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New AFLW Rookie Crow Calista Boyd

I love running everywhere – midfield, backline and in the forward line. And kicking goals is a bonus.

A mansion or a caravan? Calista Boyd isn't fussed.

The 18-year-old has had a rapid rise through the football ranks, from picking up the sport three years ago to now being one of the most promising AFLW draft prospects from the Northern Territory.

Under the Northern Territory's arrangement with Adelaide in what is a state-based draft, Boyd was only eligible to be selected by the Crows.

AFLW Rookie pick No.8: Calista Boyd

Boyd spent the first 14 years of her life in Queensland playing touch football.

A move to Darwin, and an introduction to Australian Football through her grade 11 teacher and now-Adelaide player Sally Riley, led to Boyd playing for the Northern Territory Thunder just a year later. 

She most recently played for an Allies team at the NAB AFLW Under-18 National Championships. The squad was made up of the best juniors from South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. 

"I didn't even think I'd move to the NT [and] I didn't see it [Allies selection] coming to be honest," said Boyd, who bounced into the room for this interview showing off big eyes and grinning from ear to ear like she had a secret to share. 

"I thought I'd be a touch football star, making it big. Hopefully, own a mansion or a caravan, I don't know," she said with a shrug and a grin.

When asked about the unusual pairing of a mansion and caravan, Boyd elaborated. 

"I love to travel, especially back at my island home, the Torres Strait Islands.

"The place is filled with family. My father's side is from Boigu Island, and my mother's is from Darnley Island," she said.

"I've only been to the main one, Thursday Island. I love going back home. There's good fishing and traditional hunting there. It's like paradise." 

Boyd made a 12-hour trip from Thursday Island to Melbourne to take part in the NAB AFLW Draft Combine on October 3-4. 

The trip involved a ferry ride from Thursday Island to Horn Island, a flight from Horn Island to Cairns, and then another flight from Cairns to Melbourne.

Lightly built and standing 157cm (just one centimetre taller than the shortest AFLW-listed player, Angelica Gogos from the Western Bulldogs), she runs rings around bigger opponents and isn't afraid to dive into a pack.

Her 20m sprint time at Darwin's AFLW talent search last year was in the top-10 recorded nationwide at AFLW screening sessions.

Boyd plays her footy wearing a thin headband, with a crazy tangle of thin braids pulled back in a ponytail. The look sums up the controlled chaos she plays her footy with. She seemingly plays in five different spots at once, the smallest body on the ground emerging from a stoppage with ball in hand.

Adelaide coach Bec Goddard (who also coached the Allies during the under-18 carnival) described Boyd as "twinkle toes". 

"Calista would be a handy addition to any team either as a forward or midfielder, but she's particularly dangerous around goal. 

"She's got one of the best goose steps I've ever seen – she's incredibly evasive." 

Goddard believes Boyd uses her small frame to advantage. 

"They're all kids coming through … even the boys, so of course they're going to be small. 

"She's that skinny and tiny that you don't know what she could be after a few years in the gym," she said. 

"And being small definitely has its benefits, especially if you don't want to be tackled."

Having completed secondary school last year, Boyd now works as a painter in Darwin, and is the only female in her crew.

"I love working with men. I get along with the blokes. I treat 'em well and they treat me well. We look after each other. It's a team," she said.

It's a curious image, the petite Boyd keeping up with an otherwise all-male group of labourers, but it shows there's more to the livewire midfielder than meets the eye.

"I love to tackle. It's great," she said with a laugh. 

"I love running everywhere – midfield, backline and in the forward line. And kicking goals is a bonus. It's a privilege to play."