Tash Gunawardana spoke with GWS Giants recruit Courtney Gum ahead of this Saturday's AFLW Round 1 clash against Melbourne at Casey Fields.
How did it feel at 36 years of age to be drafted by the GWS Giants in the 2017 AFLW Draft?
Mixed emotions. I was really excited to be drafted and to get the opportunity to train and play at this level. There was also part of me that thought maybe it was a bit silly taking on this commitment at my age with a young family, business and a very busy life in South Australia.
Who have been the player or players at the GWS Giants that you have learnt from in your short time so far at the club?
All of them! Everyone brings their own unique story and experiences. Some have amazing technical knowledge like Alicia Eva and Jess Dal Pos. Amanda Farrugia is the most amazing leader. Then there are the young ones that show the most incredible commitment.
Tash Gunawardana interviewed Carlton young gun Bridie Kennedy ahead of the Blues and Pies opening clash of the second AFLW season this Friday the 2nd of February. Good luck to Kennedy on her first season with the Navy Blues.
When did you start playing Australian Rules?
I started playing when I was 15. My best friend convinced me to start playing.
Image Left Source: vfl.com.au
Did you play any other sports growing up?
I feel like I played every sport growing up. Basketball, netball, cricket, gymnastics and even did some horse riding. I found my fit when I started playing football.
Robert Louis Stevenson didn’t ever write about St Mary’s, though one of his most famous books – The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde - fairly aptly describes the Green Machine this season. Supporters would be bouncing from delirium to despair as the Saints have gone from has-beens to supermen multiple times across the season. Three losses to start the season before two wins, a loss then three wins, three losses and now three wins.
So far, every time they fall to bits they bounce back. Every time they get on a roll, they crash. With three rounds remaining, fans must be wondering which Saints team will play out the final three rounds. However, maybe this is why they have won 32 flags since 1952 – they simply don’t understand when they are done. Nevertheless, after downing Buffaloes on the weekend, and nabbing third place on the ladder, Saints need to understand quickly to secure a finals double chance and another chance at glory.
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.