If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to push yourself to be the best you can be, look no further than Dana East. The 19-year-old from Manjimup was drafted to the Fremantle Dockers AFLW team last week after she began her football career just two years ago. Born into a football family who have a long-standing history with the Deanmill Football Club, East played a few seasons of Auskick as a junior but gave the sport up once there were no opportunities to play for girls her age, instead opting for basketball. After a number of years competing at a high level in basketball, East finally returned to football when asked to join the Warren-Blackwood Bombers in 2019 for their inaugural season in the South West Junior Football League. East was simply unbelievable in her one and only year with the Bombers, where she won a premiership, the best and fairest award and kicked 42 goals. Being too old to return to the Bombers for 2020, East took her talents to the Donnybrook Football Club where another standout season also earned her selection for Western Australia in the AFLW Under-19 Championships. Showing her natural ability for the game, East was then picked up by Swan Districts in the West Australian Football League Women’s this year where she was a minor premier, grand final player and joint McSherry medallist. After soaring through the ranks since 2019 and hearing her name called with pick number 31 in the AFLW draft last week, East says it all feels “surreal”. “I was really nervous going into it because I didn’t know what to expect, but I was just so stoked,” she said. “At the moment I still don’t believe it.” East had the chance to meet her sporting hero, Kiara Bowers, along with the rest of the Dockers last week and said she was itching to start learning from the superstars of the game. “Kiara Bowers is my idol, even when she messaged me the day after I got drafted, I was shaking and then when I saw her yesterday ... it’s just unreal and I can’t wait to learn more stuff off them,” she said. “(I want) to get the best out of myself, I really want to see what limits I have and what limits I can push to become the best player.” Coming from a regional town where sporting career opportunities can be limited, East said she believed she got to where she is by always embracing the challenge. “Just push yourself to the limit because you never know where you’re going to end up,” she said. “You just have to go in head first, and don’t expect anything, but just see where your limits can go. “I just like to look a step ahead, I always want to know what’s the next thing to improve. “I’d look at someone from the WAFLW when I was playing in Donnybrook, I was like ‘gee, I want to be like her’. “Then when I got to Swans in WAFLW I was looking at Kiara Bowers and I used to say to dad ‘I want to be like her, I want to be on that TV screen’ so I would just put in the extra work and try to be that step ahead.” East said she was grateful for the army of support she had in her home town of Manjimup, including her parents Heath and Janine. Heath said Dana had always had a competitive edge growing up no matter what she was doing. “It’s been basically her trademark really, just her work ethic,” he said. “She hates losing and always wants to win.” Although he would have preferred Dana was drafted to Carlton, Heath said he was simply proud of how Dana pushes herself to reach her potential. “I suppose you get a lot of sports kids that do a lot of hard work and go on that journey of trying to make it but it doesn’t always happen,” he said. “I’m more proud of the way she’s gone about it, rather than the end result of getting drafted, that’s just the cherry on the cake. “Her attitude over the last seven or eight years trying to get the best out of herself, that’s what I’m more proud of.” Always looking one step ahead, East said she was now focused on getting herself into the team for round one of the 2022 AFLW season.