Collingwood's dual-code athlete Ash Brazill gives you an insight into how she balances both netball and football ahead of the AFLW season opener.
One week to go.
Seven sessions left. Four for netball and three for football.
I can’t believe how quickly the AFLW season has come around.
Four months ago, I was sitting on a beach as a netballer; hoping Collingwood would call out my name in the 2017 AFLW Draft.
Then pick 35 happened. And in that moment, I went from having nine teammates to 39.
Only knowing a few of the AFLW girls’ names – I was pretty nervous to join the team. But it wasn’t long before I felt like I belonged.
Initially, I thought the biggest challenge would be the timing around the different sessions between the two programs.
11 sessions a week with no cross overs.
But with the full support of both codes and the club, we've been able to manage my schedule, which has allowed me to be at every training session, 100% of the time.
Any kid (or adult) dreams of playing sport every day. I get to live out that dream every day with the Magpies. Now, that’s pretty cool.
Mondays and Wednesdays are the most hectic days for me at the moment.
Our netball sessions finish at 6pm on those days, and while the netball girls are warming down, I run and get changed into my footy gear and head out onto the oval to finish the warm up with the AFLW girls.
I am proud to say that I am yet to shoulder pass a football or tackle someone on the netball court. But hey, who knows what will happen out on game day.
For me, the best part about playing two sports under the one club is my teammates.
I have met so many amazing people along the way. I have a new sporting family – my AFLW family – and my netball family have been on this journey with me, supporting me every step of the way.
They have been at all of my AFLW practice matches, screaming out on the sidelines and have even welcomed the AFLW team into our training sessions – which has been great for both teams to get to know each other a little better.
For me, it was as if my two world’s were colliding – but in the best possible way.
At the AFLW season launch on Wednesday - when I was presented with my jumper up on stage alongside my AFLW teammates - I looked out into the crowd and saw a few of my netball teammates cheering me on. Those are the moments that make this journey so special for me.
However, the one thing that I’m still getting used to is the AFL lingo. Having been involved in the netball realm for so long, that's one thing that has definitely been an adjustment.
Sometimes, to help me fast track my understanding, we will do a warm up on the netball court or even get the netball whiteboard up and start drawing footy game plans on it.
I must admit, it actually makes a lot more sense to me.
The last few months have just been the best. I absolutely love being a part of the Collingwood family.
Our netball pre-season still has a while to go, but there’s not long now til our AFLW season gets underway.
In one week, hopefully I am running out on the field in the Black and White to take on Carlton at Ikon Park. One year ago, I couldn't have dreamed that this would even be a possibility.
GO PIES! #MADETOFLY