AMANDA FAR­RU­GIA

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RISE OF WOMEN’S SPORT -

IF I wanted to play con­tact sport when I was grow­ing up, the only place I could do it was the back­yard.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s I knew I couldn’t take it any­where other than that. A lot of male ath­letes are groomed to be pro­fes­sional ath­letes from the age of 13 or 14. They’re head­hunted, tar­geted, they go to high schools that push them in the right di­rec­tion to give them that elite pos­si­bil­ity. Not me. My sports ca­reer has been es­sen­tially back­wards.

I’ve worked, stud­ied, found a ca­reer and I’ve been able to fit some footy in at the end of that.

You need to be or­gan­ised to jug­gle a sports ca­reer and work. You need to have peo­ple in your sup­port net­work that are go­ing to be un­der­stand­ing

Girls play­ing footy, what more could you ask for ?

of the com­mit­ments you have. I’m at work by 7.30 in the morn­ing and some­times won’t get home from train­ing un­til 9.30 at night. It’s a very in­tense time but the fact it’s a short sea­son means I can get through it. If it was a whole year, I don’t know if I’d have the stamina. But I’m glad I have a chance to be part of it for a short time. Over the last five or eight years, un­less you’ve been un­der a rock, you would have no­ticed the ex­plo­sion in women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in sport. It’s great to see our pas­sion and love for the sport ac­knowl­edged and nur­tured and put in a pub­lic arena through a pro­fes­sional or­gan­i­sa­tion. There are de­trac­tors, but if peo­ple don’t want to watch it, or don’t like it, or think it’s not as skilled as the men’s game, that’s OK. We’ll just keep go­ing about our busi­ness. We’ll keep work­ing hard and build­ing our skill level. We don’t lis­ten to back­ground noise.

But the im­pact of AFLW is un­de­ni­able. The best thing for me is see­ing lit­tle girls run around and play footy just for the love of it.

If they want to fol­low a pro­fes­sional path­way in to AFLW one day, good luck to them.

But if they don’t, they’re just run­ning around with their friends, kick­ing a footy, hav­ing a good time — what more could you ask for?

STAR FILE

Cap­tain GWS Giants AFLW 2017-19

Run­ner-up AFLW Best Cap­tain 2018 Mostyn Medal win­ner 2015, 2017 Giants Com­mu­nity and Mem­bers’ Award 2017

Women’s All Star match 2016

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