ONE of Millicent’s rising talents was recognised at last week’s Limestone Coast Women’s Football League presentations night.
Midfielder Kelsie Wilkinson finished equal runner-up in the best and fairest medal count and claimed the leading Under 21 player award.
The upcoming player said she felt stunned to receive a league honour for the first time.
“I was not expecting it,” Wilkinson said.
“Being from a team that did not win many games, it was a bit harder to get votes, so it was definitely a bit of a surprise.”
Due to the presentations taking place online, the 19-year-old discovered her success in unorthodox fashion.
Wilkinson said she could not believe it when her team mates started congratulating her.
“We have a footy group chat and I found out in there before I actually saw the video, so I was a bit shocked from that,” she said.
“I did go and watch the video just to make sure.
“The online presentations were a bit different, but I did not have to do a speech so that was relief.”
Although the Saints suffered a difficult season with only three wins and an eighth-place finish on the ladder, Wilkinson was a clear stand out.
She was named in the best in eight of her nine games and collected 12 votes in the medal count.
Despite the success, Wilkinson did not describe her season as the perfect campaign.
“I felt like I had an off and on season,” she said.
“Some games I played better than others, but obviously the umpires saw it differently.”
Looking back, Wilkinson said her most complete performance was the opening clash against Kongorong.
“My best game was probably the first game of the season,” she said.
“I think playing when it was a bit dark in cooler conditions helped me.
“Everything just seemed to be in the right spots at the right time.
“We got the win as well so that was another bonus.”
Wilkinson’s favourite moment was a one-on-one battle with 2019-20 league best and fairest Tess Andrews.
Andrews won this season’s medal count by a convincing margin and proved tough to catch for all opponents.
However, Wilkinson managed to slow her down and she said tagging the star player was a rewarding experience.
“Playing on Tess was a challenge worth accepting and it paid off for me personally,” she said.
“She had a pretty quiet game and even came up to me after and said that was the hardest she had to work, so that effort was rewarding.”
Wilkinson began her football journey rubbing shoulders with boys at the tender age of 12.
But after a couple of seasons she was told she was not allowed to play and returned to the sport in the North Gambier women’s colours.
She has since played the last three years for the Saints, but will now embark on the next chapter of her playing career.
This year Wilkinson will make the move up to Adelaide for university and has joined Morphettville to compete in the Adelaide Football League.
She said her favourite part of the game is the freedom of running with the ball and playing alongside her team mates, while her only ambition at her new home will be to play football.
“I enjoy playing with friends, going to training and having a bit of a kick,” she said.
“It is a good feeling being able to get the ball, tuck it under my arm and run with it.
“In Adelaide it will not bother me which division I play, as long as I get to play footy I will be happy.”