'I was shocked when I landed': WA gun on THAT mark, Freo mentor and rapid rise

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JUST two years ago, Shanae Davison was playing local youth girls footy for Noranda Hawks in the north-east of Perth.

In a rapid rise up the ranks that Davison herself can't quite believe, the 19-year-old is now on the verge of being selected in the NAB AFLW Draft on October 6. 

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Davison moved down to Perth from Broome with her mum five years ago for greater school and sport options, having played Auskick and juniors with the boys in the northern town, but fell into basketball in her new city.

"One of my mates was looking for more players for her local footy team (Noranda) ahead of the 2018 season. I had been wanting to get back into it for ages, my family is footy mad," Davison told womens.afl.

"I went to Swan Districts the year after, initially to play Rogers Cup (U18s). But 'Juddy' (Fremantle skipper Kara Antonio) was the coach and wanted me straight in the WAFLW League team, so I was very lucky."

I felt like it was all happening really fast last year. It was just crazy, I did not think I was up at (draft discussions) level at all. This year, I was able to prepare properly, I knew what I wanted to do and how to get there

Shanae Davison

Despite not being selected for the 2019 NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships held in June and July, by October the 164cm forward/midfielder was in draft discussions with both Fremantle and West Coast.

Davison ultimately didn't make the cut, but feels she's in a much better position for it, and was invited to the 2020 NAB AFLW Academy as an inexperienced over-ager.

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"I felt like it was all happening really fast last year. It was just crazy, I did not think I was up at (draft discussions) level at all. This year, I was able to prepare properly, I knew what I wanted to do and how to get there," she said.

"I was definitely disappointed to miss out, but at the same time, I knew in myself that I wasn't ready. I was very skinny, and my eyes had been wide open through the whole season. 

"I've been trying to work on my fitness, bursting out of packs and driving my legs as soon as I get the ball.

"Body positioning has been another focus. I played forward most of this year, so I definitely felt like I was able to get in better positions. Last year, I was just chasing after the ball."

Davison had a brief moment in the sun after a high-flying mark hit social media.

"I do mark the ball really well, it's probably one of my strengths, but I've never done anything like that, and I honestly couldn't tell you where I pulled that one from. I was shocked when I landed," she said with a laugh.

Davison has worked closely with Antonio over her time at Swan Districts, having been taken under the wing of the Freo star.

"She's been really good to bring me in when I was new and didn't know anyone," Davison said.

"She's helped me outside of footy with skills, in the gym, my running, doing the extras with me. That's something I'll really appreciate for a long time."

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The top West Australian talents vying for draft selection will face off on Saturday in the state's NAB AFLW All-Stars match.

Davison is unavailable for selection, having been given orders to rest an ankle initially injured at the start of the year. The delayed start to the WAFLW season due to COVID-19 restrictions worked in her favour, giving her time to recover.

U18 ALL-STARS Check out the full fixture and results

"I ruptured the ATFL, the CFL (both ligaments on the outside of the ankle/foot joint), I had tendon damage and a bit of bone bruising, so I did it pretty well," she said. 

"I got back to playing, but it's still not quite right, so the clubs want me to rest.

"I'm so competitive, I still want to play."

Stay tuned to womens.afl and the AFLW Official App for comprehensive coverage of the 2020 NAB AFLW Draft