Jade Pregelj’s return to the top of women’s football continued on Tuesday morning when the 28-year-old was drafted to the Gold Coast SUNS with pick 86 in the 2019 NAB AFLW Draft.

Pregelj stamped herself as one of the best female talents in Queensland earlier this decade, often earning praise for her courage and elite work-rate.

Playing in the Queensland Women’s competition, Pregelj won the league Best & Fairest award back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.

She stepped away from the game in 2012 to focus on her teaching career before switching professions to work with the Royal Australian Engineers as a lieutenant in the Army, operating out of the RAAF base at Amberley.

Pregelj rekindled her love for football earlier this year when she joined the Australian Army team and quickly proved she hadn’t lost her knack for football.

The hard-at-it midfielder was quickly recruited to Gold Coast’s QW Winter Series squad where she was able to prove she still had what it took at the highest level.

“Jade is the real deal and to be a part of her rise back to the top this year is as fulfilling for me as a coach as I’m sure it is for her as a player,” AFLW Senior Coach David Lake told SUNS Media.

“She’s come back for another crack at the title and we’re so excited to see what she’s got in store next year.”

Pregelj had to balance her Army commitments to play in the QW Winter Series, and was given special permission to train as she completed her All Corps Captains Course.

She went back to play club football in the second half of the season for Yeronga in the QAFLW.

A standout series playing off half-back and in the midfield saw Pregelj claim the Emerging Player of the Winter Series award at Gold Coast’s Club Champion in August.