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Shannon takes the lead on and off the field

26-Jul-2019

Fitzroy-ACU’s journey woman, Shannon Alexander, has just passed the 50 VAFA game milestone and this week notches up 100 games of football – quite an achievement by any measure.

The face of our Pick My Project campaign and a member of the grand final reserves side in 2018, Shannon has this year joined the Fitzroy-ACU leadership group and its been a revelation, mostly to herself!

“Shannon has really embraced the leadership role,” says coach Simon Jackson.

“She’s positive, brings an upbeat energy and is always supportive of her teammates. It’s great to see her step up to that responsibility this year.”

Jacko says Shannon reads the play well from half back and has a strong kick.

We reckon Jacko would be pretty thrilled with Shannon’s faithful recall of his messages about the three phases of play – when they have the ball, when we have the ball and when the ball is in dispute. “That’s when I defend first, but I take the game on. Jacko has given me free reign to do that … to come off my player and turn defence into attack.”

It was a fateful few days at the University Games in Sydney in 2017 when Shannon made the choice to come to Fitzroy.

She had met some of the Roy Girls as part of the ACU squad and despite tearing her ACL in the bronze medal game, thought to herself “this club is a good fit for me. The girls are great and the uniform is great too! I thought ‘F… it, why not Fitzroy’.”

Shannon did her recovery and then started with Fitzroy-ACU last year. Shannon’s football career – “a complicated football journey” – started in her home town of Ballarat, where she played for Ballarat Youth Girls aged 17 and 18. She then had stints at Ballarat Swans and Lake Wendouree clubs. As a Youth Girl, Shannon was selected in the TAC Rebels squad and along the journey met the coach of the Geelong Women’s VFL side and was asked to come along and play at Geelong. “It was very scary playing at that level but I’m glad I challenged myself to do it. It was a very high standard and I learnt a lot.”

Before coming to Fitzroy, Shannon also played in VWLF with Golden Point and Redan.

Shannon, who is a graduate nurse at The Austin hospital in cardiology and thoracics, just loves footy. “It’s the greatest sport in the world. It’s just very enjoyable. You can have fun, but it has a huge competitive element – and I like to win and do well. I like the teamwork; working together to get the results.

“On field I’ve always been vocal and encouraging, it’s very natural to me. But now I’m in the leadership team I had to ask myself ‘how do I take that into the off-field role, to get the best out of others?’

“So, I challenged myself to be more involved off field. It’s taught me I can do it! My speeches have definitely become better. You don’t know until you try. And everyone has been so encouraging and supportive of me. Fitzroy has great people.”

In a tough season, it’s so refreshing to hear about the inner workings of the group and Shannon’s perspective of what’s next for a squad about to face relegation.

“Sometimes failing together allows you to bring one another back up.

“I think we’re a very resilient group. The more we stick together and play for each other, we will grow and improve. I see the promise. It’s very positive and encouraging and if we take the small wins it will happen. It’s just so close.

“Great things don’t happen overnight. It’s been a long season, but we’re a tough group and we will make it work.

“I’d really love a win this weekend!”

And we’d love it too Shannon. Congratulations on your milestones. Fitzroy does have great people and you are one of them. Go Roy Girls!

 


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