Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
Today's AFLW 4.0 feature is on Fremantle Dockers women's player Sabreena Duffy.
Dockers began their 2020 AFLW campaign off well with a 16-point victory over the Cats and then followed it up with a percentage boosting win of 45-points over crosstown rivals Eagles in the first ever AFLW Western RAC Derby.
Duffy was drafted to the club in 2018, with their second selection and no.17 pick overall.
"I was pretty overwhelmed and was working for a couple of years to hopefully put my hand up to get drafted, so then I guess when I was drafted it was a bit surreal," she said.
"I had my whole family around me and it was just a dream come true, I cried a bit when my name was read out and it was just a dream come true and I was just really excited to get started."
Image Source: Fremantle FC
At only 19 years old, Duffy has already taken the competition by storm with her ability to play consistently well with high quality forward pressure and goal sense each week.
"I guess playing footy since I was 13, I've been playing a bit longer I guess than a lot of the older girls in the AFLW," she said.
"I think that along with the girls I played with a really good forward line at the Dockers, as we all really get around each other and make each other play better I guess and the coaching."
Amy Lavelle is a forward line coach at Dockers and was a previous Dockers coach.
“I think she has been a really good help in the way I have adapted playing forward line, because I usually played midfield and half back when I played for the states (WA state team),” Duffy said.
"I think just having really good coaches around me and I think it goes down to playing for a really long time and I think it's almost natural instinct I guess."
In Duffy’s third AFLW season this year she leads the goal kicking in the competition at the end of the opening two rounds with five goals, as she kicked four goals in the opening round and followed it up with a goal last weekend in the Derby.
The culture at the Dockers is great.
“It's amazing I think the culture we have at the club is just fun, it's a very inclusive environment and everyone at the club and team is on the same page, which is really good, and we bond,” Duffy said.
“The vibe is we are building something really (special) and just excited to be there every week.”
Irishwomen Kate Flood and Aine Tighe have fitted into the club culture well.
“They have fitted in perfectly; they bring their own uniqueness to the table I guess,” Duffy said.
“We've learnt things as players that we probably didn't know from Gaelic.
“Floody's sidestep and they have just got a really terrific work rate.
“They are two really good characters that we have on the team.”
Duffy looks up to teammate, star midfielder and reigning club best and fairest Kiara Bowers.
“Having her at the club, she is the perfect role model for the girls coming up and I have always really looked up to her, so I guess just the way she holds herself and that's something to aspire to,” she said.
Duffy played in the AFLW Inaugural Western Derby and it was a dream come true, as she has been a Fremantle supporter her whole life.
“I’ve watched the derbies every year when they were at Domain and when they moved to Optus and was just watching that,” she said.
“And I never thought in a million years that I would be playing in a derby myself, so I guess that was a dream come true.
“And to hear the girls in the crowd yelling out your name was pretty surreal, so it was just an experience I will forever grateful for.”
Duffy played soccer when she was four years old till, she was 13 and then made the swap to footy.
Also, she played basketball at a domestic level.
Duffy has achieved a lot from getting drafted to the Dockers, playing her first game against Melbourne in the AFLW and playing in the under 18s WA state team and to be awarded the MVP of the tournament in WA and receiving a rising star nomination last year.
Her most challenging opponent has been Geelong’s Denby Taylor who she played against last year.
“I grew up and went through the state systems with her as she played for Victoria and I played for WA, so we're good mates," Duffy said.
We were in the national academy together, so I guess she has just seen how I played, and she didn't give me any space in that game and yeah, she was pretty smart with her defending.”
In her third AFLW season, Duffy would like to improve in her ability to get the ball higher up the on the ground and to use her good food skills to kick into the 50s.
During the preseason, she worked on her fitness and ability to push up the ground and then also to run back to defend.
Fremantle coach Trent Copeland coached Duffy for two years in the state team and became the Fremantle coach in the same year Duffy was drafted.
“He's just helped me to develop probably my mental mind more than anything, how to stay in the game and then block out outside noise and pressures,” she said.
“I think he has developed me as a person and I have grown a lot being under Trent, which any player can really ask for.
“It has been a real bonus having Trent by my side is really good.”
Duffy is looking forward to the rest of this season, as they are building something special at the Dockers.
“I think making the prelim finals last year and losing that game I think that gives us the drive and the hunger that we need, and I think we are really looking forward to going one up this year,” she said.
“And just focusing on each game as it comes and see how we go I guess, but ultimately every team wants to win the premiership, so I think that's probably the end goal.”
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