Trentham’s Jenna Bruton is set to play on the big stage in 2018 after being selected in Wednesday’s AFL Women's Draft.
Bruton, who lives in Trentham and is a former Daylesford Secondary College student, was selected by the Bulldogs with pick 11.
She was the club’s second selection behind overall number one draftee Isabel Huntington.
Bruton was recruited after a standout VFLW season with the St Kilda Sharks, where she was named the club’s best and fairest.
Ballarat’s other key draft hopes Tahni Nestor and Sophie Alexander missed out on being selected on Wednesday.
Nestor had been searching for a new club after being delisted by Carlton at the end of the 2017 season, while Alexander has recently taken up the sport and was looking to find a home in the AFLW.
Bruton’s football career started by playing against the boys at Trentham, but progressed to the Ballarat Football League’s youth girls competition, where she became an instant star.
The 21-year-old watched Wednesday’s draft at the family home before heading down to Melbourne to meet people at her new club.
Bruton’s mother Suzy said her own diagnosis of a brain tumour had played a part in her daughter not nominating for the draft last year and that her daughter had felt like she was missing out during the inaugural season.
Though she still played Victorian Women's Football League for the St Kilda Sharks during 2016, Bruton had lost her passion for the game while she tried to deal with her mother's illness.
Bruton had a breakout season in the VFLW being selected in the league's team of the year and winning her club's best and fairest.
There is a possibility Bruton could play for the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat next year, with the club a chance to host some of its home games at Mars Stadium.
The 2018 AFLW season is set to begin in February and will again be battled out between Bruton’s Western Bulldogs, Brisbane Lions, Adelaide Crows, Melbourne, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle and GWS Giants.