Congratulations to GB’s Alison Downie, a Melbourne based Senior Case Manager, who has been picked up by Carlton in the first ever AFL Women’s Draft.
The first game of the competition kicked off on Friday February 3rd; with Alison’s team Carlton winning their inaugural game against Collingwood, 7.4.46 to 1.5.11.
Princes Park was at full capacity with 24,500 in attendance, with more than a thousand people turned away from the historic match.
Before the match we sat down with Alison to discuss her journey into the AFLW:
What has your journey been like to get to this point?
I did Vic Kick when I was younger but stopped as there really weren’t the opportunities for girls to continue to play.
I never thought that there would be an AFL women’s competition in my playing career.
I stopped and started playing basketball and basketball subsequently became my love. I have played in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) for the last 16 years and have played 326 games for the Dandenong Rangers. I only started playing football again in 2010. I did this for a bit of fun, the social side and just to be doing something a bit different to basketball.
What are the challenges, what have you enjoyed the most?
The challenge for me now is to learn a new game, the structures, skills and game plans. This is also the part I enjoy the most. I enjoy working on my game to make me a better player.
Has this been a lifelong dream?
This hasn’t really been a lifelong dream, as I said before, I never thought an AFL women’s league would happen in my playing career.
What does your training regime look like?
We complete three hour sessions, three days a week at the club. This is not all on the track; we have team meetings and review match/training vision. Out of that there are three weights sessions to get done and any extra running or skills sessions if needed.
What does playing in a woman’s AFL team involve and what are the opportunities?
The first season is only a short season – eight games in total and we will be playing in the men’s pre season period. The first game kicks off on Feb 3rd and the grand final is March 25th. There is no final series, with the top 2 teams at the end of the season playing off in the Grand Final. We should be a curtain raiser to some of the games which will be good exposure for our league.
We will be expected to do what is required of the men’s AFL players, but obviously the period of commitment is quite a bit shorter. There will be plenty of opportunities arising from this for a lot of the girls in media roles, sponsorship, ambassador roles etc.
All the AFL women’s games are free unless they are a curtain raiser to any NAB cup games.
If you would like more information regarding the AFLW competition visit http://www.afl.com.au/womens.