IT HAS drawn sellout crowds, captured the imagination of footy fans and created a new galaxy of stars.
Greater Western Sydney Giants captain Amanda Farrugia is loving being a role model for the women’s AFL.
“We’re really excited to be able to play the sport we love on a competitive stage and show Australia what we’re made of,” Farrugia told The Sunday Telegraph.
Before kicking off her AFL career in 2011, Farrugia played a range of sports, including basketball and touch footy.
“I was playing social sport but never found anything I really wanted to stick at until AFL caught my eye,” she said.
“My brother was a mad stats guy. He’d recite all the statistics of his favourite players at the dinner table, and I thought ‘this guy is crazy about this sport, what is it?’
“I did some research online, found the AFL women’s competition and haven’t looked back since.” Six years on, Farrugia credits the scope of the game with holding her attention where other sports failed.
“The wide range of physical challenges is a huge part of it, but it’s also the range of skills you can apply in an AFL game: you can kick, you can use your hands, there’s physical contact, high balls and low balls — it’s a 360-degree game,” she said.
“There’s also a position for everyone on an AFL field, irrespective of size and height. I’m pretty short so there are some challenges for me, but there are also benefits. It’s just about working to your strengths and using them to your advantage.”
A PE teacher by day, Farrugia knows all about encouraging kids to exercise their potential and enjoys being a role model.
“I’m lucky now to have an opportunity to show young boys and particularly young girls that you can pursue anything that you want to do. Don’t let people tell you shouldn’t play a contact sport or any other kind of sport because you’re a girl — girls are entitled to do whatever they want to do!”
She is stoked she gets the chance to stay fit and healthy doing something that she loves.
“I love the resistance training aspect, I love the running aspect, I love the contact aspect.”
DAY ON A PLATE
BETWEEN her day job as a teacher and AFL stardom, Farrugia doesn’t have much time to spare, but she is living proof that it is possible to eat healthy on the run.
“Greek yoghurt with muesli and fruit is a great option. You’re getting protein and carbohydrates and it tastes really good.”
“If you buy your lunch like I do, it doesn’t have to be fast food. I usually go to the cafe down the road and get a Turkish bread with meat and vegetables and toast that.”
“We get recess provided for us, usually some sliders for a nice bit of carbohydrate and salt, which you need when you’re exercising.”
“After training I’ll make something easy like an omelet with meat and vegies in it, or a lean piece of meat with some salad on the side. It only takes 5—10 minutes to cook but gives you everything you need to play and recover really well.”
Favourite healthy meal
A nice lean eye fillet steak with vegetables or salad on the side.
Favourite treat meal
Drink of choice
Watching inspirational sporting videos on YouTube.
Think about the reason why you started when you’re struggling for motivation to keep going.