Interview: GB EMPLOYEE COMPETES IN FIRST EVER AFL WOMEN’S COMPETITION

GB’s Alison Downie, a Melbourne based Senior Case Manager for Gallagher Bassett (GB), was picked up by Carlton in the first ever AFL Women’s Draft last year. 

We had another chat with Alison to discuss her latest season.

What has the season been like so far?

The season ended up being quite disappointing from a team performance point, we had a team that should have performed a lot better than we did. It was a challenging season. 

What are your highlights/best moments playing AFL?

The highlight will always be playing in the inaugural AFLW match against Collinwood in front of a sell out crowd at Ikon Park.

It will be very hard to top that experience unless we are in a winning grand final in front of the same crowd. But even then, the feeling of anticipation for that first bounce I don’t think I'll ever experience that energy again. 

What role do women have in the sport? Is it changing?

Women have always had a role in the sport, however that role has changed significantly. It has always been a ‘mans’ sport and the respect for women and their knowledge of the game was challenged early days.

These days it is rare not to have women involved on match day in commentary, hostings of functions and staff in and around the clubs. It's really good to see at AFL and VFL. 

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

This season the biggest challenge for me was remaining positive through a really trying season, it is really difficult to walk off the ground each week knowing the team is talented enough to win but we couldn’t get the results. With our season being 7 games, we don’t have the luxury of time to have a lull and build confidence back up.

What inspires you to continue playing / do you have any role models?

I love the challenge of competitive sport, to continue to get better at what I do, my team mates keep me inspired to keep playing and become better for the team. They make me accountable. I would be no good in individual sport. 

Has playing AFL impacted how you approach your job here?

I've had to have a few days off for travel so the multiple short weeks have impacted on my workflow but my managers a GB have been really supportive and have always assisted when needed.

If you would like more information regarding the AFLW competition visit http://www.afl.com.au/womens.

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Alison Downie - Photos courtesy of Carlton FC.

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