Former-SMJFL player Izzy Huntington has been named the 2020 NAB AFLW Rising Star.
The 21-year-old Bulldog has continued to impress in her third AFLW season, with many accomplishments now under her belt.
Huntington was nominated for the 2020 NAB AFLW Rising Star award in the Bulldogs’ Round 6 clash against Fremantle.
The determined defender was victorious with 33 votes, beating out Saints Caitlin Greiser (30) and Georgia Patrikios (24), and Kalinda Howarth from the Gold Coast Suns (24).
It has been a whirlwind of a month for Huntington, who was named to be part of the 2020 All-Australian team and the inaugural AFL Players Association 22under22 team earlier this month.
Huntington said her success from the 2020 season has come as a welcome surprise, given her recent history with injury.
“Its a bit of a shock… Having such a long journey with injury and having missed so many games previously, to even get on the field for Round 1 this year was really heartwarming,” Huntington told Fox Footy.
Huntington has had a long journey to Rising-Stardom, having endured multiple injuries in recent years including knee ligament ruptures, a broken leg, cartilage damage and a knee sprain.
Despite the odds, Huntington persevered and put her injuries behind her to play an injury-free season in 2020, where she took to the grounds in all but one game of AFLW.
The star defender credits her success to her support network.
“It was a real testament to the people around me who have been able to support me,” said Huntington.
Huntington has a long history of playing football in the South Metro region, and has been promising since her football career began in 2008 playing in East Sandringham JFC’s Under 9s.
Huntington took out the Best & Fairest award in the Grand Final of her premiere season with the Zebras.
Huntington then made the move to the South Melbourne Districts in 2011.
12-year-old Huntington was awarded the SMJFL Best and Fairest award in 2011, and she continued to play with South Melbourne Districts until the end of 2013.
Huntington then transitioned to the Essendon District Football League in 2014 where she represented Melbourne University Womens Football Club.
Aged 18, Huntington also represented the Sandringham Dragons, preparing her to be the no.1 draft pick in 2017 – The second no.1 AFLW draft pick in the game’s history.
The Western Bulldogs picked up Huntington in the 2017 draft, where the star is now part of the Bulldogs’ AFLW leadership group, and has continued to impress footy fans alike.