At 27 years of age, Georgia Clayden knew the clock was ticking to make it into the AFLW.
“Certainly I was thinking about the timing, and I worked hard on my game because time was running out,” Georgia told Region.
Last month Georgia’s perseverance was rewarded when she was picked up, before the AFLW draft, by the Gold Coast Suns as one of three mature-aged players.
And Georgia is clearly someone capable of adapting quickly to new situations and doing many things at the highest of levels.
After graduating from the University of Canberra, Georgia forged a career as a physiotherapist, but her full-time profession has been put on hold as she seeks to make the most of this opportunity.
She has only been playing AFL for three years – prior to that, she played netball and represented Australia in junior volleyball.
As a netballer, she played with the Canberra Darters and the Canberra Giants but Georgia admits, “I never quite went where I wanted to go in netball and then football came along.”
But it was the transition from netball to football that posed the greatest uncertainty, but she backed herself. “When I came over from netball, I was concerned about the physicality,” she says.
She need not have worried. Under the tutelage of legendary Ainslie coach Britt Tully, Georgia’s attributes in netball and volleyball were successfully applied to football.
“Britt and the Ainslie Football Club are such a huge part of my journey,” says Georgia, “I’m so thankful to them.”
Britt Tully’s influence cannot be overstated with Georgia and 18-year-old Tess Cattle, who was drafted at pick 86 by GWS, the latest to make the step from club football to the big time.