BREAKING LOSING HABITS
Our coach, Daniel Harford, has said we needed to learn how to win.Â
The first time we played Adelaide this season was a real turning point for us. I thought we were playing really well. But then when we had the lead, we freaked out a little bit. We were like â€?oh man, weâ€™re not used to being in this situationâ€™.
In my experience of Sevens, it felt similar to the strong rivalry we had with New Zealand. There were a couple of seasons where New Zealand were dominant and, when you started to lose, it was almost like youâ€™d go â€?ok, this is what happensâ€™.
Itâ€™s not that youâ€™re accepting of it; itâ€™s more that youâ€™re almost just used to.
But in the lead-up to the Olympics we were the dominant team, and that gave us a completely different mindset going into the competition in Rio. Youâ€™d stand there, heading out into the tunnel, singing the anthem, and feeling much more composed and in control. In that sense, it felt as if we played a different style against them. I think throughout this AFLW season, we have learnt how to deal with setbacks, to be comfortable maintaining a lead, and have learnt to fight â€?til the final siren.
Obviously, Adelaide were a very dominant team in Conference A and showed in their prelim final against Geelong exactly why theyâ€™re in that position. But I think weâ€™ll enjoy coming in as the underdogs. We did have to learn to win, but I think not having that as an expectation definitely helped.
Thereâ€™s a lot of people who want to talk about the conference system. We didnâ€™t go out there last week against Fremantle with any intention of making a point, but I guess it was nice to have a really convincing win and to show people that we do deserve to be there this weekend.
When I look at that Tayla Harris photo I just see an incredible athlete kicking the footy, which she does so well. Sheâ€™s got a pretty amazing technique, and thatâ€™s the way itâ€™s always been.
As a team, we were really proud of how Tayla dealt with everything that happened. It was so powerful how she took a stand and turned it into something really positive.
It wasnâ€™t just the way Tayla handled it, but also the number of people - not just athletes but high-profile actors, media personalities, people from all different areas - that then got behind it on social media to make a stand against trolls. Iâ€™d really like to see that continue to happen and be a catalyst for changing attitudes.
I think itâ€™s already started. Obviously, stamping out trolls is such a difficult thing because thereâ€™s so many people that are going to have their say and make comments.
Personally, thatâ€™s not something Iâ€™ve really experienced too much. But Iâ€™ve noticed that it comes a little more with being involved in AFLW than in Rugby Sevens.Â
I think the critics are often comparing our standard with men who have had access to elite pathways in football since they were young kids, and we shouldnâ€™t forget, either, that this is their fulltime gig. There can be a fair bit of negativity at times, but I really hope that the Tayla kick will be a real turning point.
For me, playing overseas and representing your country is a massive honour, and I have to admit that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are in the back of my mind. Itâ€™s a real temptation.
Iâ€™ve made the decision that Iâ€™d focus just on AFLW until the end of this season before reassessing my options, but looking towards the Grand Final on Sunday, I think at this point it would be pretty hard to tear me away.