Sister act: Overlooked pair to stoke new crosstown rivalry

LAUREN and Zoe Wakfer may have captured the headlines following the NAB AFLW Draft, but they weren't the only twins selected in the first round.

Lucy (Hawthorn, pick No.22) and Steph (Essendon, pick No.32) capped off a meteoric football rise in the past few months by earning their way onto AFLW lists.

The pair – who turned 19 last month – had played their local footy with Oakleigh Dragons in the South Metro Junior Football League in Melbourne.

Stephanie Wales in action during VFL round nine, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Despite Lucy winning an U16 league best and fairest ahead of a field which included eventual top-10 draftees Bridie Hipwell and Sofia Hurley, the duo fell through the talent pathway cracks.

At the start of the year, the Waleses were content playing local footy and representative basketball with Nunawading Spectres during the week.

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They had applied for Casey Demons' talent search ahead of the club's VFLW season and were initially overlooked.

But by round three, the Demons needed some height and the Wales girls quickly found themselves playing VFLW, brought in by Melbourne's AFLW talent manager Todd Patterson.

Lucy Wales celebrates winning the 2022 VFLW elimination final between Casey and Collingwood on June 12, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Lucy stands at 184cm and primarily plays in the ruck, while Steph is even taller at 188cm, and has played in defence, up forward and had stints in the ruck.

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They found their feet instantly, Steph averaging 11.3 disposals from her 11 games, while Lucy also averaged 11.3 disposals – as well as 19.8 hitouts – from 10 matches.

Despite their unlikely pathway over the past few months, the Waleses now find themselves at the two Victorian expansion clubs, adding a new dimension to the traditional Essendon-Hawthorn rivalry.