NEWLY drafted by Geelong, powerful runner Zali Friswell will line up against the Cats this weekend, representing Essendon in the VFLW preliminary final.
The last two weeks of the season were delayed following a COVID-19 lockdown, leading to the unusual situation which will also see Georgie Prespakis rep the sash against their newly acquired hoops.
"It's going to be pretty weird going against the Cats," Friswell told womens.afl.
"But for this weekend, I'm in the Bombers squad, so I just have to try and win that, even though I'm against the Cats."
Friswell was a somewhat surprise selection at pick No.7. While she was definitely in the mix to find a spot on an AFLW list, the midfielder herself was shocked at how little time she had to wait.
"I've had a dream to become an AFLW player ever since I was little, so it was pretty surreal for it to come true," she said.
"When my name was read out, it was pretty surreal, I wasn't expecting to go with pick No.7. But I'm happy to go to the Geelong Cats and I'm pretty excited.
"My family was jumping around in shock, my dad just started screaming, it was pretty funny."
Friswell had a chat with new Geelong coach Dan Lowther while her phone was lighting up with messages of congratulations.
"Patrick Dangerfield contacted me, Maddy Keryk and a few of the AFL and AFLW players, Joel Selwood, there were about five or so AFL players, which I didn't think would happen," she said.
"It made me think the Cats is a home environment, and it made me feel welcome."
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Friswell, who played her junior footy at Aberfeldie before graduating to the Calder Cannons, will be making the trip down the highway with teammate Prespakis.
"I'm happy I get to go to the club with Georgie, I'm pretty close with her. I've played with her for the past three years – she knows how I play and I know how she plays, so just to have her in my new team is pretty surreal," she said.
The 17-year-old topped the charts of the Combine invitees who completed their 2km time trials independently through the Strava app, running an incredible 7.08 minutes.
Running has always been a strength, with the time the second-fastest ever by Combine participants recording their run through the app (due to lockdown conditions).
She nominated contested footy, kicking on her left (opposite) and backing in her speed and agility as areas she wants to improve.
"I've been running in cross country and athletics ever since primary school, just for fun," Friswell said.
"I love running, I go out for a run, do long distances, so I was pretty happy with the Combine time. But I feel I can get even better."