Wilcox enjoying the new challenges of AFLW

ONE of the fresh faces to pull on the Western Bulldogs’ jumper for the first time in their win over GWS on Sunday was highly touted youngster Rylie Wilcox. The 17-year-old described her debut as “surreal”, and made plenty of learnings along the way.

It was not the first time Wilcox had played on Ikon Park this year, having turned out on the ground for Carlton’s VFLW side earlier in the year. She noted there was one major difference between the two games.

“It was much more physical, like the intensity is really high,” she said. “It’s hard to keep up with it but hopefully I can go in, go smooth as the season goes on.”

Originally from the Northern Knights in the NAB League, Wilcox noted how her time there helped her transition up to the AFLW, especially in the way of finding her spot on the ground. Though she has also cut her teeth as a forward, the speedy customer seems set on where she will spend most her time.

“I played the wing position literally for the whole NAB League season, although I did only play five games due to injury,” she said. “But just knowing that position, it’s quite difficult, and I think during Knights I learnt that position quite well so that I can then play that at AFLW (level).

“I think I might stay on the wing, depends on what Burkey [Nathan Burke] wants me to do. I wouldn’t mind having a rotation into the forward line but I love the wing. I’ve understood the position quite well I feel, so yeah wouldn’t be surprised if I stay on the wing.”

There have been a number of experienced Bulldogs looking out for her during her time at the club thus far.

“I must say the leadership group, so Katie Lynch, Ellie Blackburn, all those girls, and just everyone basically getting around us youngies (has helped),” she said. “I literally couldn’t pinpoint anyone but they’ve been all great.”

After a successful debut alongside fellow NAB League graduate Heidi Woodley, Wilcox’s next chance to impress will come in a Round 2 clash against Port Adelaide at Alberton Oval on Saturday.

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