OAKLEIGH Chargers forward, Daisy Bateman grasped her opportunity to play in Collingwood’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side with both hands.
The 18 year-old booted three goals in the Magpies’ round four clash and got to taste her dream of playing AFLW alongside the likes of Jaimee Lambert, Brittany Bonnici and Holly Whitford. Bateman thrived on the opportunity to create expectations for herself, rather than feel pressure to perform.
“It’s pretty good going into a VFL team where there’s not much expectation of you,” she said. “You come in as an 18 year-old, you’re young, you’ve kind of been thrown into the VFL team, and you kind of just have to make an expectation of yourself rather than living up to pressure or anything like that. I didn’t really feel much pressure going into the game.”
While she admits playing at an elite level was challenging, it is something she has become accustomed to. Bateman has played in the School Sport Victoria Championships, is a multiple Vic Metro representative, and is a key player for the Oakleigh Chargers.
“A lot of the girls that play club footy find that transition quite hard but not playing and not having an initial thought on the game, I guess I was just kind of like ‘oh this is what footy is’ so it was alright but it was definitely challenging,” Bateman said.
On top of her football commitments, the 2018 Vic Metro representative also juggles playing basketball. Bateman has been playing basketball since she was five years old, and the sport fanatic isn’t ready to give it up. She says basketball has helped her to develop her skills as a footballer. But in terms of fundamental football skills, she has the Oakleigh Chargers to thank.
“My fundamentals haven’t always been the best,” Bateman admits. “Probably my best asset is my marking probably because I play basketball, but fundamentals in terms of kicking and handballing has definitely come from Oakleigh.”
In terms of sport in general, Bateman sees it as a stress reliever. Like many TAC Cup Girls players, the 18 year-old has to somehow fit in studying for Year 12 amongst her sport commitments. Although she loves her sports, Year 12 is Bateman’s main priority.
“I’m definitely hoping to go to uni next year,” she said. “That’s the priority for me at this point in time. I’ve just got a sport on every night which is a bit tough but I’m doing alright in year 12 which is good.”
After kicking 14 goals from seven games for the Chargers, Bateman has been selected to play for Vic Metro in the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships. She admits that playing against the best footballers in the country will be a challenge, but she will draw on her own teammates for inspiration.
“I’ve got the best of the best in Vic Metro,” she said. “The forward line, the midfield and the back line all have amazing players in there that have had heaps of experience like Maddy Prespakis. I’ll be looking towards them as leaders to help me but it will be a challenge.”