Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
Nicola Barr, the inaugural number one draft pick for the AFLW has made a name for herself not only on the footy field but also off field too.
“I have recently graduated from the degree and am now working at Starlight Children’s foundation as well as taking a couple of spin classes each week,” Barr said.
“Balancing these things in addition to AFLW training can be quite a challenge at times! For me the best way to juggle these commitments is to ensure that while I am doing something to be completely focused on it," Barr said.
“To do this I practice mindfulness and being present – this really helps me to stay focused on the task at hand.”
Barr began playing football when she was 17 years old, and is now in her fifth year of playing football.
Lots of people have influenced Barr’s football and sporting career but the person who has influenced her career the most was her sports director at high school.
“I was convinced that I wanted to stick to soccer but he told me I had what it takes to be a footballer and that women’s football was going to grow,” Barr said.
“If he wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be playing AFL today.” Barr’s main strengths in football include running with the football and getting into a position to get a handball receive.
“Definitely need to improve on beating my direct opponent (one versus one) and improve my tackling pressure,” Barr said.
“This isn’t a side of footy that comes very naturally to me so I need to work on this.”
Barr believes new GWS Giant Delma Gisu will be the player to watch.
“Delma Gisu is brand new to our team this year, and so far she has impressed at training,” Barr said.
“She is extremely quick and speedy but also has an amazing leap – she will be a surprise factor for sure.”
Since being at the GWS Giants, Barr has learnt a lot from several players.
Image (Right) Source: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images AsiaPac
“I have learnt to be a good leader and to have care for my teammates from Fridge (Captain Amanda Faruggia), to be calm under pressure from Cora Staunton, and to understand much more about the game itself from Alicia Eva (who I was lucky enough to coach alongside at the under 18s carnival this year),” Barr said.
The coach who has the biggest impact on her football career has been the Giants current head coach Alan McConnell.
“He has simplified footy for me and I feel a lot more confident in the decisions that I make when playing,” Barr said.
“He generally doesn’t like to give too much a way, which is good most of the time because I don’t like to overthink the game.”
The player Barr models her game on is Sydney Swans men’s half back Jake Lloyd.
“He defends, but the best part of his game is linking up with the midfielders and forwards to create some attack from the backline which I like to do as well,” Barr said.
Barr loves to play for the Giants and to be part of the club.
“The Giants is a really family orientated club and they are really inclusive of everyone,” Barr said.
“People from all walks of life are welcomed to the club and that makes it feel really special.”
In her third season at the Giants, Barr is most looking forward to being in a professional sporting environment as she has two years experience.
“I’m looking forward to being more comfortable in a professional sporting environment,” Barr said.
“The first couple of years playing AFLW have been fairly big and new because I haven’t played elite sport before this, and so going in this season I feel much more relaxed and comfortable which means that I’ll be able to develop as a footballer much more easily without worrying about external pressures.”
Heading into the third AFLW season the Giants have a learnt a lot from their previous two seasons that have them in good stead moving forward.
Barr believes the Giants can win the competition this season, as they have been improving on the areas that have let them down in previous seasons.
“We have built a team full of trust and that is key to playing good football,” Barr said.
To get ready for a match, Barr listens to disco music her favourite pre-match pump up music.
Some other fun facts about Barr is her favourite movie is Dirty Dancing and something she cannot live without is peanut butter.
Image (Left) Source: Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images AsiaPac
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