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AFLW: Devlyn's rollercoaster ride back to Freo

Sarah Black, AFL.com.au  October 23, 2017 4:43 AM

Stephanie Cain was taken with pick no.2 in Wednesday's NAB AFLW National Draft.

It's safe to say 19-year-old Beatrice Devlyn has had a rockier start to her AFLW career than most.

She didn't get drafted in 2016 and was a late call-up to Fremantle as an injury-replacement player in January for the 2017 AFLW season.

Then, she was delisted after two games. 

Devlyn was overlooks in the 2017 AFLW Draft but two days later, selected by Fremantle in Friday's rookie draft.

"I had some conversations with my manager, who had spoken to Michelle [Cowan, Fremantle coach] and Wade [Spilcker, Fremantle AFLW manager] during the year just to float the idea, but I didn't officially find out until Thursday night when Michelle rang me, so that was pretty cool," Devlyn said. 

The life-long Dockers fan knows how lucky she is to be able to represent the club she loves, but acknowledges a fair bit of hard work has gone into her reinstatement on an AFLW list. 

"I go to all their home games, I've been a member forever, so it's a dream come true to play for Fremantle," she said.

"Not knowing whether I was going to get picked up is pretty stressful.

"Last year I was so close, I eventually got picked up, but I just missed out [on the 2016 draft]. Then this year, it was just a waiting game."

While some AFLW players took time off during their state-league season to let their bodies recover, Devlyn played all 14 matches for South Fremantle in the WAWFL, determined to improve her contested work.

"There were just some general things I had to work on, like being in and around the contest a bit more," she said.

"I just had to really focus on that contested footy because that's what women's footy is about. The ball spends a fair bit of time on the ground, so getting in there and getting it out really quickly.

"I was already pretty good at it, but that's what Michelle wanted me to hone in on and I spent a lot of time doing at club level."

Like most AFLW players, Devlyn has a full schedule off the field, combining two part-time jobs at Subway and Woolworths with a sports science degree at Murdoch University in Perth.

She is often described as a "utility", but unlike most utilities, isn't one of the tallest players (178cm), she's just quite versatile.

"I prefer being in the midfield, but I'll play anywhere if I get to play for the Fremantle Dockers," she said.

"That's where I played my best footy in juniors, across half-back and through the midfield.

"I love running around, following the ball and kicking it inside 50, being that key contributor."

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