By Jackson Russell
In just her second AFLW season with Carlton, former Romsey junior footballer Madison Prespakis took out the competition’s highest honour when she was named AFLW Best and Fairest last week.
The 19-year-old was the first female Blues player and sixth all-time to win their competition’s top gong, following legends such as Greg Williams and Chris Judd.
The award comes after winning the AFLW Rising Star award in 2019 and back-to-back Carlton best and fairests.
Prespakis played a great deal of her junior football with Romsey, from Auskick to under 14s.
Romsey Football Netball Club president Eden Jedwab, who was president of Romsey’s junior club while Prespakis was at the club, said everyone at the club was proud of her achievements.
“We’re extremely proud of what she’s done for herself, her family, the club and women’s football as well,” he said.
“She won a lot of club best and fairests, she played with the boys and wasn’t out of her depth and was always fairly strong.
“She’s very determined and from her early days, even before AFLW, she set her sights on being a professional footballer in a time when a lot of girls weren’t talking about it.”
After ageing out of mixed junior football, Prespakis continued her career at Sunbury and the Calder Cannons before starting her AFLW career.
Carlton coach Daniel Harford said what Prespakis had been able to achieve was ‘remarkable’.
“Elite in every way, the dedication to her craft and the care for her teammates and her football club, those things make Maddy a shining light for not only Carlton but the entire AFLW competition,” he said.
“If young girls coming through the junior system right now need any inspiration, they only need to look at the superstar running around wearing the number four navy blue jumper.”
Jedwab said it was disappointing for the club to lose Prespakis so early in her career and they were looking to create a pathway for future AFLW prospects.
“It was sad for the club and probably for Maddy to move away when she hit that under 14 level but that’s just how it is,” he said.
“While it was disappointing for the club, it was great to see her move onto Sunbury and bigger and better things for her career.
“The junior club is working hard to get a girls team up and going and hopefully as the numbers grow, they’ll be able to field some sides and those girls won’t have to move out of our community to continue their football.”