'I was playing five other sports': How a Giant 'wowed' young leader to footy

IF IT wasn't for Greater Western Sydney captain Alicia Eva, Alyce Parker might be playing netball instead.

The talented Giant has spent the last three years soaking up Eva's advice and turning that into results on the field, with her list of accolades growing by the month.

A key pillar of rebel’s commitment to women in sport is to support and develop young female athletes, which is why they have developed the rebel Young Leader award where the winner partakes in their tailored mentoring program.

The participants must be under 23 at the start of the season and the Parker was selected based on on-field performance, on-field and off-field attitude and demonstrating skill, tenacity and good sportsmanship.

Parker was honoured to receive the 2020 rebel AFLW Young Leader Award, after making a massive impact in just her second season.

"For rebel to get behind this, it's more common to get awards that commend your physical attributes and skills as an athlete, but to be rewarded for the skills you have as a person and more so as a leader, it's very special to receive that," Parker told womens.afl.

AFLW: Footy, family and the farm

04:49 Oct 19. 2018. 4:41 PM

Meet AFLW Giant Alyce Parker and her family on their Holbrook farm in NSW

Parker wins $5,000 in cash, access to the rebel mentor program and access to other opportunities with rebel to help build her profile.

But way before Parker became a Giant, she wasn't even sure football was the career path for her.

"Prior to my final year with the Rams, I wasn't sure that I wanted to do AFLW as a career," Parker said.

"It was something I was enjoying, but I was playing five other sports at the time."

Parker had been in an elite training squad for swimming for five years, as well as representing her school in athletics and cross country. She dabbled in tennis, cricket and basketball, too, but by the end she narrowed it down to netball and football.

"I was training more for netball in my under 18s years than I was for football," Parker said.

Parker to Privitelli, the go-to forward

00:52 Feb 23. 2020. 2:32 PM

Alyce Parker launches from long range to Rebecca Privitelli for strong chest mark and goal finish

Eva might be Parker's teammate now, but the first time they were introduced was when Eva took over as the coach of the New South Wales-ACT Rams representative football team.

"Our first meeting with her, we all walked away wowed by her," Parker said.

"We knew straight away that she was an incredible coach and she was going to have a huge impact, not just for us as individuals, but the whole pathway in New South Wales.

"I knew that the fact I wanted to play AFLW was purely based on if I was going to keep meeting people like her, that was a huge attraction for me."

The two have transitioned from a coach-player relationship to now being locker buddies in a unique journey.

It might be early on in Parker's career, but the midfielder might one day follow in Eva's footsteps as captain of the Giants.