FROM camping and motorbike riding on her spare days, to working as an apprentice industrial electrician during the week, Gippsland Power’s Emily Haeusler has always enjoyed using her hands.
It comes without surprise that the Power defender has improved rapidly in season 2018, with intercept marking and rarely losing a one-on-one contest as the cornerstones of her game. Originally a midfielder, Haeusler was thrown into a role at half-back after round one and has been one of the most consistent defenders across the season, earning her a place in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year.
“I’ve mainly played through the midfield and this is only my third year, but I got put in the half-back and that was something quite new to me,” Haeusler said. “I had to ask where to stand when the ball goes up. “It’s been a really good year and I’ve developed so much, kicking on both feet and playing a new position it’s just great.”
Haeusler said she loved attacking the ball and had learnt when to approach a contest, and when to hang back. Her disposal by foot is the next step for her as a footballer to improve.
“I think that (my improvements) would mainly be my kicking,” she said. “I still kick them ones that are not high and they’re not direct, but there’s always room for improvement in that kind of thing.”
Her football journey almost could have been different had she not taken the opportunity to have a kick at her local school.
“So my brothers, they always played football and that was sort of everything I wanted to do, but it was always the boys’ sport and my dad said ‘Nah you can’t play because you’ll get hurt’,” Haeusler said. “So I started playing footy in Year 7 with the girls team and just loved it ever since. I came to Gippsland Power and just it’s just been my thing, I think I’ve found my groove.”
The friendships brought about by the sport, and particularly at the Gippsland Power, have been some of the best memories for Haeusler over the past couple of years, and many long road trips have been spent chatting on the way to games.
:For training I’ve only got to go 20 minutes, it’s really, really convenient and I’m very lucky in that way,” Haeusler said. “(For) games they’re mainly Melbourne-based because we’re a country team, but it still doesn’t affect me because I carpool with a lot of friends. “It doesn’t change my love for the game and wanting to be there.”
Haeusler is the first to admit she is probably in a different situation to many other top-age TAC Cup Girls footballers.
“There’s not many girls that are out of school,” she said. “We’ve got those few that are 19 year-olds and in uni. “But I’m a first year apprentice which is very different and it’s hard because I can get quite tired and sometimes I will work and still go to the footy. “The girls and the club have been very understanding of that though, so it’s good.”
The 17 year-old apprentice industrial electrician is following a passion of hers, that combines a number of aspects she loves.
“I’ve always wanted to do things with my hands but I still love physics and the maths based side of everything like that, so electrician was sort of the way to go,” she said. “It still engaged my brain a lot of the time, but it was a practical job.”
Outside of work and football, Haeusler loves family trips, and will pitch a tent or jump on a motorbike whenever she gets the chance.
“We’re a very outdoorsy family so I’ve just done whatever the brother did and followed in his footsteps, so lots of going up the bush with the family and any of that sort of stuff,” she said. “That is (the perfect weekend), and sometimes I incorporate them both (footy and outdoors activities). “Obviously footy’s my priority for the weekend, but if I get the Sunday off, I will go up the bush. “That’s our thing.”
Haeusler hopes her passion for the sport she loves rubs off on the way she plays, with the goal of improving even more as the year goes on.
“(I’m looking forward to) people knowing who I am and (thinking) she’s still only young and she’s come from sort of nowhere and she really has that passion and that drive to get better,” she said. “Hopefully (I can) play some VFL. “I did get a letter for Vic Country so I’m trying my very best to see how far I can go with that and see where it takes me.”
The amount of opportunities now available in the youth girls space has not been lost on Haeusler and has a message for anyone considering taking up the sport.
“It’s up and coming and exciting, there’s so many opportunities,” she said. “If they’re there, why not have a go and say yes to all them things? “There’s always room for improvement and development.”