Tiarna’s flying high
Former Mossman woman triumphs in historic match
TIARNA Ernst fell in love with the game of Australian rules football in the Far North.
The Mossman State High School graduate was one of four female footballers from the region when the first AFL Women’s season started at the weekend.
Cairns’ Selina Goodman, Leah Kaslar and Breanna Koenen played for the Brisbane Lions while Ernst, a former Manunda player, featured in the ruck for the Western Bulldogs. Now 28 years old, Ernst had never played footy until seven years ago when she was at- tending university in Cairns.
“I saw a few girls kicking a footy in a park once and I asked if they needed any more players, they said yes,” Ernst said.
“They roped me in and I got hooked straight away.
“They could see I was tall and reasonably fit so they were keen to have me.
“It has been my preferred sport ever since.”
Ernst, who plays in the ruck, was quickly snapped up by the brown and gold of the Hawks, going on to represent Queensland that same year.
Born on Thursday Island, she was selected with pick No.108 in the inaugural women’s draft.
Her selection completed one of women’s footy’s great comeback stories after she lacerated a kidney in a 2015 Women’s AFL Exhibition match when playing for the Demons.
Ernst overcame the injury and went on to join the squad in i9n the hottest club in the land.
The Footscray-based club won the AFL and VFL premierships in 2016.
In the Historic launch of the women’s league on Saturday, the Bulldogs soundly beat Fremantle.
“The support staff around us have been elite,” Ernst said.
“Every bit of the experience has been elite, from recovery to nutrition and game tactics and preparation.
“It is a great time to be around this club, there is a lot of hype around.
“There is real momentum, we have had nothing but support from the Western Bulldogs AFL and VFL teams.”
The first year of competition will be played in February and March.
Away from footy, Ernst is an obstetrician at the Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne.
AFLW Round one – Western Bulldogs v Fremantle and the opening bounce with Tiarna Ernst in the ruck for the Bulldogs. The ‘Dogs won easily
Tiarna leads the pack during a Bulldogs training session