From Coomandook to the Crows: Abbie Ballard to make AFLW debut

FRESH FACE: Abbie Ballard, left, has impressed coaches since being drafted and will debut on Saturday as a result. Photo: Adelaide Football Club.

FRESH FACE: Abbie Ballard, left, has impressed coaches since being drafted and will debut on Saturday as a result. Photo: Adelaide Football Club.

Multiple trips from Coomandook to Adelaide every week to play footy over the years have been rewarded, as Abbie Ballard is set to make her AFLW debut this Saturday, January 22.

Ballard, who played for Strathalbyn in the Great Southern Football League Women's, and West Adelaide in the SANFL Women's, was drafted to the Crows with pick 34 at the AFLW Draft last July.

At the time, she told The Standard it was a "dream come true" to be part of an AFLW team.

"I knew it was happening but just until my name got called out I was still a bit nervous and stressed," she said.

"I've worked so hard and it's finally paid off."

She has been named in the side to take on the West Coast Eagles at Swinburne Centre in Melbourne on Saturday, January 22.

Her selection in the Crows' team for round three is reward for an impressive effort since joining the club, senior coach Matthew Clarke said.

He said she "trained the house down" during pre-season and, as a result, would be the first of the Crows' three 2021 draftees to be selected to debut.

"She was probably a bit stiff not to be (selected) in the first two rounds... she's a great left-foot kick, a real ball hunter," Clarke said.

"She can play through the midfield, she will probably play forward initially for us, but long-term she'll be a midfielder for our club, which is great."

In South Australia, the match can be watched on Channel 7 or Kayo, with the the first bounce at 12.10pm ACDT (12.40pm AEDT).