K rock Football

Dons lure too strong for Madi

Madison Prespakis has been named the AFLW’s best-and-fairest for 2020. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

AFLW star Madison Prespakis says the lure of representing the club she grew up barracking for was too strong to resist when leaving Carlton for arch-rivals Essendon.

The Bombers pulled off the biggest coup of the off-season to date when they received commitments from Prespakis and Georgia Gee to depart the Blues for Tullamarine.

The pair will officially sign to be part of the expansion team’s inaugural season when the AFLW sign and trade period opens.

Prespakis has accepted a two-year deal from Essendon reportedly worth a six- figure sum that the Blues were unable to match.

“To live my dream playing for the club you barracked for is something really special,” the 21-year-old said.

“At the end of the day it comes down to yourself and for me I had to put myself first.

“It was a tough decision and it was quite a daunting decision (to make).

“Those that are really close to me knew exactly how it made me feel, especially when I did announce the move.

“It was kind of an emotional time but I also felt relieved and I’m very happy with the decision that I’ve made for myself.”

Prespakis was a three-time Carlton best-and-fairest winner and was named the league’s best player two years ago.

“Carlton have helped me for my four years in AFLW … and I wouldn’t have done it without that club, so I am very grateful,” Prespakis said.

“But I’m also very grateful to start a new chapter and over the next five to 10 years see where my football can go.”

The move has already caused a stir among Carlton fans, stoking the fierce rivalry between the Blues and Essendon.

“I’m probably going to expect the boos and things like that, and I’ve already received that on social media, so I’m probably going to expect that in person,” Prespakis said.

“But at the end of the day that’s football and I love football and that’s why I play.”

Essendon are one of four AFLW expansion teams this year – along with Hawthorn, Sydney and Port Adelaide – and have also recruited Western Bulldogs leading goal-kicker Bonnie Toogood.

Carlton could also be about to lose Grace Egan, who is open to a move after a season curtailed by broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Rival clubs are circling the midfielder, with Sydney reportedly among those interested.

“I’ve definitely had clubs approaching my manager but I’m open to anything,” Egan said.

“Carlton has been very good to me and I love everyone there, so whatever happens, happens.”

(C) AAP 2022