Kate Shierlaw was latte-sipping in a café in Greece when the news filtered through of her drafting to Carlton.
“The call came while I was having a coffee in the sun. It’s fair to say I celebrated that night,” Shierlaw said in a phone hook-up this week.
Now in London town at the tail end of a working holiday, Shierlaw is one of two new rookies claimed by Carlton for its history-making AFLW team of 2017.
And it hasn’t taken the 26 year-old Adelaide-born accountant long to don the famed dark Navy Blue guernsey. Shierlaw just happens to be a Carlton tragic, which is why she packed the treasured jumper before leaving for the Old Dart earlier this year.
“I grew up supporting Carlton from the time I played footy in the backyard with my younger brother,” Shierlaw said. “I jumped on the bandwagon in 1995, loved (Anthony) Koutoufides and have watched the team play religiously ever since.
“To be drafted is one thing, but to be drafted by Carlton is a dream come true. It’s unbelievable. I’m still pinching myself actually.”
Through the course of her sporting life, Shierlaw committed her energies to basketball and athletics, with javelin her pet event. Australian Rules, she admitted, wasn’t something she ever pursued, other than when those backyard epics were played out at home.
As she said: “I always had it in the back of my mind that I’d love to play Australian Rules, but never thought I’d get the opportunity, and so I stuck with basketball and aths”.
But all that changed in recent months when Kate found a football club in the unlikeliest of places. She started chasing the leather for the Wimbledon Hawks in the AFL London Women's League and, as fate would have it, was front and centre in a side that went through undefeated this year.
“I played centre half-forward and was pinch-hitting in the ruck,” Shierlaw said of her experiences with Wimbledon, “as I’m quite tall and pretty athletic for my size, and I can take decent marks”.
“If I had to describe myself as a player I’d say I’m not frightened to attack all the contests (and) I’ve always been super competitive.”
Such traits were not lost on Carlton's senior women’s coach Damien Keeping, who said that Shierlaw’s reputation as a contested beast would be invaluable to the team – on top of the fact that at 186cms she would more than likely command bragging rights as the League’s tallest competitor.
So Shierlaw will shortly pack her bags for a November return . . . and as she said, “who would have thought”?
The prospect of furthering her sporting career in a professional environment and learning more about the football craft is what most appeals to Shierlaw, who not so long ago was shooting hoops for the West Adelaide Bearcats.
“I just want to start kicking a footy 24/7 and being around a group of girls who are on the same page,” Shierlaw said.
“It’s too good an opportunity not to come back. I love Carlton too much and I’ve always wanted to live in Melbourne.”