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Julia amongst Geelong’s ‘prime Cats’

Finals sure: AFLW gamers, together with former Kyabramite Julia Crockett-Grills, had a major improve in funds for the 2022-23 season. The Cats are on monitor to play finals within the expanded 18-team competitors. Picture: Sports activities media.

Julia Crockett-Grills resides the dream — not solely taking part in her favourite sport at an elite stage, however now being paid accordingly after the 94 per cent pay improve achieved by way of the one-year collective bargaining settlement with AFLW gamers earlier this 12 months.

Off the sector she is among the few Geelong gamers who can also be in a position to work in a full-time capability, discovering her dream job as a surveyor with a civil development group a 12 months and a half in the past — working for a soccer mad boss who supplies the flexibleness obligatory for her to take pleasure in the most effective of each worlds.

“My boss is superior, he’s a footy fanatic,” Crockett-Grills stated.

“I’ve had the posh of having the ability to study on the job for the final 12 months and a half. The job additionally permits me to coach three nights per week”

The rise in AFLW participant funds has been a major aid for Crockett-Grills, who’s now in a position to make plans for her future.

“I’ve simply began on the lookout for a home, which I would not have been in a position to do with out the brand new CBA,” she stated.

“I now have a luxurious of placing some financial savings apart and a bit extra freedom in life.

“Not too many ladies work full-time. I’ve discovered myself in a fortunate state of affairs,” she stated.

Huge league: Julia Crockett-Grills on the Geelong AFLW launch earlier this 12 months with dad and mom Claire and Steve, who’ve change into regulars at her video games after watching her as an 11-year-old taking part in for St Augustine’s in Kyabram.

The minimal AFLW wage rose from $20,239 to $39,184, with gamers of Crockett-Grills’ stature commanding salaries within the $47,372 to $55,559 vary.

“The one-year CBA deal ends this season. Towards the top of the season there can be a brand new one.

“Hopefully I’ve a couple of years left in me to reap these rewards,” she stated.

Crockett-Grills’ father, Kyabram newsagent Steve Grills (and spouse Claire), keep in mind discovering it tough to determine their daughter throughout her all-too-brief junior soccer days with St Augustine’s.

“All the children used to put on helmets, and when a pack shaped, it was onerous to make them out. Then a child would emerge with the ball and it was Julia,” he stated.

Crockett-Grills moved to Kyabram in 1999, as a three-year-old, and her three youthful sisters have all grown up within the city.

The whole household is recurrently within the stands for the Cats video games, with youthful sister Eliza taking part in soccer with Monash College after a netball profession with Lancaster.

One other sister, Kate, was a gymnast, however is now concentrating on nursing research at college, whereas the youngest of the 4, Rose, is in 12 months 11 and prefers the performing arts as her additional curricular exercise.

The previous St Augustine’s Faculty pupil, now Geelong AFLW star, has taken that very same perspective into her 35-game five-season profession and is taken into account one of many hardest tackling gamers within the competitors.

In a single match, in opposition to the Western Bulldogs final season, Crockett-Grills had a profession excessive 10 tackles and averages greater than 4 tackles a sport throughout her profession.

Success hasn’t come right away for the Cats, which got here into the competitors because the ninth staff in 2019.

They received three of seven within the first 12 months and solely two (of six video games) beneath the convention system in 2020. Final 12 months the Cats received simply certainly one of 9 video games.

Controversy surrounded the opening spherical win of 2022 when a harmful deal with free kick was paid downfield and, incorrectly because it seems, was awarded to George Prespakis.

She transformed the purpose, chargeable for each Geelong objectives, to present the Cats victory.

Crockett-Grills, who will flip 28 in late October, had 14 possessions and laid two tackles in a dour wrestle with Richmond, solely three objectives have been kicked because the Cats emerged four-point winners.

Towards Fremantle in spherical two she laid 5 tackles and kicked a purpose — the Dockers have been held to the bottom rating in AFLW historical past — one solitary level. Geelong received the sport 3.9 (27) to 0.1 (1).

Within the two video games since, in opposition to competitors energy homes Collingwood and North Melbourne, the Cats have suffered successive defeats.

Towards Collingwood they misplaced by simply 4 factors, whereas the Kangaroos sport produced a two-goal loss.

Crockett-Grills has performed 35 video games with the Cats, debuting in 2019 after being recruited from Hawthorn’s VFLW staff.

She was elevated to the management group final season and maintained that position into season seven of the 18-team AFLW competitors.

She performs alongside Echuca’s Annabel Johnson, Benalla star Rebecca Webster (final 12 months’s runner-up best-and-fairest) and final week’s first gamer Kalani Scoullar — who’s from Barham.

The Cats sit in fifth place on the 18-team ladder (all 18 golf equipment are actually represented within the AFLW), in all probability needing six wins from their 10 video games to make the finals.

“It is fairly thrilling, we have been a bit disillusioned with the Collingwood loss.

“We saved them to the rating we wished, however did not rating sufficient ourselves. We’ve continued on from final 12 months once we have been a really contested staff.

“That shaped the premise of what’s occurring now,” she stated.

Crockett-Grills has been amongst a core bunch of 10 gamers on the Cats who’ve performed all 5 seasons.

And she or he is worked up concerning the change of season, which (in 2023) will imply the ladies’s season runs throughout winter, as a substitute of summer time.

It would enable Crockett-Grills, who admits to not getting dwelling a lot throughout pre-season and footy season, to be again in Kyabram for Christmas and New 12 months.

She’s going to watching on keenly as shut good friend William Wild leads the Kyabram reserve grade staff into the Goulburn Valley league grand last on September 25.

Wild is captain of the Bombers reserves and was taking part in within the junior competitors similtaneously the AFLW star 16 years in the past.

Geelong will play solely two of the 4 new groups into the competitors this season, Essendon and Sydney.

They do not play Hawthorn or Port Adelaide.

“I believe we might be actually aggressive this 12 months. Everybody thinks that making the eight could be very achievable,” the previous Essendon supporter defined.

Crockett-Grills has already secured tickets to the AFL grand last, the place she and her teammates can be cheering on the membership’s male staff.

“Tom Stewart is my favorite. He is a good man and was actually good as our defensive coach for 2 years.

Geelong’s AFLW staff is coached by Dan Lowther, a former Cat who performed 34 video games for the membership between 1997-2001.

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