Tash Gunawardana interviewed the Western Bulldogs AFLW team's No. 19 draft pick Daria Bannister ahead of this week's opening round of the AFLW season.
When did you make the switch from Netball to AFL and why did you make this change?
I transitioned from netball to football in 2017. I played both sports for a year but with both being played on the weekend it became too hard so I decided to focus purely on football in 2017. I made the choice to play football because I loved the freedom and physicality of the game. I am a competitive person and I love the game style of football, the one on one aspect and the full team game. I have made some life-long friendships with people all over the country since taking up football and it has given me so many opportunities so far, I think I definitely made the right choice.
Last year you finished year 12, so have you chosen to do further study yet or will you just focus on your football career for now?
I received an email a week or so ago to say I have been accepted to study Nutritional Science at Deakin University, but I have decided to defer my studies for 2 years so that I can focus on football and then hopefully do some travelling in the off-season.
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.
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.
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.
At half time in the NTFL match between the Tiwi Bombers and St Mary’s there was little to suggest the final outcome. Both teams were locked on 50 points apiece in an arm wrestle where Saints gained the upper hand in the first quarter before the Bombers bounced back with a strong second quarter.
But that was where the similarities ended. Fourteen goals to four after half time saw the Bombers capitalise on their strong work to finish the first half to blitz Saints and record a valuable 65 point win. The performance has seen the Bombers jump up to sixth on the ladder, just a game outside the top five with plenty of time to secure finals. They sit just half a game behind the shaky Saints and have a steadily improving percentage. With their next two matches being against teams below them on the ladder, the Bombers have a great chance of finishing the season strongly.
Saints, on the other hand, have to regroup quickly or risk the unthinkable – missing finals. They simply must win their next match against struggling Wanderers before playing the improving Waratah, Buffaloes and Nightcliff – a trio of matches that will define their season.