From a Hawk to a Blue
Saturday, December 09 2017 @ 06:30 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
Tash Gunawardana interviewed AFLW player Kate Shierlaw who played one season in AFL London for the Wimbledon Hawks and now plays for Carlton in the AFLW after being rookie selected in the inaugural 2017 AFLW season.
What made you choose Women’s footy over Women’s basketball?
I have always been obsessed with footy but never saw a pathway for women. The footy opportunity was a very lucky one for me and just being in the right place at the right time over in London. Basketball has provided me with a very good grounding for footy and it wasn’t about choosing one over the other, more about the opportunity that was presented to be able to play a sport I love at the highest level.
What was it like to be selected in the rookie draft by Carlton a club you have supported your whole life?
I can’t explain the feeling of being drafted to the club I have supported my whole life. I’m obsessed. It makes walking into the club every day that much more special and I am very lucky to be in the position I am, let alone representing Carlton.
Do you feel you playing for Carlton, Lauren Spark playing for the Western Bulldogs and Jess Edwards signing to the Collingwood VFLW has been significant for footy in the UK and internationally?
I feel like any exposure we can give footy over in the UK is a good thing. It’s not going to magically grow the game, but the rapid increase in women playing the game all over the world is seriously the best.
Do you think or know of any other players from AFL London who might be selected to play in the VFL and/or AFL?
I was only over there for one season, and can’t think off the top of my head, but there are some decent athletes over there, in particular the Irish girls who are quite natural to the game
What was it like to play footy in the UK compared to Australia?
The standard is completely different. In the UK you can get away with being a good athlete and stand out whereas in Australia there are so many good athletes you need more than that. That’s where the skills really stand out. Physically it’s not too dissimilar.
What did you learn most from playing for the Wimbledon Hawks?
I think I just learnt to play footy with some freedom, to fly for my marks and to lead and help others who are new to the game.
Image: Wimbledon Hawks.
Who have been your biggest influences on your footy career at Wimbledon Hawks and your sporting career so far?
Lauren Spark was my biggest help at the Hawks. We would often do marking together and conditioning too. She was also the one who effectively got me drafted. In terms of my sporting career, I like to admire a lot of athletes and pick up bits and pieces from different people.
For you, what has been the biggest change from AFL London to the AFLW so far?
The biggest change from London to AFLW is the running requirements and defensive efforts. It’s a very demanding game, all over the field.
(Image Source below:Quinn Rooney/Getty Images AsiaPac)
I loved the whole experience and how we got to influence and change society’s outlook on women’s sport. To see little girls with footballs in their hands was the most special part. Sharing that with my teammates and now close friends was also very special.
Do you think the first season of the AFLW was a successful one for the AFL?
The first season was a huge success and much more of a success than the AFL would have ever imagined. I love that it just smashed anyone’s expectations. There is no need to put any limits on things women can do.
What is the thing you love most about playing Women’s footy?
I love the impact it has had on young women and how many are now playing the game. I wish I was 18 again! Proving to so many people what we are capable of.
Have you played any other footy position or only Ruck/Forward in your footy career thus far?
I played quite a few different positions in the VFLW including defence. I love the forward line and am learning more and more about the ruck.
Who has been the player or players you have learnt the most from in your first season at Carlton?
This is a tough one, there are so many that have had an impact on me. I watch the way Bri Davey goes about it and just admire everything about her, the coaches have helped me so much, and a lot of the other girls too.
Would you ever consider being traded to Adelaide so you can play in your home state?
I’m very happy at Carlton and a lifelong supporter so it’d have to be something drastic for that to change. I’m really settled in Melbourne too.
What are you most looking forward to in your second AFLW season with the Blues?
I’m looking forward to playing more footy and continuing my growth. Hopefully we will have an even more successful season next year, I can’t wait!!!