Hannah Coffey is a Redback for the RMIT Women’s Football Academy.
She plays in the forward pocket and has played for both the Reserve and Senior teams. Having been in Australia for only three months now, the native American travelled here with her husband Steve who was plays basketball semi-professionally also for RMIT. We chat to her about her experiences at the Academy so far and learning about Australian Football for the first time.
How did you get involved in the RMIT Women’s Football Academy?
I was looking for something casual to get fit and meet people, also to get a little community here in Australia and I asked Sarah McKenna (Secretary for the Academy), who is helping to run the Football Program, about clubs on campus and if you had to be a student to join and she invited me out to play some footy. I thought it was going to be very casual [laughs], but I found out later that it was a semi-professional team so they kind of lured me in.
Had you had any Australian Football knowledge before you started at the Academy either playing or watching it?
No, I had never even heard of it before! I had to google the rules right before going to the practice so I’d never seen it played or held a footy before.
How was that starting a new sport?
It was fantastic, I felt like all of the team were really supportive and very patient and it was fun to learn. I think you have a little bit more grace for yourself when you are a complete newbie with what you feel like you are supposed to know, so that made it a little bit easier.
How have you found the Academy itself in terms of its coaching staff, your teammates
and the community involved?
I feel like I’ve been super fortunate because all of the women in the team have been super supportive, very encouraging and understanding. The coaching staff go above and beyond every week to make sure that we are well equipped for all of the games, prepared and confident and I feel like everyone always asks “Are you having fun?” or “Do you
need anything?” It’s a great community.
Do you have a favourite moment so far in the first season? What has been the best part about playing?
I think my favourite moment was the first official game of the season and I wasn’t supposed to be playing, but I said I’ll come anyway and can be the water girl or something, just to help out and support. But when I showed up they said “We need you to play, we’re short a player”. So I turned up to serve water and ended up playing so there was a little moment of panic but it was probably my favourite moment and it turned out really well.
Finally, what would you say to anyone thinking about trying women’s footy?
I would tell them definitely try it. I think it’s a blast and even the other teams we have met have been super encouraging and positive about the experience overall!