“Sunday was always my daycoming down here (Whorouly Football Club) with my dad and two brothers.”
“When I had to stop playing (at 14) I didn’t think I was going to play footy again.
“I didn’t know that there was a great standard happening in Melbourne.
“All I’d seen was, you know, hair pulling and all those terrible and rare things that end up on The Footy Show and I thought, ‘I don’t want to be part of that’.
“But at my first training at Darebin there were all these girls that could kick drop punts.
“Everyone was hitting targets and I thought, ‘this could be alright, I think I’ll like it here’.”
That was 2012 and, in the four years since that first training, Vescio has played in the past three women’s exhibition matches, alongside Pearce and other Darebin teammates.
She also attended the Brownlow Medal count at Crown Casino earlier this year and said while there has been a lot of talk about a women’s league, it still feels fast.
To top it off, Vescio, a graphic designer by trade, put her skills to use for Carlton earlier this year, designing the club’s women’s scarf for season 2017.
And while there has been much debate about players’ pay - recently bumped up from $5000 for the season to a minimum $8500 for listed players with marquee players to receive around $27,000 - and them having to pay their own health insurance - male players have it paid for them - the girls are just happy to have the opportunity to play.
“When I first moved to Melbourne and played for Darebin I had no idea this was coming,” Vescio said.
“The first (women’s) draft was in 2013 and I missed that draft because I didn’t get my form in on time.
“I was pretty disappointed because I really wanted to be part of that first draft process.
“With each game there’s been greater momentum and public interest has been growing constantly - the AFL talks about youth girls’ numbers being the fastest growing sport in Australia.” >>
Back in 2002, Vescio played an Auskick game in the Western Bulldogs’ colours at what was then known as Colonial Stadium (Etihad Stadium), some 12 years before she pulled on the same colours to play for the Bulldogs’ women’s team in an exhibition match at the same ground.
And even though she’s signed with Carlton for 2017, Vescio said it doesn’t feel too strange to now be playing for a different team.
“What Bulldogs and Melbourne have done for women’s footy, really starting this and creating a space for women to have that elite experience...i’m really grateful to have been part of that,” she said.
“I think a lot of people don’t realise that in those exhibition games we come together a couple of days before.
“I just say, ‘you think that’s good, that’s before girls have had proper training, elite coaching and being able to use elite facilities’.
“I think it will be really interesting to see how quickly everyone develops.”
Some of the finer details of the 2017 competition are still being worked out, but each team will most likely play each other once before a short finals series gets under way.
The players will then be able to re-join their VWFL teams for the remainder of that competition.
“So the way they’ve set it up is that we will play the eightweek or so season and then slide back into the local (VWFL) competition,” Vescio said.
“Hopefully it will leave the audience wanting more and the season can grow each year.”