Flinders Sport Health and Physical Activity student Sarah Allan has made history as part of the inaugural Women’s premiership winning Adelaide Crows AFL Women’s squad.
And Flinders had five reasons to celebrate in total, with Bachelor of Nursing graduate Deni Varnhagen, Bachelor of Social Work graduate Courtney Cramey, Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics graduate Georgia Bevan, and Bachelor of Health Sciences graduate Dayna Cox also in the winning Crows squad.
Sarah, who was one of the first draftees to the Crows’ AFL Women’s squad, said it was a dream come true after playing other sports for years while harbouring the hope of playing top level football.
“It’s beyond my wildest dreams to be among the first group of female Crows players to win the first AFL Women’s premership,” she says. “I’ve been playing football since I was five years old and stuck at it while playing other sports like basketball and net ball.
“It was always a dream to play AFL at this level, and it’s amazing now that this has happened, especially when I’m at the perfect age to be starting my career.”
She said because it’s still necessary for most female athletes to work at least part time while competing, she hoped studying Sport, Health and Physical Activity at Flinders would lead to a paid position in the sports industry.
“Everything has fallen into place perfectly,” says Ms Allan. “Being a student means that for now I have the flexibility to invest more time in training while looking also looking forward to a career in an area that I’m really passionate about.
“We’re not at the stage yet where I’ll be able to only play football, so I really want to get a job that I will really enjoy while I’m still playing.”
But her studies aren’t just about getting a job, because she also plans to use some of the skills she’s gaining at Flinders to also sparkle off the pitch for the Crows.
“Making presentations and standing up to speak in front of people is a big part of Sport, health and Physical Activity studies, and I’m hoping that experience will help me be a good representative and advocate of women’s football when dealing with media,” she says.
The daughter of SANFL player Keith Allan, who played for Central District, Ms Allen wears the number 39 as a tribute to her dad, who she says first taught her to kick a football.
Touchingly, she said it’s a gesture that has more to do with Mr Allan’s qualities as a father than it has to do with his skills as a footballer.
“My dad was the first person who taught me how to kick a ball, which is really special, but I’m really wearing his number to thank him for all those times he got up early to drive me from Millicent to Adelaide,” she says.
“He was a good footballer, but he’s a great dad.”