Zillmere’s Anderson gearing up for nationals

Ally Anderson is preparing for her first women’s championships.

Zillmere’s Ally Anderson wasn’t in Brisbane to hear her name called out in the inaugural women’s draft.

Instead, the 19 year-old, who was overseas at the time, found out via Facebook that she would be a part of the June 29 MCG curtain-raiser, selected at #36.

“People were posting on my wall,” she said.

“I didn’t expect to be picked at all. It was a big surprise.”

Anderson first started playing footy while at Kedron High School, first for the school before joining the Zillmere Eagles in year 12.

It didn’t take her long to find her feet in footy, becoming the first indigenous player to be picked in the All-Australian Under-18 side at last year’s national championships.

While Anderson has been playing seniors for her club since 2011, next week’s nationals will be her first representative tournament against women, and she is looking forward to the challenge.

“It will be different playing with the women instead of under-18s but I’ll get a bit used to playing with some of them, ‘ she said.

Also, a lot of the girls playing were picked in the draft, so it will be good to play against them.”

“It’ll get me a bit used to playing with the women and I think the skills will be a lot better.

“Hopefully, it’ll prepare me a bit more for the [MCG] game.”

The only time Anderson has been to the MCG was a year 11 trip to Melbourne, where she watched a match, but said she would draw on her experience playing  at AAMI Stadium in last year’s under-18 titles in the match.

“Last year for under-18s got to play on AAMI Stadium and the MCG is a lot bigger than that,” she said.
‘I think walking out on to that will be exhilarating.”

The midfielder said her high school coach, Ross Clayfield, and under-18s coach Madi Crowley had been her biggest influences.

Anderson said she wasn’t always a major footy fan, but started watching more as her playing career became more serious.

“I only started really watching football in yr 12 when I started playing for club, but last year I was watching 3 or 4 games each week,” she said.

The Lions fan said Gary Ablett was the player she admired most.

“He can just read the play very well and he’s always there helping out his teammates and he’s got very good game sense,” she said.

Anderson said she hoped that the June 29 match would become a long-term fixture for women’s footy.

“It just opens the path for women to go and do that (play on a big stage),” she said.

“It’s really important for us to have a chance to showcase what we can do.”

The physiotherapy student said the game would also be a great way to grow the profile of women’s footy.

“Yeah I think for people who don’t even know about women’s footy, it’ll be really good.”

“When I tell people I paly footy, a lot are still like “what?”

“So I think that’s good to let other people see that too.”

The women’s national championships kick off on Tuesday June 18 in Cairns.

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