Students at Serpentine Primary and Court Grammar are fortunate to call two of AFLW football stars their own.
Serpentine Primary teacher Ebony Dowson and Court Grammar teacher Gabby O’Sullivan spend their days teaching the youth of today English and sport, while their afternoons, evenings and weekends are spent travelling the country playing in the Fremantle Dockers against the best of the best in the AFLW competition.
For Gabby, her journey into the sport started with Auskick.
“I didn’t think about football past the age of 12 besides watching it and supporting it and didn’t play it again until I was in my 20s,” she said.
“I still had no intention to go and play football but my brother pushed me to sign with my local club at East Fremantle and he, being a passionate Fremantle supporter, thought I would be
in with a chance to play for the women’s team.”
From there Gabby was lucky enough to be selected in 2016 prior to the draft commencing.
For Ebony, her passage into the sport was a little more difficult.
“I originally came from Kalgoorlie and I never played AFL because the opportunities weren’t there,” she said.
“I moved to Perth six years ago and thought I would try a new sport and got myself into football at Peel.
“I found out I had been selected for Fremantle on the day of the draft.
“I was in the school staff room watching the draft on the computer and the siren went and there was two draft spots left, I was about to leave the office and that’s when I heard my name.
“I pretty much just got told and then I was straight back into work.”
Both women said they have immense support at their schools with the staff and students always asking them about training, the games and how the team is progressing.
Ebony runs a running club at Serpentine Primary two days a week, which helps with her fitness, and Gabby heads up the girls AFLW academy at Court Grammar with students from years five to 10.
Gabby said working with the students through the academy has helped her see a different side of the game.
“I always tell the girls to work hard and concentrate on the fundamentals because if they have a good work rate and they can do the basics right that will take them a fair way,” she said.
“Playing for the Dockers, I think I had a lot of respect from the students from the start.
“I didn’t have to work as hard to build some relationships and earn that respect from the kids.”