'I want to be that sort of player': WA young gun's famous football inspiration

WESTERN Australia's Ashleigh Reidy doesn't have to look far for football inspiration.

Her grandfather's first cousin is legendary Saint Nicky Winmar, and such are the close family bonds, she calls him Pop.

Reidy plays at South Fremantle, like her famous relative, and was a dynamic focal point in attack for Western Australia in the recent NAB AFLW Under-19 Championships.

WA rising star taking her game to another level

02:02 Jun 2. 2021. 11:45 AM

Ashleigh Reidy on her quest to become the best player she can be

She captained the Woomeras (the national Indigenous under-16 side) in 2019, and will be eligible for the 2022 NAB AFLW Draft.

"I'm a bit too young to have watched him play, but I do watch a lot of his highlights and stuff," Reidy told womens.afl.

"The way he moves with the ball when he's going for goal and the way he takes down his opponents – I want to be that sort of player, that fast player, and make everything look easy.

"But it doesn't just happen like that, it needs hard work and dedication to get there."

(L-R) J'Noemi Anderson of the Allies, Mel Hardy of Western Australia, Claire Ransom of the Allies, Nyra Anderson of Western Australia, Ashanti Bush of the Allies and Ashleigh Reidy of Western Australia. Picture: AFL Photos

Despite her family history, Reidy hasn't always played footy, having previously represented her state in basketball.

She started playing school football before joining South Fremantle's under-18 side in the Rogers Cup, making her WAFLW debut this year at 17.

"When I was younger, I always found myself out the front, kicking my three older brothers. There was something about football that just kept drawing me back to the sport," Reidy said.

"I'm really close with all my first cousins, and like we all were raised like siblings. We all look out for each other.

"[Except], they didn't really care – if you're playing, and you got pushed over, you couldn't cry about it."

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Having suffered an MCL injury in 2019, Reidy knows what it's like to miss out, and is eager to continue working on her game to give herself the best chance possible to be drafted at the end of 2022.

"I'm trying to just enjoy my footy, but I'm a very competitive person at heart, so whatever the highest level I can get to, I want to strive for that," she said.

"I definitely want to improve my 2km (time) and my running, just being able to run out a full game, all four quarters.

"I barrack for the Dockers, but Erin Phillips is my favourite player, so I watch a lot of her games. She's not scared when she goes for the ball, and I want to be that type of player who can burst through packs the way she does."