'Right in the feels': The new Roo who had draft co-host choked up

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GEORGIA Hammond was sitting in her loungeroom, watching the live stream of the NAB AFLW Draft on her laptop.

The Darebin Falcons key forward had made the switch to North Melbourne's VFLW side for what turned into an aborted 2020 season, having been training with the club's AFLW team over summer.

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She knew the Roos were, in her words, "somewhat interested, but holding their cards very close to their chest", and after years of being passed over, the 28-year-old wasn't getting her hopes up.

And then the draft reached pick 44, a North Melbourne selection. Former Darebin teammate Melissa Hickey was co-hosting the draft, and in a moment of genuine emotion, choked up when she heard the name read out. 

As for Hammond herself, time seemed to stop.

"I can't even explain it. To hear your name get called out, everything happened in slow motion. I was hearing my name, I was completely shocked and overwhelmed, an array of emotions going through me," Hammond told womens.afl.

"Then you're trying to take all of that in, but then still listen to what [the panel] have to say. I was completely overwhelmed by Mel's reaction, it definitely brought out the tears. It was extremely emotional, it was such a raw reaction, it was really lovely.

"I played all my footy at Darebin with Mel, and you create these friendships and connections off the field just as much as you do on it, and you become a close network and family.

"You know what people strive for and how hard they work, so when it pays off and they get that, it's super emotional and you know how much it means to someone. And for Hickey, it got her a bit off-guard and right in the feels." 

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Time then snapped back to normal pace for Hammond, who was quickly inundated with messages, calls and FaceTimes from family and friends. By Saturday, she was at the club for her first unofficial, COVID-safe training session.

Hammond, who works for Victoria Police, had been anxious about the complete cancellation of the VFLW season and the affect it would have on her draft chances.

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"It was probably my biggest concern. I was really banking on having a really strong VFLW season to put my best foot forward coming into the draft," Hammond said. 

"I'm not 17 or 18, playing NAB League footy, I'm 28 and probably towards the end of my football career compared to some of the younger girls coming up.

"It had been a big decision to move clubs after eight or nine years at Darebin, they'd become part of my life and family, in a sense, but I thought I needed to give myself the best opportunity to get drafted.

"Then when it was all cancelled, I thought there was no chance."

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Hammond had previously captured the headlines with an astonishing goal booted from beyond the centre circle while playing for Darebin in 2019. At 174cm, she'll add a different dynamic to North Melbourne's forward line, which is primarily made up of smaller players and Emma King (when not rucking).

"It was a very still day, no breeze, I've always been able to kick it 79,000m or however the commentator described it," she said with a laugh.

"Nah, I think the 70km wind behind me that day was definitely in my favour. I've always played in the forward line and long or powerful kicking has always been a strength of mine, but the wind was definitely a huge help."