The GIANTS were proud to host 20 female students from Canberra’s Erindale College last week as part of the ActewAGL GIANT Opportunities Program.
The Year 11 and 12 students were visiting the WestConnex Centre for a special insight into life as an elite footballer, exploring the possibility of pursuing a career as a professional athlete.
The group arrived mid-morning at the club and went straight into a very special session, led by the GIANTS AFLW Football Manager, Libby Sadler, and one of the GIANTS AFL Women’s marquee players, Renee Forth.
Forth spoke passionately about her difficult first year as a GIANT, including injuring her knee just weeks after signing and having to watch the inaugural season from the sidelines.
“There are a lot of challenges in sport but a sporting club is also one of the greatest places to be when trying to overcome these challenges,” Forth told the group.
The visit comes after the students and around 200 of their classmates underwent a draft combine style testing in February, under the supervision of the GIANTS Academy Director, John Quinn.
The session at Erindale College was part of the ActewAGL GIANT Opportunities Program, which has seen Quinn and his team visit schools and conducting open sessions in Canberra and surrounding regions to unearth the next cohort of talented footballers. Having a background of playing AFL was not a prerequisite and athletes from other sports were encouraged to participate.
Having a background of playing AFL was not a prerequisite and athletes from other sports were encouraged to participate.
From the small group that travelled up to Sydney last week, more than half of the group classified themselves at netballers with only three playing football exclusively. The rest of the group play sports ranging from hockey, rugby league and soccer to athletics. However more than half of the girls put their hands up when asked if they wanted to pursue playing AFL.
The rest of the group play sports ranging from hockey to athletics, however more than half of the girls put their hands up when asked if they wanted to pursue playing AFL.
Whilst the Erindale students are not sure yet whether they could make the cut, they listened intently as Sadler and Forth described what the usual day is like for an AFL level footballer.
More than 800 students aged between 12-17 have been tested so far, with the most talented athletes to be invited to Sydney in early June for a more rigorous session to identify who will be invited to join the GIANTS Academy.
As the final part of the students visit, they were treated to a tour through the football department from Quinn, finishing in the brand new Women’s change room facilities built for the GIANTS AFLW side.
The bright orange lockers have each of the GIANTS AFLW players named printed on the front, with only two lockers still blank.
“Maybe your name will be on here one day,” Quinn told the group, tapping on the vacant locker.