FROM DRAFT DREAM TO REALITY
Tiarne Swersky - October 18, 2017
High-flying Magpies netballer Ashleigh Brazill will become one of Australian sport’s most high profile cross-code athletes after joining Collingwood’s AFLW team via pick No. 35 in the 2017 NAB AFL Women’s Draft.
After a career-best season in her first year with Magpies Netball, Brazill will become the first athlete to play for two teams, across two codes, under the one sporting organisation.
The 27-year-old arrived at the Holden Centre to join Magpies Netball in 2016, after five years with Western Australian netball franchise, the West Coast Fever.
Following a tough run of injuries, Brazill sought a fresh start at Collingwood, moving across the country to join the inaugural squad in the new and improved national netball league.
After placing second in the club’s best and fairest, before making Australia’s Fast5 netball squad, a revived Brazill launched herself into the 2017 off-season, before opting to chase another of her sporting ambitions.
But Brazill says she remains committed to Magpies Netball ahead of a busy, yet exciting, 2018 season.
“My whole life, I’ve always been told to choose one sport – netball or footy,” Brazill said.
“For me to be in this awesome position now where I can play two sports, for one club, I’m forever grateful to the Pies for giving me this unbelievable opportunity.
“I’m definitely still a netballer and I love netball. I am excited to pursue football, but you’ll definitely still be seeing me on the netball court.”
A talented footballer during her time in Western Australia, Brazill says her move to the Holden Centre has ‘changed her life’.
“This year, I rediscovered my love of the competition and elite sport. I love training, playing and absolutely love the camaraderie with teammates.
“I’ve been waiting anxiously to see which team would pick me up, but I had my fingers crossed that it would be Collingwood, so I’m so excited to get out on the field and kick the footy.
“This is a dream come true and I’m so grateful that the club has supported me from day one.”
A busy 2018 awaits her, but Brazill says she’s looking forward to the challenge.
“My next 12 months will be crazy. It will be a big learning curve for everyone. But as an athlete, I’ll be challenging my body in a way that I never have before, which is very exciting.”
After giving Brazill her blessing to pursue women’s football, General Manager of Magpies Netball Jennifer McIntyre said the club would continue to support the star athlete over the next 12 months.
“Ash is coming off one of the best seasons in her netball career. Her attitude and professionalism in her approach to her first season at Collingwood has been second to none.”
“In our duty of care as a sporting organisation, we must prepare our athletes for life after their chosen sport. If she sees herself in football following her netball career, than we are happy to support her in her endeavours.
“It’s an amazing time to be at the Holden Centre. We have six teams under one roof and it’s exciting that we’re able to afford Ash this opportunity to play for two codes, under the one umbrella of the Collingwood Football Club.”
Before joining Collingwood’s AFLW program, Brazill will fulfil her netball commitments in the upcoming Fast5 Netball World Series, before commencing preseason training for both teams.