When Brooke Tonon was first told she would be switching from her preferred position as a forward to the backlines, she felt trepidation.
But the move propelled the youngster to a consistent performer with Glenelg’s SANFLW side and firmly into the sights of AFLW recruiters.
On Tuesday night, the defender became one of three new Crows players when Adelaide selected her with pick No.20 at the AFLW Draft.
Tonon, who doesn’t turn 18 until September, credits her move into the backlines for her draft success.
“A week before the SANFLW season started my coach was like, ‘Give defence a crack’ because we had a lot of forwards,” Tonon said.
“In the first few rounds I was a bit nervous but I then learnt so much and I’m glad he put me there, it’s worked out pretty well.
“I think more of my strengths can be shown in the backline rather than playing as a forward.”
Like many, Tonon and her family have sacrificed a lot to give her the best opportunity to realise her dream.
Originally from Mt Gambier, Tonon relocated to Adelaide to start Year 11 last year and has since boarded at Scotch College.
The defender, who is also a handy winger, said she was grateful for her family’s support.
“Driving every week to Adelaide (before moving)… my parents have sacrificed so much, so I’m more proud than anything,” Tonon said.
“Being drafted and winning the SANFL premiership are probably the best days of my life.”
Tonon decided to give Aussie Rules a go after seeing a girl who was the same age playing in the footy team as she made her way to netball trials.
She played both footy and netball with East Gambier for a few years but soon realised footy was the sport that had captured her heart.
“I really like the intensity and the physicality of it and what really brought me in was the culture, I feel like every team I’ve been part of has had a good culture,” she said.
Tonon said she was looking forward to meeting all her new teammates and taking her game to the next level.
“The Crows are a really good side and to know they have belief in me... to be part of that is just exciting,” she said.