When Gabbi Featherston steps out for her first game on GMHBA Stadium on Saturday, she is determined to embrace the moment.
The 18-year-old has been named to make her AFL Women’s debut against Carlton on Saturday night, with the Cats seeking to open their account for 2022.
Featherston, who was picked up by the Cats with pick 9 in the draft, said being named for her first AFLW game is “like a dream come true”.
“It’s really exciting – I didn’t think it would come this soon in the season, but just take it as it comes, I guess,” Featherston said.
“(Playing at GMHBA Stadium) kind of helps settle the nerves a little bit, because I know where I’m going and I know the ground well.
“And at least I know I’ll have some family to come to the game to support, because it’s close to them.
“(I'm hoping) just be in the moment, take it all in, and just focus on the little things that I can do to help the team. But mainly just enjoy it and be present in it.”
The Geelong Falcons graduate - who also played locally with Colac Imperials and represented Vic Country in 2021 - is renowned for her vertical leap.
Despite standing at just 170cm, Featherston played tall as a forward in her underage years, with her athleticism and contested marking among her key strengths, and stepped into a secondary ruck role at NAB League level.
At the Cats, Featherston has been building up her footy knowledge, working with the defence group as she adjusts to life in the AFLW.
“I’ve found it really good, really interesting to see the next step up, to see how much more they care about certain things like recovery and that within it,” Featherston said.
“And just getting used to the load in my legs has been a bit of a challenge, but (I’m) pushing through it, I guess.
“(I’ve) probably learnt there’s a lot more that goes into a defender than it seems.”
Featherston said the whole back group had been helpful in her development to date, but highlighted the impact captain Meghan McDonald and Georgie Rankin have had in giving her direction and helping her improve her game.
The Cats take on Carlton at GMHBA Stadium this Saturday from 7.10pm.
Fans are invited to attend early and join in the Summer Footy Festival, which will be on the interactive lawn outside GMHBA Stadium from 5pm.
The FREE event will feature live music and entertainment, food trucks, giveaways and much more.