Canadian flavour on the field
When Jess Bravo moved to Melbourne – she had no idea how much her life was about to change.
A native of Caledonia, Ontario, Jessica “temporarily” moved to Australia in 2015 to pursue her chiropractic career, but soon fell in love with her new home, and the sport of Australian football.
With such a broad sporting background of softball, figure skating, horseback riding, field hockey and golf, Jess’s experience was always going to translate to her new adopted sport.
But it was her time in Canadian football that stoked her passion for contact sports.
“I think my love for women's football back in Canada, as well as team sport in general has definitely translated to finding a sport similar, in terms of aggression and agility," she said.
“I would absolutely say that some of the skills translate. I began playing football as a wide receiver, because I knew I had the hand-eye coordination and the sprinting skills from softball, but I was missing the contact aspect, as essentially my job was to run up the field and make the catch/play.
“I am so excited to have found a sport where every player is responsible for every skill. I love be able to switch from offensive to defensive playing. In my opinion that is a true sport.”
The McMaster University Kinesiology graduate completed her Doctor of Chiropractic in Toronto at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College has since opened up her own chiropractic clinic in Melbourne – The Wellness Clinic.
Her knowledge of how the human body moves – as well as her team – no doubt helped her through her first season with the St Kilda Sharks.
“The support and friendships that you develop are so strong, and the encouragement to better yourself is next to none. It is something that I missed, having studied for eight years full-time and taken time off of sport for the majority of that time,” Jess said.
“Outside of the team atmosphere I would have to say that the skill level and the training that we receive is fabulous. They really take the time to explain drills and we work really hard to make sure that we are training safely but effectively.
"It is a game of skill and strategy but also endurance.
“It challenges the mind and the body, forcing you to push to lengths that you wouldn't think you had in you, and that complements my competitive nature and mindset, which I love.”
Player sponsor Peter Lausch said Jess had come a long way since starting with the Sharks in January.
“Her teammates and I have noticed big improvements as the season went on and we expect big things from her in 2019,” Peter said.
"I put Jess in touch with a few fellow Canadians to help with learning the game from people from a similar background and it seems to have help Jess learn the game quicker.
“We are hoping that the St Kilda Sharks will become a destination club for Canadian women coming to Melbourne and wanting to learn the game.”