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Love of footy takes Gabby to AFL Women’s League
16 February 2017
Notre Dame Education student Gabby O’Sullivan has every reason to feel on top of the world after making her debut for the Fremantle Dockers in the AFL Women’s League (AFLW).
After spending three years attending college and playing basketball in the USA, Gabby headed back to Perth in 2016 to rediscover her passion for football and try her luck in the inaugural AFLW season.
Spotted by Dockers’ coach Michelle Cowan after impressing with the East Fremantle Sharks, Gabby was recruited as a rookie player for the 2017 AFLW season. She played her first game against the Western Bulldogs in Melbourne on Saturday 4 February in front of more than 10,000 spectators, and kicked the first goal against the Brisbane Lions the following week back home in Fremantle.
“I feel extremely privileged to be putting on the Fremantle jumper. Whilst I’m just one of the rookies, to be able to play at such a high level is great and I feel humbled to represent Western Australia in this national competition,” Gabby said.
“Every time I go down to the Fremantle Football Club for training it feels like Christmas and my birthday all at once. When I took to Whitten Oval to play the Bulldogs and to hear the crowd cheer me on was a ‘goose bump’ moment – I thought I was dreaming.”
Drawn to football at a very early age, Gabby left the sport she loved at age 12 due to the lack of semi-professional and professional pathways available for women. Nevertheless, with support from her brother and father, both former players, and the desire to compete at the highest level, Gabby was able to make seamlessly the transition from basketball to AFL and inspire other women along the way.
“Before our first training session, I probably didn’t realise how much of an impact the AFLW competition would have on young female footy fans. When I saw young girls with their mum and dad at the grounds supporting their team, I knew that we were playing a role in inspiring other women to play footy,” Gabby said.
Gabby is currently completing a Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus and is a member of Notre Dame’s Elite Athlete Friendly University program.
Gabby says that by having access to additional support through the program, she is able to fulfil her career aspiration of becoming a physical education teacher and contribute fully to the Fremantle Dockers.
“All the staff have been extremely helpful in scheduling study times and updating me on classroom progress. The small, community feel that the Notre Dame Campus brings its students was one of my reasons for studying at the University,” Gabby said.
The Elite Athlete Friendly University program allows Notre Dame to assist elite athletes to achieve their sport and life goals through a combination of learning, work and sports performance. Please visit nd.edu.au/eafu for more information.
Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093; firstname.lastname@example.org