Werribee teenager Kensley Ward received the surprise of a lifetime when she met her idol, AFLW player Moana Hope, at Brunswick Oval last week.
The meeting came about after Kensley, 13, wrote Hope a letter earlier this month.
In the letter, Kensley wrote about her dream to be an AFLW player in the future, despite some people telling her she should pick a different career.
When Hope uploaded a photo of the letter to Instagram, it received thousands of likes and supportive comments.
Kensley was invited to the launch of the Special K Strong Play campaign, to empower the next generation of AFLW players, with a proviso from the league that she read the letter at the event.
But when Kensley arrived at Brunswick Oval, she actually met Hope and was given a chance to train with her.
Kensley said she found the whole experience “crazy” and “awesome”.
“She told me never to give up,” she said of her meeting with Hope, who played the first two seasons of the AFLW with Collingwood and will play for North Melbourne this year.
Hope said that she enjoyed the chance to chat with Kensley.
“Clearly she’s strong and she’s gotten through some hard times,” Hope said. “I told her to just keep going and keep fighting.”
Hope said that she was not expecting “such a big response” after she uploaded Kensley’s letter to Instagram.
“I think it’s pretty amazing and I can’t believe I have that kind of effect on anyone,” she said.