THERE are many dominant midfielders in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft, but Alyce Parker may be the best.
The athletic machine has been smashing various youth girls competition for the last three years, each time with All Australian honours. She is the one player the state of New South Wales (NSW) has been waiting for, a true warhorse that gets the clearances, crashes the packs, and makes the difference between winning and losing. Parker can do it all, including getting drafted to the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants in the morning, and sitting an agriculture exam the same afternoon. Although the day was pretty intense, Parker is used to multitasking.
“I guess it’s what you have to do, and in my circumstance coming from NSW and HSC (High School Certificate) going on this time, it’s unavoidable but definitely manageable,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting through it.”
Parker comes from a country town, where football thrives in her local community. She played in the boys competitions in her youth until a pathway for women opened up at Parker’s high school.
“Obviously, the country footy is really popular where I come from, and I guess that’s what brings a town together, ” she said. “I probably got into it through the boys, playing with the boys especially at my age, (with) the girls (there) wasn’t the opportunity, but yeah going into high school the girls footy just exploded, and that’s where my journey began.”
It wasn’t always about football for Parker, as she also competed in cricket, basketball, netball, tennis, cross country, and athletics as a junior. With seven different sports, Parker wasn’t sure which direction she was headed in, but ultimately chose football.
“It was probably about 12 months ago I wasn’t sure what to do,” she said. “I love my netball, my swimming, my tennis. I couldn’t actually choose a sport, and a lot of people kept saying that I needed to, and I wanted to enjoy everything as much as I could. “I guess the decision made itself when I entered back into the NSW pathway again, my third year the amazing people that came in like, Alicia Eva, and Nic (Nicola) Barr, they just drew me to the sport and they’re the reason why I wanted to do football.”
Alicia Eva coached the Eastern Allies this year, with Parker her prized player. Now Parker has become her teammate, and Eva’s response on the GWS GIANTS website was nothing short of positive.
“She covers the ground really well aerobically,” Eva said. “Her ability to break out of traffic, drive her legs through into space and then get the ball moving long is her hallmark trait at the moment. “She’s got really solid hands, so she can go forward and take a grab as well.”
The Giants will begin their 2019 season on February 3 at the Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex. If fit, Parker could be a certainty to face the Lions.