ISABELLA SHANNON IN CONVERSATION Casual chats with Peninsula people By Kate Sears

bella holding the footy.jpeg

First, congrats on being offered a place in the AFLW and signing with the St Kilda Football Club. 
Thank you. When I got the phone call I didn’t really believe it. It was kind of overwhelming. Signing with an AFLW team isn’t something that you expect to happen when you wake up on a school morning. It was a bit of a shock but I was obviously stoked and very excited.

You’re 17 years old now, so when did you first start playing football?
I have grown up in a football family and I remember Sundays spent watching my brother and the afternoons down at Balnarring Football Club. I really enjoyed watching him and I even became their water girl for some games. When Balnarring’s first girls’ team was established, heaps of my friends started playing. The season had started and I saw photos of them training and having heaps fun so I signed up and never looked back. I picked it up quickly with the help of my brother, who was pretty happy to have a keen kicking partner. I was 14 at this time. 

Did you always want to be a professional footballer?
Before I started playing I had never really thought about it, only because it wasn’t really available at that time. I’ve always loved playing sports and dreamt of being a professional sports player but when I was younger I thought that could only happen playing netball, which was my sport of choice. However, since the beginning of AFLW it has been something that I aimed for. I cannot believe the opportunities that girls like me are given in football now and am always reminding myself of how lucky I am to be involved in this great movement, making sure that I make the most of everything that comes my way.  I have been coached by knowledgeable and inspiring men and women who have no doubt led me to where I am. There’s a great football culture here and the opportunities that I have been given through this community have taught me so much about all aspects of the game. 

What does a day in your life look like? 
I’m completing Year 12 VCE studies at Padua as well as being College Captain, so I often have extracurricular school commitments and obviously lots of study. Afternoons usually involve some sort of training and among it all I find time to chill out and spend quality time with my family and friends.

How will your training develop now?
This opportunity is a blessing because it gives me a year to focus my training on being fit and getting ready for the 2020 season. I am able to use St Kilda’s great resources and facilities and be exposed to ALFW professionalism. While they are letting me focus on school and normal junior commitments such as playing with the Dandenong Stingrays, I will train with St Kilda’s VFLW team regularly so that I can progress with them throughout the season and train at the next level in preparation for 2020. 

What do the next five years look like for you?
Exciting! Finishing school at the end of the year and knowing that I am on an AFLW list is crazy. Hopefully I’m able to keep playing footy and go on to university, but I’m not sure what I’d like to study yet. I’d also love to travel at some point too.

Finally, what AFL team do you barrack for? 
I was Essendon, but now Saints of course. 

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