Many of you would have seen MLC’s AFL ‘green girl’ in some of our advertising and communication, which was chosen due to the strong culture of football around the College – something we are all very proud of.
The student in the photo, Daisy Bateman, is ready to take the next step in her footballing journey, having recently been chosen for the Collingwood VFLW team.
Daisy, currently Year 12, has been playing football for MLC’s GSV team since Year 9 (the earliest year for GSV football).
“I’d grown up playing basketball, but I watched my brother play and I loved the game. I played with the boys at lunchtime in primary school and fell in love with it that way.” Still playing competitive basketball along with GSV football, she has also been playing for the Oakleigh Chargers in the TAC Cup and was then selected for Vic Metro.
Collingwood FC then came knocking on her door, interested in her for their VFLW team.
“The Collingwood coach came over to my house to interview me with my mum,” she says. “Once the TAC Cup season was done at the end of May, I then started training with them.”
Daisy (L) with Junior School footballers
It all started back in Year 8 with a chance opportunity to play in the Herald Sun Shield (the footy playoffs between Victoria’s two best school teams) as they needed an extra player; from there, joining the school footy team was a no-brainer.
“When I started in Year 9 there was one team,” Daisy says. “I met a lot of players in older year levels, and we were fortunate to get into the Herald Sun Shield final again and play at Etihad Stadium, where we won.
“This year and last year we’ve had three teams and there are so many people who try out. It shows how many girls who want to get involved, it’s amazing.” Having won the 2018 GSV grand final recently, the MLC team are currently training for another Herald Sun Shield final at the end of July.
Despite her many sporting commitments, she is still focused on her studies. “Year 12 is a priority because I want to go to university next year. I communicated with my footy and basketball coaches this year and told them, so I’m able to miss some training if I need it, like if I have a number of SACs in a week. They’re really supportive of that.”
Many of those same older students Daisy met when she was in Year 9 now play for the MLC-affiliated Old Scotch Stars. She has yet been able to play for them due to her commitments with Oakleigh and Collingwood, but she has gone to many of the games.
“The standard of the football is amazing, I wish I could be out there.”
On being selected by Collingwood: “I was very surprised!” The drafting system is different for women than the men’s: VFLW is the offseason for the AFLW, and is the period where those scouting for the AFLW will observe potential players. The draft for the AFLW is in October, “so fingers crossed!”
Training with an AFL club has been a different experience for Daisy. “It was way more intense, with lots of conditioning. But it showed me that I really wanted to do it; I loved it.”
Reflecting back on her time playing footy for MLC and her time at school soon coming to a close, she is aware of how those older girls once guided her when she started out. “When you join you realise it’s a very tight community,” she says. “Us Year 12s have to play a part in welcoming younger students into the team.”
Several Old Collegians, also playing for the Stars, have come back to coach the GSV sides. It’s something that Daisy likes the idea of, if training commitments and possibly university next year allow her the time.
“The school has done a lot for me, especially with sport, so I’d love to give back.”
One of the Junior footballers asking Daisy to sign her footy!