Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
Tash Gunawardana previews the 2020 AFLW season, including interviews with AFLW players. Today’s feature is on 2019 AFLW leading goalkicker from the Adelaide Crows Stevie-Lee Thompson.
Image Source: Matt Turner/AFL Media/Getty Images AsiaPac
Thompson is of New Zealand descent.
She used to play in defence, but thanks to an experimental move by coach Matthew (Doc) Clarke to the forward line.
“It’s just learning how to actually juggle from going from backline to the forward line and having like really great mentors like Erin Phillips who said you can do this,” Thompson said.
“Even like Peter Caven, he was my backline coach and he said you know you got this.
“The support helped me a lot by just mellowing me out, as a lot of girls in this industry overthink a lot, so yes they just brought me back down to earth.
“And even Andrew 'Bungee' McLeod said I have been in your position and played all these roles, you’ve just got to breathe in, take it in and just do what you got to do and I was lucky enough to be able to put into that position and I thank Doc for allowing me to do that as well.”
Thompson was drafted at pick 106 by Adelaide in the 2016 AFL Women’s draft.
She was sitting at work with her aunty who was her boss at the time, going through the picks.
Thompson thought she was not going to get picked, but then finally she was selected.
“I was just gobsmacked, didn’t really know what to say my aunty screaming in the background, rung my mum because my family live in Brisbane, and I was crying my eyes out because they were delayed,” Thompson said.
“I was flooding them with messages and realised that this was actually happening.
“To this day, I can’t believe I am actually in the AFLW experiencing what girls who wanted play AFL their whole entire life and I get to do it now.”
Thompson sports background is in touch football and rugby and she needed to pick rugby league or AFL and lucky enough for her the wet season in Darwin is AFL season and dry season is rugby season.
“All of my friends were playing rugby league and I wanted to play, and I thought it’s fine I give rugby up and play AFL and I got picked up which was pretty lucky,” she said.
Thompson says Erin Phillips is amazing and the amount of achievements she’s already gone through and done for herself.
“Having her at the club and building what we’ve got now makes a massive difference to many and hearing a lot of feedback from a few girls who have already left the club to different clubs they’ve advised me that having Erin Phillips makes a massive difference in the team," she said.
Image Source: Michael Wilson/AFL Media/Getty Images AsiaPac
The Irish girls including Ailish Considine have fitted well into the team culture.
“She is awesome I love her,” Thompson said.
“I suppose with what we have built at the club, we are very welcoming, and you don’t really need to fit in, you just need to be yourself and that’s with any club you go to.
“A lot of people want to try and put themselves and be out there more, but you just got to be yourself there’s no point being someone else.”
The jokesters at the Crows in Thompson’s opinion are Chelsea Randall who has good Dad jokes and Eloise Jones who is pretty good and out there as well.
Thompson’s favourite pump up music includes Ain’t It Fun by Paramore and I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston.
“These songs are on a (club) playlist, and when they come on that’s when I’m like yes we’re on here,” she said.
Thompson loves the challenge AFLW brings to her.
“Everyone holds themselves highly and you want to challenge yourself more, but just being around the girls,” she said.
“This would have to be one of the best environments that I have been in.
“A lot of the senior girls like myself, we know what to do and what not to do.
“We have got that bond that pretty much no one can break, it’s awesome.”
For Thompson her toughest AFLW opponent has been Meg Hutchins, as she got her in the forward line last year as a defender.
But other than that, the hardest player she has played against would be teammate Chelsea in a scratch match.
Thompson cannot wait for season AFLW 4.0 to start.
“The off season is a massive wait and preseason now is obviously tough and the hardest part but getting to play each team and seeing how it all pans out.”
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