Bridie Kennedy loves to move. Growing up in Safety Beach, she was always bouncing or throwing a ball, running or riding high on a horse. The 2km jog to the beach from her family home she shares with her parents and three siblings is a breeze, and she’s never been shy of keeping her eye on the prize and working hard to attain it. Basketball was her first love, but all that changed at 16 when she was introduced to the nitty gritty one for all and all for one game of football and jumped right in bare legged and booted up.
She explains. “A friend took me along to a football match and that was it. I was representing the Mornington Breakers in basketball then, but I just sort of fell in love with footy straight away. I had to make a choice because the skill set is so different. I still find it a bit awkward kicking the ball, but I’m getting better.” She sure is. This long and lean swimming lesson teacher and Australian Catholic University student got drafted into the AFLW just two years after commencing playing. There must be something in the water at Safety Beach.
She continues. “I began playing youth league footy at Dromana Football Club when the girls’ league had just started. I played with the Dandenong Stingrays and then went on to VFL playing for Cranbourne. I was one of the taller players at 175cm at first, so they put me in the ruck, but they’ve all caught up with me. I’m on the backline now. I got picked up by Carlton at the end of last year. There was a 2km time trial and a beep test I underwent with 40 other girls from across Australia and I came first. I got to choose which state I wanted to play in and Carlton snapped me up. I was a Collingwood supporter!”
We both laugh at the irony.
Bridie’s rise to football fame happened fast. She finished her Padua College Year 12 exams last October, started pre-season training the following month and then played four out of the eight games in the women’s season. “I got thrown in the deep end, but it was so exciting. The team meetings, before the game meditations, ice baths, recovery sessions and being at Carlton three times a week training with the girls. I hope to finish my teaching degree and continue to play footy.”
Bring it on, Bridie. Sky’s the limit.