COLLINGWOOD co-captain Brianna Davey has played in her fair share of Pride matches over the past few years, but there's something different about an AFLW-wide Pride Round.
Carlton – Davey's former club – and the Western Bulldogs have previously led the way in celebrating inclusiveness in football with their annual Pride games, with St Kilda and Melbourne joining the pair last year.
"The fact that it's extended across the whole League, I think it just has the ability to reach more people, which is, essentially, what it's about," Davey told womens.afl.
"It's about spreading a little bit of awareness and showing that we support those people, that we're an inclusive League, and we want that to be the way we are.
"If you're not on board with that, it's where you probably get left behind, really."
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A strong percentage of the people who built and supported women's footy are members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and in conjunction with a relatively new competition, it has resulted in a much higher level of acceptance and openness in the AFLW than in the AFL.
"We've obviously had a strong presence of LGBT presence within the community, but on top of that, all the girls from the very start – we've been able to start from scratch," Davey said.
"Obviously we're all under the same sort of umbrella within the AFL, but we have been able to create our own brand. The inclusion of Pride Round where we can really represent people, certain topics or certain subjects is really powerful.
"I hope when people do switch on the TV, and they do see that, if they know someone hasn't really engaged with those things before, it can really get them to think critically, and hopefully also just become more moral thinkers as well."
Davey has been with her partner, St Kilda defender Tilly Lucas-Rodd, for five years now, and their bond is strengthened by their shared experiences in footy.
The pair have played together at VWFL club St Kilda Sharks and then at Carlton when the AFLW kicked off in 2017. Things have become slightly more complicated now they are at different clubs.
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"It has its challenges at times, of course, but at the same time, it's awesome. We both understand each other so well, and we understand our jobs, which is playing footy," Davey said.
"I think that's the handiest thing, we understand each other's training schedules and we can have a good yarn about it as well, obviously without giving away anything now that we're on different teams."
Davey and Lucas-Rodd have only played against each other once, in a VFLW match in 2019.
"You know, when you do play against each other, it's always one of those things, someone's going to come home a bit cranky at the other. You just hope it's not you," she said with a laugh.
"We didn't run into each other too much, because I was playing midfield and she was in the backline, and I wasn't going forward too often."
And now Davey is spending some time in attack, is there a plan of action if Collingwood and St Kilda are to meet this year in the AFLW?
"Luckily, we've got a spare bedroom at home, so someone can sleep there that night," she said.
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