AFLW players train after 14-hour shifts and take time off to travel to games
With AFLW players still considered part-time athletes and having to keep their day jobs to earn a living wage, some of the lengths players have to travel to get to practice and match days are really puzzling and deeply impressive.
Code Sports reported that the Collingwood Magpies utility Erica Hunter had to save him after a night shift this week, to train and prepare for the club’s big clash with the Fremantle Dockers.
After Western Australia borders forced a late game change, the match between Collingwood and Fremantle was rescheduled for Thursday night. This meant players suddenly had to change their own plans to get to a rescheduled practice. For Erica, that meant going straight into training after a 14-hour night shift as an Ambulance Victoria paramedic.
— Erica Fowler (@EricaFowler92) December 22, 2021
“After a 2pm night shift on Monday morning, leaving for a main session is probably not ideal preparation, but you just have to roll with the punches and be open with the club and try to work the safest training plan for you before a game on Thursday,” Erica told Code Sport.
Erica left her night shift around 7 a.m. Monday morning, she apparently tried to sleep, but couldn’t settle down enough to get a full rest. Instead, she ended up staying awake for about 24 hours in total, heading into the last big practice session before Thursday night’s big game.
“Once you work out, you feel good, you just try to stay awake,” she said.
“It’s a bit difficult to explain how you feel. You’re a little excited but at the same time you’re so tired. You’re just trying to lay low for a while.
Erica isn’t the only one who has to juggle top-flight football with a day job, which is pretty much an integral part of AFLW play. Although the league is in its sixth – and arguably very successful – season, it is still considered only a semi-professional sport.
Sharing her own story, Erica tweeted that she knows other league players who have to take annual leave from their own job to play.
It’s not the ideal preparation you want, however, I’m not the only one with players using their annual leave to play for the next 11 days.
Not to mention the huge sacrifice the West Coast and Fremantle players and staff have made by moving to Melbourne. https://t.co/pjqV2ozOVI
— Erica Fowler (@EricaFowler92) January 26, 2022
“I’m not the only one with this, players using their annual leave to play for the next 11 days,” she wrote.
Erica also told Code Sport that it’s not just the players trying to keep the league going on part-time salaries, it’s also a lot of people behind the scenes.
“It’s not just impacting the players now, it’s impacting the whole competition in terms of the support staff, that they’re also not full-time at the club,” he said. she stated.
Alright, it’s time. Let’s take this league to a fully professional level of elite sport so AFLW players don’t destroy themselves just trying to put on the boots every week, yeah?
Image: Getty Images/Mike Owen