Warrandyte women line up with Sheagles
by Michael Di Petta
6th June 2017
WOMEN’s FOOTY is a big hit in Warrandyte and although the Bloods may not have a team in the Victoria Amateur Football Association (VAFA) Women’s Premier division, Warrandyte locals are making a big impact with four of our girls playing for the Marcellin Sheagles.
Nat and Zoe Macdonald, Lexie Hipwell and Taylor Padfield, all friends who have grown up together, made the decision to play women’s football this season and have reaped the rewards.
The Diary met with the girls, and Lexie told the Diary how the four of them ended up playing footy.
“My intent was never actually to play footy — I mean I wanted to, but Dad was a bit worried, and I didn’t want to do it by myself.
“But Nat got me into it,” she said.
Nat acted as somewhat of a ringleader for the group, and Marcellin can be thankful that she did.
In Lexie, the Sheagles gained athleticism, a strong presence in the ruck and long kicking ability.
Zoe’s strengths lie in the backline, with a good ability to mark and win the ball at ground level, while Nat acts as a speedster in the middle and excels at clearing packs.
“My friend Maggie was asking me to come down and play for the Marcellin Seniors, she said that it was a new team with some good quality and that in the first year we might struggle a bit so that I would play 80 minutes.
“But the team actually turned out alright and we’ve gone on from there,” Nat said.
The Sheagles first grabbed attention after competing in the in VAFA’s Lightning Cup back in April.
Despite going in with low expectations, the Sheagles managed to win their four games, before advancing to the Grand Final and taking the tournament.
“There’s 40 new teams that have come in this year, and this was a chance to expose the girls to matches because they didn’t want the girls to come out underdone for the season.
“We played St Mary’s in the final and we just got it done,” Zoe said.
Results in the Lightning Cup and performances in grading games have placed the side in VAFA’s Premier Division, and though the girls thought they might be out of their depth, the reality has been anything but.
“Our first Premier game was against Brunswick, and everyone thought we would get done by 60 points.
“It was a wet game, we went out and we weren’t too confident, but we kicked the first and went from there,” Nat said.
The Sheagles currently sit in 3rd position on the ladder, only percentage below the two teams above.
“We’ve actually been really good, we even won our game in round three by 60 points.
“I think we were all a bit worried because everyone was talking up Premier, but we’ve been playing well,” Lexie said.
Playing in Premier division has further advantages for the Warrandyte women, with scouts and coaches keeping a close eye on the games.
“There’s some great players in the Premier division and there were even scouts at the Lightning Cup, so its definitely a platform for the AFLW.
“Each game we are improving, not just working on skills but also on tactics, so we are only going to get better,” Zoe said.
Coach Tom Stafford and Assistant Coach Luke Boyd are certainly in luck with their Warrandyte contingent, who have without doubt played a major role in the Sheagles rapid rise.