When Rachelle Martin heard her West Adelaide teammates Maddi Newman and Chelsea Biddell had been drafted by Adelaide’s AFLW side, she quickly jumped online.
She bought a plane ticket to Brisbane for early February – in the hope she would attend Adelaide’s Round One match against the Lions and watch her two friends debut for the Crows.
Unfortunately, her plans were thwarted by a West Adelaide trial match being scheduled on the same weekend as Round One of the AFLW season.
However, after a whirlwind week, fate would have it that Martin not only ended up in Brisbane to watch her friends debut, she debuted alongside them.
Recently, the AFL adopted a new rule allowing clubs who have players ruled out for the season to sign replacement players to train with them full-time.
Last Monday, Martin and Czenya Cavouras received the call up to full-time training without an expectation to play – as the duo cannot be selected unless the side has only 22 fit players left.
But with several players ruled out with injury, Martin suddenly found herself being booked on a flight to Brisbane.
“I only started training on Tuesday and then after training Thursday, they said the squad was down to 21, so either me or Czenya would be the emergency to come over,” Martin said.
“I was a bit shocked actually and I thought that Czenya would get in – I wasn’t expecting to get picked.”
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The 20-year-old was proved wrong though and once she got to Brisbane, she was told she would be making her AFLW debut.
“It was very surprising being told and I didn’t prepare very well beforehand – I only had a toastie for dinner,” she said.
“When they told me, I was excited and nervous, but I was happy to tell my family and they were happy for me.
“It’s weird to think about it all – I was supposed to be playing a trial game with Westies.
“But it was good to debut with the girls and my friends as well, so it’s very special.”
Despite the lack of preparation time, the in-and-under midfielder did not look out of place at all as she thrived in the wet conditions.
She recorded nine disposals, two clearances and two tackles - a performance she believed would hold her in good stead as she approaches the SANFLW season.
“I like the wet weather, so I think it suited me well,” Martin said.
“Doc [coach Matthew Clarke] said to just play footy, so I tried to do that the best I could and tried to put pressure down there.
“It’s good to experience the top level and know that I can play well there, it gives me more confidence realising I can actually do it.”
On Sunday, the Crows will play their first game on Martin’s home ground of Richmond Oval, with the match starting at 4.40pm.