This weekend I find myself in a bizarre situation, playing for my second premiership of the season as the Darebin Falcons take on Diamond Creek at Etihad Stadium.
It’s weird to say but I could become the first ever person to win an AFLW and VFLW premiership in the same year. It’s been a whirlwind year for myself and I’m so grateful for everything that has happened.
Heading into pre-season with Adelaide, I wasn’t thinking too far ahead about what would happen after the completion of AFLW. But everything just went so fast and all of a sudden we won the premiership — which a lot of people weren’t expecting.
I played in the State of Origin game for the Allies a couple of weeks back which was my first game at Etihad and it is perfect for football. The roof is closed so there is no wind, it’s not too hot or cold either. A lot of the girls haven’t played there before so it will be an exciting opportunity for them on Sunday afternoon.
I’m an Adelaide girl, so I didn’t really know too much about Diamond Creek but I’ve been told they have really improved compared to previous years. It’s exciting for the competition for teams to challenge the Falcons because they probably haven’t been challenged like this before.
It’s awesome to be challenged by other teams and not just coming in and winning every game comfortably like the girls at Darebin have before.
The main reason I came over to Melbourne for the winter was to continue developing and not lose the contested side of my game. We’re probably a couple of steps behind Victoria in terms of the standard but we are well on our way to a better level of competition. With the season I had with the Crows, I thought it would be best for me to try my hand in the VFLW.
Coming over, I knew there was plenty of girls that had played AFLW that were spread across clubs in the VFL. It was never going to be easy but it’s like playing AFLW all year because a lot of these girls have been at their clubs for several years and have plenty of pride going into each game.
Everyone I have come up against this year goes in with the same intensity that they would in AFLW. It’s exciting to know that I’ve been able to play in two strong competitions right throughout the year.
Unlike the men’s competition, we have had to prepare our bodies to go through two different seasons and that has been one of the most difficult things. At this stage of the year, it’s becoming a challenge but luckily there are several girls who understand exactly how I feel at Darebin.
It’s not just one person with a sore hamstring or carrying a knock, a lot of us aren’t 100 percent fit, how could you be after playing up to 25 games in a year? We’ve got one game to go and I’m sure we will enjoy a well-earned rest after the game on Sunday.
In Adelaide, I was lucky enough to play alongside the likes of Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall and that luck has only continued since coming to Melbourne. Having girls like Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman, Daisy Pearce and Darcy Vescio around me at the Falcons has only made me a better player over the past few months.
Obviously, I played against them in the AFLW, but playing with them has given me a greater appreciation of their talent and knowledge of the game. During my time in Melbourne I’ve been trying to learn as much as possible from them and I can’t wait to give the Crows girls some of the advice they have given me, even though I may be one of the youngest in the group.
But I don’t just want to share these tips with just the AFLW girls, I want to pass on this knowledge to the local clubs in South Australia and help them grow the game as quickly as possible.
A lot of people may have questioned me coming to Darebin when I could have stayed and helped grow the SANFL Women’s League but you don’t get many opportunities to move across states and improve your footy.
I know it may have been seen as a little selfish to come over but it’s definitely helped me as a footballer and as a person. I want to go back and make an impact on women’s football in South Australia.