'Inseparable' duo set for a lifetime of battles

BOOM Carlton draftee Maddy Prespakis will draw on her experiences watching close friend Monique Conti win an AFLW premiership when she makes her debut for the Blues.

Having forged a strong bond with Conti through female talent pathway programs, Prespakis will get her chance to impress when the Blues' campaign begins on February 3.

Before she was taken at No.2 in October's NAB AFLW Draft, Prespakis watched on as Conti was named best on ground in the 2018 Grand Final for the Western Bulldogs.

After playing together at TAC Cup club Calder Cannons and for the Vic Metro representative team, the pair will find themselves on opposition sides in 2019.

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"Coming through Metro and TAC Cup, I was always very close with Monique," Prespakis told AFL.com.au.

"I still go to watch her play basketball (WNBL) and things like that. Obviously when she played her first game I went to watch and it gave me goosebumps just to see one of my close friends debuting.

"Just to think I could possibly be doing that next year (2019) it would be a dream come true for me – I know that I've always wanted to do it as a little kid."

Having played all of her football at junior level, Prespakis said she had adjusted to life as a senior footballer after a challenging start to life at IKON Park.

"Every time you do a drill it's such a high intensity," she said.

It's been a big step up, but I feel like I've settled in really well with the load and the running side of things, doing gym after training and those type of things.

"I've personally loved the challenge and my body was sore after the first week, without a lie, but I think my body is adapting to it."

Prespakis was on hand with Geelong's No.1 pick Nina Morrison as the AFL announced a four-year deal to broadcast every AFLW match live last month.

Having been part of the NAB AFL Academy together, Prespakis said Morrison would present a tough task when their sides meet in round four.

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"Nina and I played against each other in TAC Cup and the same with Vic Country and Vic Metro, so we've been head-to-head a few times," Prespakis said.

"She hasn't been playing footy as long as some of the other girls.

"She's just an absolute workhorse up and down the field, always transitioning.

"I think the way she finds the ball is incredible. She's definitely a hard player to stop and I'd much rather be on her team."

The duo has managed similar accolades during their burgeoning careers.

Named as respective Vic Metro (Prespakis) and Vic Country (Morrison) MVPs in July's Under-18 championships, they then couldn't be split for the TAC Cup best and fairest announced in September.

"(I) pretty much think of an elite player," Morrison said of Prespakis.

Nina Morrison and Madison Prespakis with their MVP trophies from the U18 championships. Picture: AFL Photos

"She's got incredible skills, works really hard too, and I think she performed better than some might've been expecting at the (NAB AFL Women's Draft) combine.

"(She) did super well and showed her willingness to work hard."

After juggling football commitments while completing year 12 as school captain at Geelong Grammar, Morrison was named dux with an ATAR score of 99.75.

Her move into life as an AFLW player was made easier having played VFLW for the Cats under AFLW coach Paul Hood this year.

"Knowing a few of the coaches already makes it easy to transition but all of the girls have jelled together really well and it's been so much fun," Morrison said.

"Just the time commitment is something that you don't experience in the under 18 program, staying at the club later at night and longer hours.

"I was lucky enough through the Academy program, train with the Western Bulldogs last year and do a few sessions which was really helpful to learn about those time commitments."

The Cats kick-start season three of AFLW, hosting Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday February 2.

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