The WA draft prospect who has to 'use people as a step-ladder'

ROXY Roux. It's a great name, and one worth remembering.

The high-flying West Australian forward/ruck is likely to be taken with one of the first few West Australian selections in Tuesday's NAB AFLW Draft.

Fremantle has pick No.1 (No.12 overall) and West Coast has pick No.2 (No.19 overall) in the western pool of the state-based draft.

>>The 2019 NAB AFL Women's Draft will be live streamed on womens.afl, the AFLW App and the AFLW Facebook account from 10.40am AEDT on October 22. 

Roux possesses a strong combination of athletic traits and footy smarts. At just 170cm, her springy vertical jump means she has been playing in the ruck at times for WAFLW side East Fremantle and has starred in recent NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships. 

But her footy story is one of persistence and sacrifice, especially on the part of her mother, Gail Kinsell. 

Roux picked up a football at Auskick, as a growing number of players coming through the AFLW ranks have done, playing at Forrestdale, a southern suburb of Perth. 

Her talent identified early, she was quickly pushed through from Auskick to junior footy, playing with the boys until her family moved north to Dongara (the self-proclaimed "rock lobster capital of Australia"), a small town 350km north of Perth.

But there was no youth girls footy in Dongara, so once Roux reached the cut-off point for mixed, she was faced with a dilemma.  

WA's Roxy Roux. Picture: AFL Photos

"Mum looks at me and she goes, 'what are you going to do next year?' and I said, 'I think I want to go play with the girls', because I wasn't ready to give up football yet," Roux told womens.afl

"Obviously football was my life then. I didn't play netball, I had a little stint in cricket that lasted about one game before I realised I couldn't pick up a bat. I didn't really care about grades or anything, although Mum did.

"I wasn't ready to give it up, so my mother and my two younger brothers, we packed up our house up north in Dongara and we made the trip back down to Perth and started playing youth girls at East Fremantle Football Club. 

"That move was made solely so I could play football. I remember coming to my new school and telling my friends I'd moved down for football. They thought I meant so I could watch it on TV. Even though we actually didn't have very good TV reception, it was to play football."

Growing up, Roux played in the middle or behind the ball, but as she rose through the ranks and the games themselves became more structured with better delivery inside 50, teams could afford to place her in the forward line.

This year saw her ruck debut for East Fremantle, a big call for an 18-year-old when most players of her height sit on a flank, but it's been a long time in the making.

Roxy Roux in action against Vic Metro. Picture: AFL Photos

"I just have to use people as a step-ladder. It comes a lot from practicing with my brothers, specifically my older brother Dylan," Roux said. 

"We'd play marking or ruck games on the trampoline all the time. It was pretty much bounce, bounce, throw the ball, let's see who comes off best. 

"I never used to win, I'd get elbowed or kneed in the guts, I'd come off second-best, winded, bruised, have a little cry to mum that Dylan was being unfair, but other than that it's always just been a natural thing for me to jump.

"Coach 'Webbo' (Nikki Harwood) came to me in the first game and said she might put me in the ruck, and I was bouncing off the walls for the rest of the match, because I was so happy.

"Ruck is my favourite position, I love being in the air, really."

Roux doesn't just call for the ball during matches, she demands it, a deep bellow that cuts through the mass of players. 

She doesn't mind a goal celebration either, but it's worth keeping an ear out for her mum at future AFLW matches.

"It's an automatic reaction, I'm just so happy I've got the goal. I'll scream and stuff, 'yeah, let's go,' I'm so excited and hyped up," she said. 

"Interestingly enough, my mother, who's from South Africa, has her own war cry, which isn't anything like my shout. 

"I can't do her war cry, I can't even describe it, but if East Fremantle gets a goal, there's an African war cry, and you know we've scored. 

"It's pretty amazing, except when she wakes us up at 6am with it. Then it's just really loud."