Window excited for future after huge year

FEW players could hold a candle to some of the accomplishments that South Australian Piper Window achieved this year. The Glenelg young gun won the SANFL Women’s best and fairest, captained her state to an unbeaten national title, and then also captained her country as she made the All-Australian team and a member of the AFLW Academy.

Despite all that, Window tussled with the concept of whether or not limiting her AFLW Draft nomination to state would potentially hamper her chances of reaching the top level. But after chatting to both Port and Adelaide, it was clear the first round draft prospect was set for the big time.

“It was kind of hard decision trying to pick whether I go state based or national because I’m really limiting my choices, but because I did hear good things, that was when I did decide to go state based and then after keeping up with that mega trade, it was really like ‘oh gosh, who’s going to get in front? What’s going to happen?’,” Window said.

“Obviously it’s completely out of our control, and it was really just a waiting game and waiting and seeing what would happen on the night because we couldn’t do anything before that. It was kind of cool to see it all fall into place, but at the time it was definitely nervewracking for everyone.”

The 11-team mega trade featured both the South Australian clubs, but when all was said and done, Port Adelaide remained in pole position to snare the talented midfielder/forward, and did so with the Power’s first selection at Pick 18, which became Pick 19 on the night.

“It was so exciting to see everyone else go, but as it was getting closer to that Pick 18 and 19, it was really quite nervewracking,” Window said. “We were just sitting there shaking there thinking ‘oh what’s going to happen? We’ve heard good things but anything could still happen and it could change’.

“When Port dropped back a spot from 18th to 19th we were stressing again but as soon as my name got called out, it was just a relief. It was real exciting.”

Window was one of eight Croweaters to go in the draft, and the fourth in this draft period to go to Port Adelaide behind pre-listings, Lauren Young, Shineah Goody and Molly Brooksby. Then the Power added a fifth South Australian in fellow top-ager, Alissa Brook.

Earlier in the year, Port selected Matilda Scholz as an underage selection for Season 8, going on to have a memorable first year at AFL Women’s level. One of Scholz’s closest friends, Window remembers the moment fondly.

“It was really cool to see, especially Matilda going earlier on,” Window said. “I think that was really good for her rather than having to wait until now to actually get drafted. When they came out to training, it was just so exciting. She’s one of my closest friends, it was such a cool thing to experience with her.

“Then now getting to go over to Port with her and those other three girls that also got picked up earlier, it’s just a really cool experience and being able to watch them get drafted, it was really exciting for them and everyone.”

Describing her array of honours – in particularly her nominated captaincies – as a “really great experience”, Window said captaining the Australian team was “definitely a highlight of my whole career so far”.

“Being able to captain the South Australian team to another championship, I think we’ve just got a really strong background there in South Australia and it was just so cool to actually captain that and lead the team to that winning,” she said.

Looking ahead to 2024, the 18-year-old is unsure what role she will play at AFL Women’s level, with a mix of midfield-forward likely, but she is just as happy to play off a wing, or anywhere she is needed if it will get her a game.

“I think it will be more of a mix, I’m not really too sure at the moment, I’d just be happy to go wherever I can and just fill a spot where they need,” Window said. “Always happy to fill a spot where I’m needed, but otherwise just that mid/forward maybe back out on the wing for a bit. But I’d just be happy to get a spot in the team.”

As for her goals for next season, Window is just focusing on the basics in order to put herself in the best position to carve out a strong career at the elite level.

“Obviously first trying to make my way into the team just wherever I can,” Window said. “Hopefully get a few games, and then keep working hard and hopefully play some consistent footy and work on my skills and just become better as a person, as a player and learn stuff from all those great players who have been in the program for a while and just get up into that top level and just really experience it and take on the opportunity.”

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