New Saint Bianca Jakobsson is raring to go after missing the 2020 AFLW season due to police academy commitments. The former Demon penned a piece for aflplayers.com.au on making the switch to St Kilda, juggling career aspirations with football, and blitzing a half-marathon.
Having the 2020 AFLW season off, I realised how much I missed the game and how much I loved the game and wanted to keep playing.
I was going through the police academy and ended up doing half a pre-season, so I got to January and my academy commitments really ramped up.
There were a lot of clashes with training and work, so I had to step down.
It was really hard, particularly when games came around.
I’ve always loved footy, I love team sport and I’m really competitive, so it was hard to sit on the sidelines.
Usually I’d be out there, so I think it just ignited a fire in my belly to want to be out there among the group.
I didn’t have a contract in place at Melbourne, so I talked to a few clubs and the Saints seemed like a great club with really good culture.
I’m really big on culture.
I think the people that you play around make the club, so I ultimately chose the Saints and they gave me an opportunity to play for another two years, so I couldn’t pass that up.
As I said, I knew I wanted to keep playing, so to get a two-year contract was the best thing for me.
Looking back on my missed season, I don’t regret it.
Ultimately, I’m in the career that I want to be in for the rest of my life now, and having graduated from the academy, I am in a position to do both.
Now, I get to continue playing footy alongside my career, and do two things I absolutely love.
I’m very grateful, it almost feels like a second chance, because I really didn’t know if I’d be back playing at the highest level.
I wanted to join the police force for a long time, so I thought why wait until I finish playing footy, why not just do it now?
I just applied and made it work, now I’ve got both — I stuck at it and it has all paid off.
For up-and-coming AFLW players, it’s a hard one, but don’t let footy hold you back from your career aspirations, because you can definitely do both.
Clubs are really supportive of you having a career, and very understanding that you need to have career aspirations as well.
I think one of my on-field strengths is reading the play and marking, so for the Saints, I think I’ll play my best footy behind the ball.
I’m really excited, it’s a great group of girls down there at St Kilda.
I think I’m the fittest I’ve ever been.
With Coronavirus going on and not having sport, like I said I’m a really competitive person, so I just put my mind to running.
Going through the academy I did a lot of kilometres, so I thought why not challenge myself and run a half marathon?
I had the goal of completing it in under two hours, but I managed to get it done in one hour and 40 minutes — I just felt really good on the day.
I definitely think my running is the best it’s ever been, so I think that will be a strength of mine going into next season.
In hindsight, it’s been good to have this time off to develop in that area.
I just want to play well and contribute to the club, and I’m just really, really excited to get back in a team playing footy.