It’s been an incredible fortnight for Mikayla Hyde, who just 10 days ago was expecting to watch the NAB AFL Women’s season from the sidelines.
The 19-year-old is one of two Freo Dockers set to make their debut in round one against GWS on Sunday at Fremantle Oval.
Hyde and Sarah Verrier will play their first AFLW games on Sunday, however the pair had very different journeys to round one.
Verrier was picked up with Fremantle’s first round pick in the draft in October while Hyde was recently added to Fremantle’s list as a replacement for the injured Leah Mascall.
Hyde was one of three ‘top up’ players who took part in a scratch match against West Coast a fortnight ago, where she was named as one of Freo’s best by senior coach Trent Cooper.
Unbeknownst to Hyde, the game was not only an audition to get a spot on Fremantle’s list, but her performance was good enough to put her in the mix for round one selection.
“I still haven’t really processed that I’m on the list! And then when Coops announced that I’m playing in front of all the girls, I had no words. It’s amazing and something I’ve dreamt of forever,” Hyde said.
“(In the scratch match) it was like I had nothing to lose. In my mind, I didn’t have a place on the list so I didn’t feel they were watching to select me. That changed pretty quickly.”
Hyde said making her debut alongside a good friend in Verrier would make the whole process easier.
“I feel really comfortable with the girls around me. I played so much footy with ‘Sez’ growing up as well and the Swan Districts girls are making me feel welcome,” Hyde said.
“Sarah and I, we go back to 2015 playing State 15s and State 16s together and eventually State 18s, so we’ve been playing footy alongside each other forever, so that helps and we’re really comfortable around each other.”
Tiah Haynes will also make her return to the team after a bad run with injury that saw her delisted following the 2018 season and redrafted in October.
Star midfielder Stephanie Cain will play her first game in just under a year injuring her ACL in round one of the 2020 season, while emerging midfielder Matilda Sergeant will play her first game since the 2019 preliminary final.
It will be a near full-strength Fremantle led by captain Kara Antonio and featuring star players Kiara Bowers, Gemma Houghton, Hayley Miller, Gabby O’Sullivan, Ebony Antonio and Sabreena Duffy.
The clash will see young gun Dockers Roxy Roux and Mim Strom commence just their second AFLW seasons as they look to grow after making their debuts in 2020.
Key defender Janelle Cuthbertson will look to be Freo’s rock in defence and she will be well supported by the likes of Ange Stannett, Evie Gooch, Laura Pugh and Emma O'Driscoll.
Katie-Jayne Grieve and Maggie MacLachlan have been named as the emergencies.