training with – that’s really the best part,” Marshall said post-game.
“You work with these girls, you respect each other, you love each other – getting to play with them and win with them is one of the best feelings.”
The soccer convert managed to get on the scoreboard early, showing off her foot skills with her first kick resulting in a goal.
“I don’t think you can write the script any better,” she said.
“You’ve worked this hard, moved across the world, my husband’s only been here two and a half weeks as well – to have all that come together (feels) absolutely amazing.”
The 28-year-old first discovered AFL back in 2009, when it popped up on ESPN while she was looking for the English Premier League, but didn’t physically play until nine years later.
“I just fell in love with it. I watched (AFL) while it was on ESPN for about two years, but was ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when ESPN dropped it – I couldn’t find it anymore,” Marshall said.
“I finished college, got married and moved away, but as it happened to be, my college roommate (who I’d watch it with) got recruited to the women’s team in Houston Texas, told me there was a team where I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and I started playing in 2018.”
The first-gamer impressed senior coach Nathan Burke with her versatility on Sunday.
“When Celine (Moody) went down in the first five minutes with her ankle, you could be thinking to yourself, ‘we haven’t got another ruck in the team, what’s going to happen?’,” Burke said.
“I looked over to the bench where Dani sitting and said ‘Dan, you’re in the ruck’.
“Her response? ‘Yeah, no problem’.
“I don’t know whether it was naivety, but (even when I said) ‘I need you to go forward and want you to kick a goal’ it was ‘yeah, no problem’.
“If I had said ‘I need you to go full-back’ she would’ve said the same thing - to have that sort of player in your team is just a godsend.”
The AFLW Bulldogs will host Melbourne at VU Whitten Oval for their first home game of the season on Friday night at 7.40pm.