WHEREVER one of Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison goes, the other seems to follow, with the duo backing up their AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP) award by being crowned dual winners of the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest.
Prespakis has long been touted as one of the best Under-18 female footballers while Morrison has had an outstanding 2018 season. This has allowed the duo to develop a strong friendship, despite being fierce competitors on the field. They played alongside in each other on a rare occasion in Adelaide on Friday night, and Prespakis admits that it would be nice to do it again. Although the Cannons captain was proud to take out the awards, she couldn’t think of a better person to do it alongside than Morrison.
“Coming off the winner of the carnival with Nina across Australia was obviously a very big honour and something you’ve sort of got to wrap your head around,” she said. “Those little wins, you’ve got to be proud of yourself at the end of the day and to do it with Nina, I couldn’t think of another person more deserving of Nina. “To come in tonight and to take it out with Nina once again was a very big honour and hopefully in the future we can play alongside each other. “I’m just excited to see where Nina goes and I’m very proud of the way she’s gone about it.”
There is a chance that Morrison could end up in her hometown, Geelong, next year with the new expansion team coming into the AFL Women’s competition. The Falcons premiership player is excited about this prospect.
“It’s obviously really exciting that an expansion club is coming in,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for the AFLW to build and talent to expand so it’ll be exciting if I get to play down there. “I’m just looking forward to playing next year and just see what happens but yeah, it’ll be pretty exciting.”
Prespakis on the other hand is still keeping her options open in terms of what AFL Women’s club she will nominate for.
“I suppose obviously it plays on your mind a little bit when people ask you where you want to go and stuff,” the Vic Metro representative said. “I’ve sort of kept it between me and my family and one of the ladies looking after me. “Obviously, nominations do open soon and that’s when those conversations sort of come into play.”
Morrison is honoured to not only have drawn comparisons with Prespakis, but to win some prestigious awards alongside her too.
“Maddy’s obviously a very good player,” she said. “She has been all year and years past as well so I guess to be compared to her is like a big honour. “I really respect her as a player on the field and off the field, she’s a great person as well. “I’m privileged to get these awards but I think it’s just sort of an added bonus that comes with the team success.”
The talented duo have both tried their hand in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition this year and have enjoyed matching it up against some of the finest AFL Women’s players. Prespakis noted the faster pace of the game compared to TAC Cup Girls, and experienced more running in a Melbourne University jumper compared to a Calder Cannons one.
“For me, I played against NT in my first game and I thought they were amazing, they were so fit and I ran almost two k’s (kilometres) more than what I would run in a Youth Girls game so for me, the running and the speed of the game was really high,” she said.
At the Cats, Morrison identified the increased physicality of the competition as the biggest difference compared to playing in the TAC Cup Girls competition.
“I think probably the biggest difference is probably the step up in physicality,” the Falcons midfielder said. “Obviously, you’ve got a lot of bigger bodies running around so it’s always going to be a bit more physical so I think the skill level can correlate a little bit. “There’s probably a bit more depth in the VFLW and you’ve got some really quality AFLW players playing in there so it’s a great opportunity to test yourself against that next level up.”
Morrison has admired AFL Women’s players such as Daisy Pearce and Emma Kearney while Prespakis has modelled her game around Kearney, Ellie Blackburn and Karen Paxman. These players have played a huge part in AFL Women’s and Prespakis says the up and coming talent will continue to make the competition a hugely successful one.
“They’re definitely players to watch but you know, upcoming players such as Nina is another one to watch so the future’s looking bright for AFLW and it’s only just getting better,” she said.