Skills & Drills

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Ball Bounce Drills

2017 NAB AFL
Women’s Draft

Top 8 AFLW Draft Picks

Who’s got game, who’s got the W factor, and who’s got the potential to go the distance? Find out who joined your AFLW club and meet the next gen of AFLW stars from the 2017 NAB AFL Women’s Draft.

Isabel Huntington

01 Isabel Huntington

Western Bulldogs

Age 18

Height 180cm

A key forward / midfielder who played a starring role in the 2016 youth girls national championships. She showed her ability to dominate a game during the championships, with five goals and over 30 possessions in one outing. Has been unable to play in 2017 after suffering an ACL injury, however will be ready to go for season 2018.

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Stephanie Cain

02 Stephanie Cain

Fremantle Dockers

Age 21

Height 168cm

Originally drafted with to the Fremantle Dockers with selection 109 of the 2016 NAB AFL Women’s Draft, she was delisted at the conclusion of the AFLW season but is back in the mix after a stellar year in the West Australian Women’s Football League.

Chloe Malloy

03 Chloe Malloy

Collingwood Magpies

Age 18

Height 172cm

A highly decorated player despite only being 18 years old, Chloe won both the leading goal kicker award and best and fairest at TAC Cup level. After making the step up to VFL Women’s level Chloe won the leading goal kicker award, VFLW rising star and made VFLW team of the year.

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Monique Conti

04 Monique Conti

Western Bulldogs

Age 17

Height 161cm

A huge talent with a basketball background, Monique was recognised as the 2016-17 Women’s National Basketball League Rookie of the Year. She backed that up with an outstanding year at TAC Cup level by being included in the TAC Cup Girls team of the year.

Jodie Hicks

05 Jodie Hicks

GWS Giants

Age 20

A top level cricketer who has represented the Sydney sixers in the WBBL. Jodie has sghown hue potential at junior football level, representing NSW/ACT at the youth girls championships and being named in the All Australian Squad on two separate occasions.

Eden Zanker

06 Eden Zanker


Age 17

Height 183cm

A key forward with a powerful leap, Eden is rarely beating in a marking contest on the lead or in one on one contests. Only recently returned to Australian Football, she was rewarded for an outstanding season being selected in both the 2017 TAC Cup Girls Team of the year and AFLW Under-18s All-Australian side.

Jordan Zanchetta

07 Jordan Zanchetta

Brisbane Lions

Arguably the best open age player to not appear during the 2017 AFL Women’s Season, she seemed a certainty to be selected in the inaugural draft before suffering a serious knee injury. A two-time All-Australian at Youth Girls level, she is also a joint winner of the best and fairest medal in the QWFL. Is set for a big year of football in 2018.

Jessica Allan

08 Jessica Allan

Adelaide Crows

Age 18

Height 184cm

A tall, athletic key position player, who can play forward or in the ruck. Coming from a basketball background, she is a great contested mark who also has elite kicking skills. Named vice-captain of the 2017 NAB AFLW Under-18 All Australian team.

AFL Womens Draft 101

What is the AFL Womens Draft?

The draft is one of the most exciting days in the AFLW calendar – it's an official AFL meeting where AFLW clubs select new players to join their teams from the next gen of AFL Women’s talent.

Who can be selected?

Players can only get drafted if they are (1) over the age of 18 as of January 1 of next season (2) not an already listed 2017 AFLW player and (3) if they haven’t already accepted a Contract Offer from a club.

Who decides the selection order?

To level out the playing field, clubs get to select players in the reverse order of the previous AFLW competition finishing positions. So in theory, if you come last, you get first choice of the best fresh talent… BUT be careful as the order can shuffle around in the pre-draft trading period, where clubs can trade draft picks for players.

The father-daughter rule

Like in the men’s AFL Draft, clubs can use the father-daughter rule, which gives them first-access to players whose fathers have previously played one game for the club.

What happens if you’re not selected?

For players that aren’t selected in the primary Draft, there’s always the Rookie Draft two days later! Three rookie players can be selected per club.

How many selections are there?

Clubs can choose to make selections in the Primary Draft up to a full-list of 27 or only select up to 26 and leave one spot on their Primary List open for an unsigned player selection. It is expected there will be between 41 and 49 players selected at this year’s draft.

Stand Tall

An AFLW Inspire Story

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Erin McKinnon

AFLW player, (GWS Giants) & student, Sport and Exercise Science, Sydney University

Erin McKinnon had two claims to fame in the inaugural AFLW season. At 18, she was the youngest player to be drafted, and at 189 centimetres, she was also the tallest.

‘Being tall, you stand out, which means you can have a bit of confidence about you,’ Erin says. ‘Being the youngest, I was the least experienced so being the tallest kind of balanced that out. If I was the youngest and a smallish midfielder, I’d have been terrified!’

Erin seemed to easily slot into playing at a professional level, rucking against some of the competition’s best, earning a Rising Star nomination in Round 3. She knew her height gave her an advantage but she also knew her skills weren’t up there with the other girls yet. She’d get nervous.

‘Once the game starts, my nerves fade away. If you take away all the hype around it, it’s just footy, the same game I’ve played for the last five years, just a bit faster with a fair bit more intensity. I do tend to get quite nervous beforehand, though, and being professional has heightened that a bit. In one game, I was playing against Collingwood’s Emma King, the best ruck in the whole competition, and I just felt like a scrawny 18-year-old … But the girls got around me, they’re all very supportive.

Holly with Obama

‘...we started with a small group of girls with Mum as our coach. She knew nothing about AFL in the beginning but she was very encouraging and supportive.’

‘With local footy, you rock up half an hour before the game and just run out and play, so when I started at the Giants I was getting a bit overwhelmed about the team plans before the game. Being professional has given me access to pre-game strategies, like focussing on just a couple of things I can do. What’s really helped me this year is talking to our midfield coach, asking, “What are two things I can focus on this quarter?” So really narrowing it down, looking for two things each quarter, each game. It might be as simple as making sure I beat my opponent in the ruck, and trying to get back and help in defence.’

Erin has never been one to blend into the crowd, and that’s not just because it’s harder for her to hide. At primary school, she was the first girl to wear the boys’ uniform. ‘I was a bit of a tomboy in school. I grew up in a sporting family; we were always very active, trying lots of different sports. I just refused to wear the girls’ uniform because I didn’t want to wear a skirt or a dress.’

As a 12-year-old, she got interested in AFL. It all started when one of her younger brothers joined Auskick, and before long she was playing footy at the park on weekends with her father and brothers, then aged nine and six.

‘I saw an article in the newspaper about how girls could actually play AFL and I got really excited. So Mum contacted the local club but they didn’t have any youth girls teams. They were great though, and said if I could get enough girls to form a team they’d pay registration, give us uniforms, and help us get started.

‘So in 2012, we started with a small group of girls with Mum as our coach. She knew nothing about AFL in the beginning but she was very encouraging and supportive. It was only the second year of the Sydney Harbour Youth Girls program so it wasn’t very competitive. We’d get smashed every week, but we had so much fun that we just keep playing. Each training session there’d be a few more girls there, and it just grew and grew. So much has happened in women’s football in the last five years.’

Erin Playing

While the girls didn’t have an official captain, they looked towards Erin to lead the way. ‘I have a tendency to be quite bossy,’ she says. ‘Not in a mean way; I guess it comes from being the oldest and having two younger brothers – there were two of them and one of me. I’ve had a lot of girls say they started playing footy because I was there. It’s really nice to hear that, to think I had an influence on someone else’s life.’

Erin had played basketball, netball, volleyball, done some athletics and played a little bit of soccer when she was younger, yet AFL offered something different. ‘There really is no other sport like it in the world. It’s a 360-degree sport, and combines aspects of all the different sports that I played growing up. The physical aspects – the tackling and bumping – really appealed to me as it is something that wasn't part of the more traditional female sports I played. I think this physicality has helped us form really strong bonds with teammates through camaraderie, and it’s led to some great friendships.

‘I love the inclusiveness of AFL, that participation is encouraged regardless of skill level, and there’s hardly ever any animosity between teams off the field,’ Erin said.

‘I love the inclusiveness of AFL, that participation is encouraged regardless of skill level, and there’s hardly ever any animosity between teams off the field.’

Holly with Obama

As well as making the transition from local to AFLW games, Erin made the big move from school to university. ‘I looked at a few career options in sport: physio and things like that. I’m now doing Sport and Exercise Science at Sydney University as a broad degree, then I’ll have the flexibility to choose what path I want in the sports industry. I’m studying similar things to school, like biology subjects, but it’s a lot more detailed and at a faster pace. Things we cover in a two-hour lecture would have taken two weeks at school.

‘During the AFLW season it was a real juggle, especially when we had to travel for games, so next semester I’ll drop back a unit or two. I know what to expect now, that you have to think about footy 24 hours a day. I have to make sure I get enough sleep before the game, that I eat properly. You have to think about the actions you’re taking in your daily life and how it might affect your footy life, without becoming an obsessive crazy person. I love footy so much I could easily fall into that habit. Study has been really good for balance.’

Post-AFLW, Erin played for Sydney University in the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division. ‘It was really weird because I was still the youngest person in the team but everyone looked up to me because I’d played at the highest level!’

She enjoyed taking on more of a leadership role, and sharing what she’d learned. On a personal level, she made the most of the local competition, using the games to build on her strengths and work on her weaknesses so she can focus on the game plan once she’s back at the Giants. And knowing how full-on her life will be once pre-season starts on 20 November, she seized the opportunity to go to Europe for four weeks in the mid-semester break.

Erin can’t wait till whole team comes together again, and has been training three times a week to a program set by the Giants strength and conditioning coach. She’s confident that 2018 will be great given how much more prepared they all are for what lies ahead.

‘Since the day I was drafted, it’s been a massive roller-coaster and it’s fun!’

Erin Playing


What can we do to encourage girls to be more active?

I grew up in a really sporty family so this was never an issue for me, personally. But at school I had a whole bunch of friends who weren’t sporty, and yet I managed to get them to play volleyball by emphasising the social connections you make through being part of a team. And they did grow to love it and quite a few of them have gone on to try other sports too. I think we need to sell the fun aspect of sport, and the fact that it helps get rid of stress.

At school did you ever find it hard to balance your studies and sport?

Heading into Year 12, a few teachers suggested I rein in on sport a bit, but I did the complete opposite, and it worked really well for me. I had to withdraw a little bit from my social life in order to both study and play sport, but I was very social through sport so it balanced out. I found doing extracurricular activities took my mind off HSC and helped to release stress. It also really helped with time management and procrastination; when I got home, I knew I only had an hour until I had to get to training so I’d have to get homework done in that time, rather than sitting on the couch watching TV. I think the idea that you should drop sport and not do as many extracurricular things in Year 12 is unhealthy – it’s really beneficial for both physical and mental health. I don’t think my marks would be as good if I hadn’t played sport.  

What did you do to remain calm, knowing the draft was going to be announced just before your HSC exams?

Again, sport and study kept me busy. On draft day, I was studying that morning for the English exam the next day! I didn’t have time to dwell on the draft because of this, but it was still pretty exciting when it happened!  

Have you ever been criticised for playing football?

I haven’t been directly exposed to too much that’s negative. At competitions where boys were there too, we’d get a few funny looks for playing footy. You’d hear them saying stuff like ‘It’s not real footy’ and ‘It’s not the same level as boys’ footy’. None of it ever bothered me too much. Now with the growth and popularity of the women’s game, it’s been awesome to be able to prove them wrong. That’s really cool. You hear the comments like people calling it GAYFL, that it’s only for lesbians but I don’t let it bother me: the sport itself is so inclusive, everyone playing it is supportive and the people commenting on it don’t know what they’re talking about. So I just ignore it.

What sort of advancement have you witnessed, as one of the first females to take the field in AFL Womens?

A younger friend who is in Sydney Youth Girls has already been doing time trials and getting her fitness up so she can aim towards this year’s draft. When I was playing in Youth Girls, there was nothing to aim for – playing professionally was just a dream. I can already see that the standard will get better and better, with the all game development that’s happening. I’ve got lots of friends who don’t support AFL but they’ve been going (and not just to watch me). It’s attracting a whole new crowd, which is also great for the growth of the game.

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In the Classroom

Unpacking Themes

Comprehensive resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum to support and encourage meaningful classroom discussion and assessment.

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Andrea McNamara

Andrea McNamara is a Melbourne-based publishing consultant and content manager with 18 years’ experience in the book industry at Penguin and Allen & Unwin. As the commercial non-fiction publisher at Penguin, Andrea was instrumental in establishing a publishing partnership with the AFL in 2012, producing titles such as The Rise of the Swans, The Mighty Fighting Hawks, and Emma Quayle’s The Draftees. She also had a hand in the popular Footy Kids series.

At Penguin she published many bestselling books including Jim Stynes’ memoir, Kurt Fearnley’s Pushing the Limits, Sue Williams’ Father Bob, the autobiographies of Shane Crawford and Jonathan Brown and eight Michelle Bridges books. She project managed Mark Thompson’s Bomber: The Whole Story.

Andrea now works with trade publishers, businesses and brands. She initiates and manages projects, editing, writing and publishing across a broad range of non-fiction genres, from inspiration and motivation, leadership and business, to outback adventures, true crime, animal stories and health and wellbeing.

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Be Yourself


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An AFLW Inspire Story

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CEO of Emergent, Board member of Port Adelaide FC &
Ironman competitor

Holly Ransom was a very active outdoors kind of kid, which is hardly surprising for someone who grew up in Perth. She went surfing whenever she could and played lots of sport. When she was eight, she wrote in her school scrapbook that she wanted to be a Brownlow Medallist. So it came as a shock a couple of years later to be told that girls weren’t allowed to play football any more – as far as she was concerned, she was a ten-year-old Auskicker looking for the next level.

‘I remember bursting into tears – I was devastated,’ Holly says. ‘It struck me as so weird that I wasn’t allowed to do something that my brothers could do.’

That was Holly’s first real experience of inequality, and it happened to be in relation to gender. In her adult working life, she has made it her business to be influential in ensuring that equality is on the agenda of decision makers, world-wide. In sport, for example, at 27 she was the youngest board member ever appointed by an AFL club (Port Adelaide) and she was on the advisory board for the launch of the AFL Women’s League.

Holly recalls a defining moment at school, something that really got her thinking about how our ideas of gender equality are formed. Her Year 5 teacher loved giving the students logic problems. They would finish the day with brain benders, like this:

A father and son are driving home from school, and just as they’re turning into a road near home, they’re hit by a reckless driver. The car spins. The boy is thrown out of the car, and his dad is trapped inside. Fortunately, a bystander sees it happen, calls an ambulance, and the kid is rushed to hospital. When they arrive, the surgeon swings open the doors, and declares, ‘That’s my son.’ How is that possible?

‘There were thirty-four of us in the class, with 15 minutes on the clock,’ Holly says. ‘Our best guess was that the boy must have had two dads. Not one of us thought that the surgeon was the boy’s mum. That’s such an interesting thing to look back on, that shift in thinking between ages 8 and 10, from believing I could be a Brownlow Medallist, to unconsciously self-selecting out mine and my gender’s ability to be in that sort of role.’

Holly had leadership roles on the sporting field at school, and naturally gravitated towards positions of responsibility, yet it took her a while to recognise her own potential to really make a difference. ‘I found I could rally the troops, and I’ve always been quite mature for my age,’ Holly says

‘The big change was when one of my teachers sent me on a leadership program that really challenged my idea of what a leader could look like. I thought you had to be older to have a real impact, yet there I was with these unbelievable 14 and 15 year olds for a week, and they were volunteer firefighters and running amazing aid projects; they were making a real difference in their communities and schools. I was the runt of that pack – not in a competitive sense, purely because I genuinely had no idea that this sort of thing was possible at our age.

‘At 15, the trajectory of my life was changed. I thought, I’m going to get out there and have a crack at some of the things I’ve been thinking about. I discovered that you can be a leader at any age, if you choose to take that word and own it.’ .

‘At 15, the trajectory of my life was changed … I discovered that you can be a leader at any age, if you choose to take that word and own it.’

After school, Holly ended up with a Law degree and BA (Economics) with a minor in political science. ‘I always describe my life as having a really strong sense of direction but loose hold of the reins,’ she says. She couldn’t ever have predicted the roles and opportunities that have come her way.

Underlying those opportunities is the fact that Holly has known what she’s passionate about for a very long time. She is driven to:

  • improve the lives of those less fortunate in our community, and generally raise the standard of living in our society
  • provide a voice for people who are voiceless in our current systems
  • engage other people in their ability to be agents of change.

But it’s all very well to have big aspirations. It’s much harder to actually make things happen. ‘I worked out early on that what you’re capable of doing as one person won’t even scratch the surface of what you can achieve if you mobilise a group of people. Very quickly, my focus became wanting to unlock other people’s capacity to believe in themselves as part of the change and the solution.’

‘I worked out early on that what you’re capable of doing as one person won’t even scratch the surface of what you can achieve if you can mobilise a group of people.’

Holly with Obama

Holly’s impressive achievements, including her current role as CEO of her own company, Emergent, can be found here. Hers is an inspiring story of finding mentors and taking chances and learning from corporate stints at NAB and Rio Tinto, then choosing her own path. Her keynote speaking portfolio has taken her to six continents. She’s had many pinch-yourself moments with world leaders: she’s delivered a Peace Charter to the Dalai Lama, has chatted with Barack Obama about her work chairing the G20 Youth Summit, and hangs out with Richard Branson.

And yet behind the highlights reel, by 2013 Holly Ransom was struggling. She couldn’t sit still – she had to be constantly doing things, stuck on the hamster wheel. There were warning signs – little things, cracks appearing – but she was too busy bouncing off walls to notice them. Luckily, friends and a good GP told her she needed to take better care of herself, that she needed help. She was diagnosed with depression.

Like many people, at first Holly wondered why she couldn’t just push through. Then she approached the diagnosis with her typical tenacity. ‘I knew I wanted to come out the other side stronger than I’d ever been. I wanted to use the diagnosis as an opportunity to reset. I sought advice from people who had my best interests at heart and made significant changes to the way I lived and worked. I exercised more control over who I was surrounded by – who I was listening to and being influenced by. ‘That journey from depression is the hardest thing I’ve done and what I’m proudest of. I was terrified of talking out loud about it, because of the stigma attached to mental illness, but it was the story behind my first Ironman in December 2015, and I wanted to let people to know they’re not alone.’

Holly with Obama

It can hurt you and upset you to hear people saying you can’t do something, but you have to believe in yourself

Ironman is a gruelling triathlon: a 3.8-kilometre swim in open water, a 180-kilomtre cycle and a 42-kilometre marathon. To build endurance fitness, you need to train around 20 hours a week. Holly wanted to set herself a big physical and mental challenge, to show herself that anything is possible. As ‘a prolific goal setter’, she was looking for something that would really test her, and with Ironman, she found a bottomless learning pit. ‘Every time I train, I learn something new about myself. So it has massive flow-on effects for the way I work. It energises me, and I’ve learnt to put training into my week as a priority.’

Holly doesn’t spend time reflecting on her past achievements – there’s far too much forward thinking to be done. And with a second Ironman under her belt, she knows anything is possible.

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Don't let anyone
steal your dreams

An AFLW Inspire Story

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Sports presenter, producer, journalist & physiotherapist

Tiffany Cherry remembers watching the Moscow Olympics on TV with her mum and brother. At eight years old, she was hooked on sport, and she knew she wanted to be part of the action one day, to be right in the thick of it. ‘I suppose it’s what a little kid believes Disneyland is before you go there: that’s what the Olympic Games was to me. Friendliness and happiness, and everyone having a great time.’

And so began Tiffany’s dream to represent Australia on the world stage. She worked her way up through Little Athletics, and her chosen event was the 400 metre hurdles. She’d think about each race, and how she’d pace herself. ‘I loved the obstacles, and working out the strategy for how to get over them,’ Tiffany says.

While she made it to the top eight hurdlers, nationally, Tiffany realised that she wasn’t going to make it as a professional athlete. She also had to accept that while she wasn’t good enough, some of her friends were. ‘Training with someone who is your peer, but who then takes off in a direction you can’t keep up with – that can be hard. I had friends who became world and Olympic champions and represented Australia – they became the catalyst for me to keep striving, for a different way to reach my goal.’

Determined to pursue a career in the sports industry, Tiffany completed a Bachelor of Applied Science and became a physiotherapist. She was one of the first females to work in the inner sanctum of a football club when she became Richmond's first female physio. ‘Mum always told me I could be anything, so I didn’t think about being the first. I was qualified to do the job, and I’d also experienced being an athlete. But I kept getting asked what it was like being a girl in the male changing rooms. I thought it was such a stupid question. It’s like asking a male gynaecologist what it’ s like delivering babies!’

‘I kept getting asked what it was like being a girl in the male changing rooms. I thought it was such a stupid question. It’s like asking a male gynaecologist what it’ s like delivering babies!’

Tiffany had also been writing for Australian Runner Magazine and freelancing for The Age and gradually a sports journalist career path emerged in radio and TV. ‘I was always passionate about sport, and without being conscious of it, I was also passionate about people’s stories. It’s only a few years ago that I realised I’m actually a storyteller. Everything I do – presenting, producing, being a journalist – is about inspiring people through storytelling – being the conduit for other people’s incredible stories.’

After a few years, there was another first. This time, though, she had to work hard to make it happen. In 2002, Tiffany became the first female AFL boundary rider when she joined the new Fox Footy channel.

‘I was very naive when I started in sports journalism. I thought everyone was just fabulous. Then I was told I couldn’t work in football because I hadn’t played the game. But because of my background, I knew how to explain in layman’s terms what injuries had occurred. I saw that as an opening, and that I could make something of it. It was very hard to convince them but my persistence paid off. I just didn’t give up. I’d jam my big toe in their door over and over again.’

As her career as a journalist developed, Tiffany reshaped her goal of making it to the Olympics. She would go as a presenter, and no one was going to steal that dream. She brought to the table all her experience and drew on the traits of a good hurdler – persistence, being able to strategise, resilience. In 2012 she hosted the London Olympic Games for Foxtel.

‘Achieving that goal after all those years was unbelievable – when I sat back and reflected, it was the journey that was amazing,’ she says. ‘That was the wonder of it all – the trials and tribulations, the people I’d met along the way. Everything that makes life worth living. It’s true, what they say, it’s the journey that counts.

‘My dad would say to me, “Before you walk through your next door, just take a look back.”’

Behind the TV screen, Tiffany found some things increasingly difficult to deal with. ‘In television, so much politics goes on and you can’t really control that. Often a way of potentially controlling it – or lessening the impact – is to fall into line with what’s going on. I wasn’t prepared to toe those political lines.

‘In the early days of being involved in sport, I thought it was important to be part of the boys’ club. Then I saw the double standards wherever I looked.

‘In the early days of being involved in sport, I thought it was important to be part of the boys’ club. Then I saw the politics of it all, and the double standards wherever I looked.’

‘As I get older, I understand a lot more about people and why they act in certain way and a lot of it is about their own insecurities. You can’t control that. So it comes back to staying true to who you are. I’m now a lot more aware of how people behave and how that can affect me, but only if I choose to let it.’

Tiffany has a young daughter, and feels positive about the opportunities Vivienne will have, to be who she wants to be. She is loving the impact of girl power, evident in the success of the inaugural AFL Womens season. ‘I think in the past women were perhaps pitted against each other, and we’ve probably spent too much time comparing ourselves because there were limited opportunities for us to achieve in male-dominated areas. But girls are really starting to unite and that’s incredibly powerful. It’s now a real sisterhood of helping each other.

‘Of course, there’s still a long way to go. I look at some of the criticism of the female players – things like “I don’t like how their ponytails swing” – and I feel sorry that so much of that opinion is shaped by the pressure to conform. But I love that these players prove it’s more than OK to look strong. I love the message that AFLW women are healthy, strong, fit.’

Tiffany completed an MBA just after having Vivienne, in order to understand the business of sport. She’ s formulating her next step and knows she wants to smash any ceiling.

‘Some people would say I overthink things sometimes, and there’s an element of truth in that. But when I hear “hurdles”, I say “Give it to me.” That’s just who I am.’

Tiff's Captain Image Tiff's Captain Image for Mobile Devices


What do you admire most about yourself?

My never-give-up attitude. Ever.

Do you compare yourself to others?

I tend to compare myself when I'm not as confident in that given situation. It’s always good to remember that while others can give you a barometer, what you can achieve and how great you can be, is completely up to you. Comparison often takes the fun out of life. 

What’s the biggest barrier you’ve faced in achieving your goals?

I thought for a long time it was other people's perception of me and the limitations they attached to that, but I've come to learn it’s more about the voices inside my own head and allowing or not allowing those to limit my achievements. Overcoming those voices took a lot of energy, proving that I was capable; in hindsight, I should have ignored them and trusted myself more. That would have made the journey, in some instances, a lot more enjoyable and far less taxing, mentally and physically. 

Have you been influenced by other people’s opinions?

I've been influenced both positively and negatively by other people's opinions. It's important to limit the number of people you seek advice from, and keep it to people you trust and who you know to have your best interests at heart. Others are likely to judge you based on their own insecurities and often it has little relevance to you.

I was never afraid of being judged by my peers, but too often I sought their approval. People will judge you if they want to. It's something you don't have much control over, so best to ignore it!

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I would share with my teenage self the power that comes from ignoring the comments and opinions of most people and trusting your gut instinct, because it is almost always right. I would also encourage her to strategise – make a decision and quickly understand all outcomes before acting. But never wait too long.

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Libby Birch

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Libby Birch. Before the 18th of June 2016 Libby Birch had never kicked a football.  Now she is a Western Bulldog. I AFLW our stories - From the court to the kennell

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A New Hero - Sabrina Frederick-Traub

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Sabrina Frederick- Traub is one of the new breed of heroes who will be born out of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition. I AFLW our stories - A New Hero

The Fans

Supporters of the
Inaugural Year

The Fans
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adventure junkie, novice fan

“I think it’s so important for the next generation of girls to understand that they can play any sport, irrespective of gender.”

Liching grew up with little knowledge of AFL, choosing Essendon as her team as a way of fitting in with the other kids at school. Born and raised in Dandenong with Chinese Russian heritage, Liching used to explain AFL to her non-english speaking parents as “the game where you kick the oval shaped ball through the sticks”.

As a 31 year old, Liching experienced her first ever AFL game at Etihad Stadium, and her first Women’s VFL grand final at Coburg City Oval. “The final between Darebin Falcons and Melbourne Uni was so exciting. I felt like I was part of something bigger. Like history was being made because I knew I was watching players who were going to star in the AFLW league next year.”

With a developing passion for AFLW and the game, Liching has a keen eye on the league’s development. When asked why AFLW is so important to her, Liching remarked “I ride downhill mountain bikes in a largely male dominated field. I think it’s so important for the next generation of girls to understand that they can play any sport, irrespective of gender. They shouldn’t grow up thinking that they can’t do certain things just because it’s not available to them.”



author, renewed fan

“…I confess, I went a bit mental on social media about how great this would be. I’d re-found my enthusiasm and could re-live my youth vicariously through these fit, skilled, brave women”.

Ebony hasn’t bothered with AFL for 20 years, and even then it was mainly so she had a quick answer at school to “who do you barrack for”?

At uni she enjoyed playing in messy mixed group skirmishes at Fitzroy Oval however the real world gave way to interests where women's achievements were promoted and celebrated.

“For most of my life, AFL was an industry where “The other 51%” were not represented. But then the incredible news - there would be an AFL women’s league. Kicking off with the all-stars match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval. I confess, I went a bit mental on social media about how great this would be. I’d re-found my enthusiasm and could re-live my youth vicariously through these fit, skilled, brave women”.

Which for Ebony meant going to the game.

“Did I remember how to barrack? When was the right moment to scream ‘baaaaaaalllll?’ Would I ‘carn’ right? I shouldn’t have worried. The moment I stepped into the stadium, the pumping music, lights, and teeming crowd surrounded me with welcoming love. Even more importantly, the rain held off.

It felt like history being made, and I was there. In a year of awful global events, at least this was one thing 2016 got right.

I’m now a Demon. I have the scarf, I’m following them on Twitter, the fixture is out for 2017, and I’m going to be at Casey Fields for Melbourne’s first game on Sunday, Feb 5”.



passionate AFL fan, Dad to 3 girls

With three young daughters of his own now, Josh was jubilant about his team’s historic premiership win, a day he wanted to share with them.

When you grow up with your street at the foot of Whitten Oval, you’re not going to have much of a say about who you support in the football. Josh has been a doggies fan since the age of nine but remembers his Mum would always grumble whenever there was a game on that they couldn't get a car park outside the house.

With three young daughters of his own now, Josh was jubilant about his team’s historic premiership win, a day he wanted to share with them. “I was trying to instil in the girls the excitement of it, of what a big deal it was and they would take it in, but they really didn't show much interest in it. And I'm wondering if it’s because when they talk about sport, with footy it's a game for the boys and it’s not something that girls play. So yeah, that’s mainly what piqued my interest in the upcoming women’s league”.

Josh thinks now they’ll see it as a game that is open to them and he really wants them to come with him to an AFLW Bulldogs match.

“I've never been super keen to take them to an AFL game just that it's a bit daunting. I did take them to VFL games because I thought it was a bit more family oriented. I think it will be good to take the girls there without the mayhem that's potentially at an AFL game”.

With the bonus he can park outside his old house.