AFLW team: Adelaide Crows
How do you feel about the new AFL Women’s league?
It's truly amazing to now know girls growing up have the opportunity to choose to play AFL at the highest level if they wish. And playing in the inaugural season is a dream come true. There are many women that have paved the way for the opportunity I have, so I’m very grateful and honoured to be a part of it. I grew up [in Adelaide] taking ‘speccies’ [that’s AFL speak for spectacular leaping catches] in the backyard on my brother and cousin’s back, dreaming of one day playing AFL like my dad [a player/coach]. I then started playing when I was in primary school until I was told I couldn't play with the boys anymore. But footy was really in my family. We were always either at the footy on the weekend, involved in our local club and school footy, at a game watching it, or it was on the TV at home. Now I’m a player!
What do you love most about AFL?
I love the camaraderie of going into battle with 21 other teammates. I don't think there are too many other female sports where you have that many teammates around you. I also love the physicality of the sport and the challenges it places on your body and mind.
AFLW’s catchphrase is ‘See what we create’ – what sort of league do you want to create?
I think it's important to recognise that we will create something different to that of our male counterparts. We’re built differently, we sometimes think differently and our output will be different. I'd like to think that we can create a really professional and fun brand of footy that people will want to keep watching.
How did you come to be picked for your AFLW team?
I’ve represented South Australia in state footy for the last seven years and captained SA since 2011. I received a phone call while at work prior to the draft from Phil Harper at the Adelaide Crows – he offered me a priority pick on their list. I was a taken aback, and when I got off the phone I had to compose myself. I think I thanked him... Well let's hope I did! I was just in shock. It wasn't until draft day, when I realised I could sit back and relax, that I felt the significance of my selection.
Do you have a ‘day job’, as well as playing AFL?
Yes, I work for the Department for Correctional Services. Work have been fantastic and very supportive. [The juggle] can be quite challenging at times, but there is support available to us to ensure we have the skills and capabilities to manage this.
Do you look forward to the day when the majority of sportswomen don’t have to subsidise their sporting incomes?
I think this would be fantastic, not only in terms of equality, but it will create an opportunity for women to be able to put in the hours required to master their sport, and ultimately be able to fulfil our potential as professional athletes, which we’re all striving to be.
What would you say to a woman considering playing AFL for the first time?
Give it a go. It's a game for everyone. You don't need to be tall, short, big or small. It's a game for everyone and the camaraderie of a footy club and your teammates will be an experience I guarantee is special.
AFL can be pretty rough – how do you prepare yourself for that contact?
During the week it’s important to relax and get good sleep, which is my best form of recovery. I like to make sure my mind is settled before sleeping so I try and do some mindfulness meditations before bed at least a couple times a week. But pre-game, I like to get pumped up in readiness for the physicality of the game, and I normally do some boxing to gee myself up.
What do you like doing in your downtime?
I love playing golf. It's such a mental game, and you can play it wherever you go in the world. Tea Tree Gully is my home Club and I try and play as much as I can. I also have a thing for Pedicures. I get one religiously once a fortnight. It's really relaxing and I find it a great stress relief. I suppose I spend a lot of time on my feet so keeping them pampered is my reward to myself.