At a glance:
- Jacqui Vogt is officially part of the Southern Saints' graduating class after being selected by St Kilda in this year's draft.
- The 26-year-old forward spent the off-season training and building her running power in Gippsland due to the cancellation of the 2020 VFLW season.
- Vogt previously played in the W-League for Melbourne Victory as a defender.
Heart-racing nerves hidden behind a calm exterior, starry-eyed wonder at every minute detail or a stomach-dropping sensation as reality sinks in.
All encompass some of the usual emotions draftees feel as they walk through the doors of an AFLW club for the first time.
The experience for recruit Jacqui Vogt was more unique, however. It wasn’t so much stepping into a brand new world, but walking back into the warmth of a familiar one.
The hard-working forward comes from St Kilda’s own backyard, having been a member of the Southern Saints since 2018 and a well-known face among most of the AFLW playing squad for the better part of three years.
“I guess it feels a little different for me to the other girls who have come in,” Vogt told saints.com.au.
“It’s been amazing, I’ve been a part of the Southern Saints program for a couple of years now and to come in and know most of the girls has been really helpful.
“Probably for me it’s been a little bit easier, I haven’t really had to build those relationships as much as probably some of the other new girls have.”
"You deserved it last year, but you kept working hard, and I'm just so proud of you!"— St Kilda FCW (@stkildafcw) October 7, 2020
G-Train welcomes Southern Saint Jacqui Vogt to the family ?? pic.twitter.com/WNiohenOKC
Like fellow soccer-convert Caitlin Greiser, Vogt’s journey with the Sherrin started only a few short years ago.
The former W-League defender for Melbourne Victory (2010-13) got the ball rolling after attending a Southern Saints trial day – advertised on Facebook – before making the squad and setting her sights on breaking into the AFLW.
Vogt played 12 games for the Southern Saints last season alongside key forwards Greiser and Kate Shierlaw in 2019, who were both elevated to St Kilda’s senior list ahead of its first year in the AFLW competition.
The lifelong Saints fan seemed destined to follow suit with another solid VFLW campaign under her belt, before the COVID-19 pandemic put the entire season – and her hopes of making the senior Saints side – on ice.
“There was definitely a lot of uncertainty,” Vogt said.
“I was in a few groups and was talking to people from Southern Saints, but in terms of anyone from AFLW I hadn’t really heard anything (about being drafted).
“I just thought I would keep training hard and really try and put my best foot forward for when the draft came around.”
Even with no competition to ply her trade in or show her skills to prospective suitors, the driven Vogt was adamant not to put her foot on the brake.
Returning to her native Gippsland, the undrafted talent spent the season suspension increasing her running capacity and upholding her elite standards – a trait she prides herself on – while managing work at her parents’ hotel in Traralgon.
Session after session, week after week, month after month; through the bone-chilling winter and the emergence of new life in the spring.
But out of sight, out of mind. As the year wore on, no club came knocking.
Then, the night before the 2020 AFLW Draft, the call she’d been waiting for.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking. Jamie (Cox) called and he told me that the Saints were pretty keen on drafting me, but obviously they couldn’t guarantee anything,” Vogt said.
“I was pretty nervous until my name got called out, but then it was joy. My family got around me and it was just overwhelming, really.
“You try to soak up everything but there’s just so many things that are happening – it was just an amazing feeling.”
Vogt was selected at pick No. 40 in last month’s AFLW Draft, joining Tyanna Smith, Alice Burke and Renee Saulitis in forming part of St Kilda’s squad for Season 2021.
Now, back at the place which kickstarted her career with the Sherrin, the reacquainted Saint is looking forward to making her mark at senior level.
“I’m definitely looking forward to working with G-Train and all the other forwards,” Vogt said.
“They’re an amazing group of girls and I think they’re building something really special, so it’s really exciting to be a part of it.
“I just love the elite environment and it’s just a really fantastic club to be at.
“My family are all Saints mad too, they love St Kilda and it’s so good to play for the club that you barrack before.”