‘My heroes look just like me’ – Patrikios’ AFLW dream
By Tim Miller
ESSENDON has become the latest team to be swept up in the women’s football phenomenon, announcing it will bid for an AFLW licence from 2019.
Calder Cannons’ TAC Cup Girls star Georgia Patrikios is leading the charge, declaring she hoped to play for the red and black should they be admitted to AFLW.
The 15-year-old produced a superb season to help the Cannons secure a historic TAC Cup Girls premiership earlier this year, ending the season as one of nine Cannons selected in Vic Metro’s U18 squad for the Under-18 National Championships.
Should the Bombers’ push for an AFLW team succeed, she looks all but certain to be donnish the sash in coming years.
Patrikios joined Michaela Long, daughter of Bombers legend Michael, as the centrepiece of the Bombers’ submission video Two Players, One Dream, citing the success of the inaugural AFLW season as inspiration for her decision to put football ahead of a promising basketball career.
“Like a lot of young girls, I watched the AFL with my dad and dreamt of playing on the MCG, but with no clear pathway I turned by attention to basketball,” Patrikios told Bomber TV.
“But when the AFL established the AFLW it reignited my passion to play football and gave me something to aspire to.”
With Richmond, Geelong, North Melbourne and St Kilda also vying to join the AFLW competition, Essendon will have to fight hard to secure one of the coveted spots.
The Bombers’ proposal to expand further into the North West region of Melbourne includes committing to play one home game at the Cannons’ home ground – Rams Arena.
While her AFLW prospects have never been higher and the prospect of playing AFL Women’s on her TAC Cup home looms large, Patrikios is taking nothing for granted.
“I know how much hard work I need to do over the coming years to make sure I’m ready to play at the elite level,” she said.
“And when that opportunity arises I hope I’ll be donning the sash alongside Michaela.”
With AFLW set to grow in the years to come, young stars like Patrikios will have plenty of role models to look up to on their journey to the big time.
“Now I can dare to dream,” Patrikios said.
“The path is clear. And this time, my heroes look just like me.”