Tash Gunawardana continues her series of interviews with AFLW players. We are now just 11 days out from the start of the 2018 AFLW season. Today's interview features Melbourne Football Club's Jasmine Grierson.
What is it like to play with players such as Daisy Pearce, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea and what have you learnt from each of these players?
I have loved every second of being able to train and play alongside these girls, every session is an opportunity to learn and develop into a better footballer. The way they prepare, train and live football is a true credit to the elite players they are. Not only on the field, but from role models to friends they bring so much knowledge and genuine care to the relationships in our team.
What does Irish teammate Laura Duryea bring to the Melbourne Demons?
‘Irish’ brings so much enthusiasm and energy to every session. Experience and wisdom to the backline but also lots of laughs off the field.
When a Darwin thunderstorm rolls into town, the electricity generated can provide some of nature’s most spectacular light shows. When those storms roll in over TIO Stadium on match night it can have an entirely different outcome. On Friday night, that is just what happened when an electrical storm hit the stadium, taking out light towers and causing the cancellation of further matches.
The washout affected earlier division matches, but perhaps the biggest impact was the decision to split the four points between Southern Districts Crocs and Nightcliff Tigers. Whilst nothing can be done about nature’s fury, the weather took away the chance to watch first v second on the ladder in what might have been a grand final rehearsal. Significantly, however, Crocs remain three games clear of Tigers with four rounds to go before finals.
We welcome Yoshihiro Imagawa to our writing staff. Yoshi is a huge St Kilda FC fan and has been a regular contributor to The Footy Almanac the past few years and is now assisting AFL Asia and AFL Japan to get their footy news out to the world.
On Friday, AFL Asia announced proudly and with delight that Hayley Leary had been appointed as AFL Asia AFLW Promotion and Development Officer for the 2018 season. Grown up in Melbourne and currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Hayley participated in the AFL Asia 2016 Asian Championship AFLW Exhibition match in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
Her great experience in playing footy in the exhibition match drove her in co-founding the Malaysian Warriors Women's team in 2017. On Saturday, 20 January, the Malaysian women club will be playing against the Cambodia Apsaras in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Two bright young talents from the USAFL’s Los Angeles Dragons are taking their talents across the Pacific: both Gabriel Martin del Campo and Sam Murphy will be competing in local Aussie rules leagues in the 2018 season.
A member of the US Revolution squad, Martin del Campo (pictured left) primarily plays in the midfield or half-forward line and will be taking his talents to suburban Melbourne. Born and raised in Southern California, Martin del Campo leaves on January 19th and will play with the Black Rock Football Club, who compete in the Southern Football League’s Division 3. In addition to Aussie rules, Martin del Campo also played rugby union and soccer in his younger years. He is a physical and versatile player who excels on the disposals and clearances.
Tash Gunawardana interviewed the GWS Giants captain Amanda Farrugia ahead of the 2018 AFLW season that starts on February the 2nd. Good luck to Amanda in her second season as captain of the GWS Giants
When growing up, what other sports did you play other than Aussie Rules?
Growing up, I did not actually play Aussie Rules because I did not know that there was a pathway for girls. So I played basketball for the majority of my school life and started Touch Football in high school also.
Has it always been your dream to play professional football when a child or did you have other dreams as well?
I was definitely not a dreamer as a kid. I was very content in the moment, playing basketball at lunch time and on weekends and being a diligent academic student. Therefore, where I am now feels like a dream I never thought possible.
The football scene in the SARFL (Scottish Australian Rules Football league) may be about to change if a bid by the West Lothian Eagles to join the league as a full member team is successful. Club founder, Mikey Allen, has fired off a submission for the club to be the fifth team in the SARFL for the 2018 season.
The club was founded in 2016 when Mikey identified the potential for another Australian Rules football team. Since that time the Falkirk Silverbacks club has ceased, further opening up the prospects for a new team – located between Edinburgh and Glasgow. If successful, the team would join the Greater Glasgow Giants, Glasgow Sharks, Edinburgh Bloods and Kingdom Kangaroos as part of the national league.
Matt Heath from the NT News reports on the incredible community support shown for injured Darwin Buffaloes player, Tai Martin-Page, seriously injured in a match last weekend. It is over a week since the terrible incident that has left Tai facing paralysis, but the Darwin football community and beyond have come together through crowd-funding and well-wishing for Tai [pictured second from right]. Matt Heath’s article states that:
THE family of a Territory footballer paralysed from the neck down after a sickening on-field clash in Darwin last weekend has been overwhelmed by the response to a fundraising campaign they have launched to try to get him back on his feet.
Doctors late Saturday gave Tai Martin-Page the all-clear to shift from Royal Perth Hospital’s intensive care unit to a specialised spinal ward where he will begin his rehabilitation under the guidance of renowned spinal surgeon Edward Baddour.
The Southern Districts Crocs have all but assured themselves the minor premiership this season, mainly on the back of their 82-point win on the weekend over thee Darwin Buffaloes, but also because the Buffaloes and Tigers dropped important games. As a result, the Crocs are now three games and a huge percentage clear of second placed Nightcliff. They will not lose top spot with just five rounds to go – barring something miraculous.
The Crocs handed the third-placed Buffaloes a football lesson after quarter time on the back on a nine goal to one second quarter. From there, the Crocs just sauntered to victory – again restricting the Buffaloes scoring opportunities and rebounding effectively. The Buffaloes are still in third place, but with the Saints and Bombers lurking and Waratah looking dangerous, the Buffaloes must again get winning momentum to remain a finals proposition.
Tash Gunawardana interviewed former Adelaide United captain Marijana Rajcic who was selected at pick no.32 by the Adelaide Crows in the 2017 AFLW National Draft. Congratulations and good luck to Rajcic in her first season at the Crows this year.
Why did you swap codes from women’s soccer to women’s Australian Rules football?
It was something that came out of the blue really. I had not ever really thought about playing AFLW, until my best friend planted the seed in my head. The opportunity presented itself and I thought why not give it a crack. A new environment, new people and a new challenge.
Do you think there will be other players from the W League who might swap codes like you and play in the AFLW?
Yes for sure. We already have the likes of Bri Davey, Ellie Brush & of course Jenna McCormick who have made the switch to AFLW. But I know a number of girls who have made the switch and are currently playing SANFLW. But as AFLW continues to grow, I know girls will see what AFLW has to offer them and make the switch.
Tash Gunawardana recently interviewed Fremantle Dockers midfielder Dana Hooker ahead of the upcoming AFLW season.Hooker was the inaugural best and fairest winner for the Fremantle Dockers AFLW side in 2017.
When you were a kid, what other sports did you play other than footy?
I grew up playing a few different sports. I did athletics and played basketball and softball all the way into high school. In early high school I started playing football and then that became my sport of choice when I was about 16.
What did it feel like to be the first female best and fairest champion at the Fremantle Dockers?
Winning the inaugural fairest and best was certainly a great achievement that I am proud of. The night itself was something I will not ever forget but overall, to have been apart of this inaugural team at Freo and started building the foundations for the women’s side, that’s pretty special.
In a big few weeks for the USAFL currently in the offseason, there has been change at the top and parting of ways between tje league and the Tampa Bay ARFC.
Steve Grandfield who was elected USAFL President just this past October has resigned the position "due to professional opportunities outside of football". Following a highly successful National Championships in San Diego and riding a wave of optimism, the league is looking for some stability at the top after previous president Denis Ryan resigned for personal reasons and the position then being filled leading to this year's election by VP East, Mike Sheppard.
Per the USAFL constitution, if the President role is vacated, the longest serving Vice President fills the role until the next AGM. Sebestian Aguiari who has been the Vice President of the West Region since 2015 with the agreement of the USAFL board will now serve as USAFL President until the next AGM in October.
The USAFL also released the following statement on the group calling themselves Major League Footy based around the Tampa Bay ARFC/ St Petersburg Swans "We are aware of some social media activity regarding Major League Footy (MLF) recently and we want to make sure it is very clear that the USAFL is in no way affiliated with MLF or any of its operations. MLF is a For-Profit organization and its business model is in conflict with the USAFL's Non-Profit status. Subsequently, be advised that the Tampa Bay ARFC / St Petersburg Swans are no longer a USAFL member club."