Current resident student Jessica Anderson is poised to make her debut for the Melbourne Demons as they tackle the Brisbane Lions this Sunday in the first round of the AFL Women’s (AFLW) season.
Drafted at number 105, Jess was initially shocked but excited to learn she would be playing for the Demons in the inaugural AFLW season.
‘I actually had no idea that the Demons were even interested, it was quite a shock… I definitely wasn’t expecting Melbourne, but that was probably one of the best surprises I could have got,’ she said.
Being the first season of the AFLW, Jess is not entirely sure what to expect, but after a strong pre-season with the Demons, she is looking forward to the challenge.
Although the Demons are considered one of the favourites to win the premiership, Jess is not underestimating the Lions and anticipates a tough match this Sunday.
‘People haven’t paid as much attention to the Lions because they aren’t in Victoria, but I think they will be quite a force.’
Last year, Jess spent most of the time playing full-forward with her club side Melbourne University, but expects to be playing in a variety of positions for the Demons.
‘I think my main role would probably be in the forward line, but with 16-a-side you basically have to be able to go anywhere. I’ve spoken to the coach (Mick Stinear) and he said that I could literally play anywhere on the ground and I think that’s the same for most girls, in that sense, you’ve got to be versatile.’
In addition to Jess, another 16 Melbourne University players were picked up in the draft, meaning Jess had plenty to cheer as the names of her club teammates were read out.
‘Every single time one of their names was called out I was jumping up and down in the café (where Jess and her cousin watched the draft) and everyone was looking at me. It was all just a surreal moment the fact that it was happening, that all these girls were actually getting the chance to play.’
‘The women who have been playing the sport so long are just filled with joy we’ve finally got to this point. I think come Sunday we’ve got quite the responsibility, but may as well just make the most of it.’
Jess also hopes she will be available to play for Trinity’s footy team who are looking to go back-to-back after defeating Ormond College in last year’s final.
‘The girls were fantastic last year. It’s funny because I started playing footy at school. It’s really good to see the girls who didn’t grow up playing sport, but have always had the passion for footy. When you put that together, it’s one of the most exciting things to watch. If I don’t play for Trinity I definitely want to run water.’
You can see Jess in action as her Melbourne Demons take on the Brisbane Lions at Casey Fields 5pm Sunday 5 February. For more details and to see all the round 1 fixtures check the AFL website.