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Recipient of the 2020 best and fairest award, Rosie Dillon VN of Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital in Victoria, is a determined midfielder for St Kilda AFLW.
“When I was seven years old, my dad signed me up to the local Auskick competition. Initially, Mum was a bit unsure but I adored it straight away. Dad was our coach and when I turned 14, he started a youth girls’ team, followed by a women’s team, so I could keep playing.
“In 2016, the Victoria Women’s Football League (VWFL) started getting bigger and more serious, and I had a connection with the Box Hill Hawks. My sister’s boyfriend (now husband) was our coach and he introduced me to the coach of the Box Hill VWFL. They gave me a tryout and I played there for three years. Eventually, I got picked up in the 2019 draught for St Kilda.
“St Kilda is a great club. They put a lot of time and resources into the AFLW so that makes you feel you’re a part of something special. The AFLW had really taken off in recent years with the crowds being amazing. Getting drafted was a huge thing for me. I feel so lucky to be able to play with such a great group of women. There’s a deep camaraderie between us—we’re teammates through and through.
“AFLW is a tough game but I’ve never had a fear of injury. You just go and play hard. I’m actually battling an ankle injury at the moment but it’s nothing to worry about. As soon as you’re on the field, adrenaline takes over and you don’t feel a thing.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t make the finals this year but we’ve set our goals for next year. We’ve definitely got the talent to succeed; we just need to work hard and click together a bit more on field.
“There’s plenty of pathways to get into AFLW. Recruiters go out and watch local footy games and there’s the VWFL for the top age players. Many players, including myself, are club ambassadors. We visit a local club, go to their training sessions, make jumper presentations and give plenty of encouragement to the players.
“I love footy. I love my teammates and the professionalism they bring to the game. I want to embrace the sport and what it can offer. I’m also very competitive and play to win. I would love to get a few more wins under my belt. My plan is to stick with St Kilda for as long as possible. They’re a great club and a fantastic bunch of people. I’ve found my AFLW home.”