A grand final win is definitely our aim at Melbourne. Finishing third twice in a row doesn’t leave a great taste in your mouth – especially after the second one, when the Bulldogs kicked a goal in the last 90 seconds of our final round to beat us by two points. We’re all very determined to go all the way.
I re-signed with the Demons at the end of last season because I can’t fault a thing here. I think we’ve built a really hard-working culture, just like the one that first drew me to my VFL club: Darebin Falcons. I can’t imagine moving – at this point in time, anyway. I couldn’t imagine an environment where I’d be learning as much, and reaching my potential any faster than I would here, so I’ll stick around a little bit longer!
Our captain, Daisy Pearce, is obviously a huge loss, and also Mel Hickey moving to Geelong, because we won’t have their leadership around for next season. But in saying that it does open up opportunities and room for others to step up, especially those who were maybe holding back a little bit.
It is quite easy with a leader like ‘Daise’ to get a little bit complacent and let her do what she does so well. So I guess I’ve taken a back seat in the leadership landscape over the years.
I’m one of the more experienced players here at Melbourne and, although I don’t feel pressure to step up, it does feel like a natural kind of progression. Leadership is definitely one of the areas where I’ve identified I can improve and I’m certainly looking to do as much as I can in that area for the team coming into season three.
I think the addition of the two expansion clubs, Geelong and North Melbourne, is great; it gives more girls and women opportunities and the league more exposure, which is what we all want. Ideally, as ‘Daise’ said when she called it a “gimmicky” competition, we’d like to be playing every team once, at least.
If you do go all the way and end up winning the grand final, it would be nice to have played everyone – so that you can confidently say you were the best in the whole competition. But I guess there’s a lot of other reasons why the conference system has been set up and we just have to trust the AFL to handle that stuff and hope it all gets ironed out, eventually.
It would also be ideal, obviously, to be getting paid a high enough wage to enable us to put in fulltime hours; put 100 per cent of time and effort into footy and footy only and not have to go from work to football and get up the next morning to work again.
It’s not quite there yet, but it’s definitely heading in that direction. It’s increased year-by-year from the inaugural season, so as long as it keeps moving that way we’ll just keep plodding along.
None of us started footy for the money, did we? But, of course, the money is nice. It means we can train more, reach our potential as athletes and ultimately make the league a great competition to play in and watch.
HOW MANY HOURS IN THE DAY?
For now, on top of footy, I’m studying fulltime, and working fulltime. I’ve just started working for The Police Association in their welfare department. I’m studying social work, so my new working role compliments my study, which is great.
Through my studies, we’ve done a fair bit on gender and gender inequality which has been really interesting. Especially so when thinking about the AFLW competition and how certain things that I’d not really thought too much about relate to my own life.
You can see that what’s happening in the women’s footy space is the perfect example of the disadvantages you have experienced solely due to gender. Why haven’t women been able to play AFL football for so long? All these little things create a bigger societal picture. On one hand, it’s ‘just footy’, but on another, it’s so much more both personally and more broadly.
Can I feel a thesis coming on? I think AFLW has had such a powerful influence already that, yeah, why not?