By Romy Stephens
Two former Mount Evelyn Football Netball Club members have been selected in this year’s AFLW draft.
Former Mount Evelyn netballer Serena Gibbs was selected by Carlton at pick 44 while Lauren Tesoriero was selected by Richmond at pick 96.
Lauren played junior football with Mount Evelyn and was also the senior men’s assistant forwards coach this year.
She previously played AFLW for Collingwood and interestingly, is Richmond’s recruiter meaning she was involved in drafting herself to the club.
Serena formerly played netball with Warburton and Mount Evelyn before making the switch to football this year by joining the Eastern Ranges.
She also featured in several VFLW matches for Hawthorn where she continued to impress.
The 19-year-old said she never anticipated being drafted after just one season under her belt.
“It was surreal. I never thought I’d have my name called out… I was in absolute utter shock,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to developing my skills as a footballer and to see where I can go in my football journey as I’m quite new at the game.
The drafting of two former members is a big boost for Mount Evelyn as the club looks to continue providing to the talent pool of VFLW and AFLW in years to come.
Since starting its first senior women’s team in 2017, the club has made two preliminary finals and one grand final.
Club secretary, Lauren Zelunka said Mount Evelyn has been very encouraging of women’s football.
“We have been one of the leaders in the area in relation to female participation, having had strong netball teams, as well as often leading the way in relation to junior girls and senior women’s football teams,” she said.
“We’ve got a number of talented girls and women who have come through the club, playing in Eastern Ranges TAC games, to playing VFLW and of course being drafted to AFLW.
“Once we have our new clubrooms, hopefully in the next year or two, with dedicated male and female change rooms, that can hopefully help us attract females across all ages.”