As one of the shining stars of the Jillaroos rugby league team, Allana Ferguson knows all there is to know about training as a team.
But now, after three heartbreaking knee reconstructions, and a fourth knee injury doctors have decided is inoperable, she is learning how hard it can be to stay motivated without your teammates around you.
“I just try to do something every day,” she says.
“I know this can be tricky, but I just try to eat well and then try to do something active, whether that’s going for a walk, running the sand dunes or going for a surf.
“But I’m shocking. I’ve always loved team sports, and that reflects in my training, I’m just hopeless at doing it myself. So I’ll always rope in a mate — I find it so much easier to do it with another person or in a group setting.”
The former league star will now turn her attention to television, appearing on The Sunday Footy Show on Channel Nine, as well as putting her expertise and game-reading ability to work as a sideline-eye for the Intrust Super Premiership.
It’s an impressive career made even more so by the fact that, when Allana first start playing rugby league when she was just five, there was no professional women’s game to aspire to, much less a way to forge a career out of the sport she loves.
“I’m very passionate about women’s sport,” she says.
“When I have kids, regardless of if they’re boys or girls, I want them to be able to live the life they want to and play whatever sports they want to.
“Footy has given me everything. And I now get to be a female voice in our game, and at such a crucial time when the women’s game is starting to grow. I feel really privileged to be a part of that.
“So, my advice? Set a goal and just do it. I started playing football at five with the boys, and it was never possible for me to play professionally. But it is now, so just keep doing what you do and proving to people what you’re capable of, and it will happen.”
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
ALLANA is pretty frank about her skills in the kitchen. “Yeah, not great,” she says.
What’s inside Allana Ferguson’s fridge?
And so she found herself often taking the easy option with pre-made meals that could be cooked quickly at home.
Lucky, then, her partner is a “sensational cook”, and Allana has become a whiz at picking up the ingredients for their healthy home-cooked meals.
“He doesn’t get home until after me, so he’ll send me the shopping list, and he’ll get home and do the cooking,” she says.
“We eat very healthy. I actually lost weight in the first six months we were together because I’d stopped taking the easy option when it came to my meals. And with only two of us, we still cook for four and then eat these amazing healthy meals for lunch the next day.
“I’m a fruit bat — I’m always eating fruit. But I’m a sucker for veggies and bread, too.”
KEEP IT POSITIVE
HAVING spent three long years on the sidelines nursing her busted knee back to health, it would have been easy for Allana to give up on her dream, to not so much walk as to hobble away from the game she loved.
But instead she says she used her time off to focus on what she still wanted to achieve; an Australian jersey and a spot in the national Jillaroos team.
“I’ve had three knee reconstructions, and they can’t fix the fourth one,” she says.
“They’re the worst and best things that ever happened to me. Because you learn a lot of lessons from them.
“You have 12 months off after your surgery, but you’re still on the sidelines, still in that team environment. The second one was the hardest mentally. But that was before I played for Australia, and I just got on with it to do that, so it really helped me figure out exactly what I needed to do.
“Injuries do suck, but mine actually helped me a bit.”
What’s your favourite healthy food? Bananas.
What’s your favourite unhealthy food? Hot chips, with chicken salt and barbecue sauce.
What’s your drink of choice? Lemonade — but that’s a bit daggy.
What’s your favourite motivation music? Has to be pump-up music, maybe some old-school 50 Cent.
*Original Source News.com.au