Alana Browne - a Remarkable Career
"I love that footy was an outlet for me, an opportunity to play the sport I always loved watching and learning about but didn’t think I’d ever get the chance to play. That and the mateship. You find some absolute great people in footy that end up lifelong friends."
Alana Browne has had a remarkable career stretching back to 2008; she has experienced the growth of women’s football firsthand while carving her own success.
She has had a very intriguing and remarkable career;
In the 2018 SANFLW, a goal by Browne spurred on a comeback by Norwood which saw them fall just five points short of the premiership.
In 2019, Browne was back playing in the SANFLW Grand Final; however, this time it was with South Adelaide and she added a SANFLW premiership medallion to her outstanding list of accolades.
However, to fully understand how much Browne has achieved and experienced; it is essential to go back to the very beginning of her football career;
“I started playing football in 2008 for the Eagles, we were originally WWT Eagles and then Edwardstown Eagles. This was when there were only four women’s teams in the South Australian Women’s Football League.”
“The Eagles team then joined forces with West Adelaide and we became affiliated with the SANFL club Westies. In 2014 I moved to Ingle Farm Football Club, I played there for two seasons.”
“In 2016, the urge to play and train closer to home was the deciding factor in joining new club Christies Beach. I have been there ever since.”
Browne is a proud part of the Christies Beach Football Club and with that in mind; she is generous enough to share an insight into the Saints;
“It’s a great club that is very inclusive of the women’s and girls’ programs. They are always looking for ways to improve and to attract new players to the program. Culture is an area the club is always striving to lift, and the women’s and girls’ team lead the way in these areas and enjoy participating in events for the community.”
“It’s great that Katrine Hildyard is a huge supporter of what we are trying to establish and that the club as a whole is viewed as a positive place for young kids and teens to come play their footy.”
But not only is she a very experienced and proud player; she is also a very accomplished player. In fact, this humble product is a seven-time premiership player;
“One SANFW Premiership, one Premiership with Christies Beach. One South Australian Championship. One Premiership with West Adelaide and three with the Eagles.”
And that is just the beginning; as the highly dedicated player has achieved several individual honours;
“I am a multiple Best and Fairest winner at club level.”
“I have also won the Mulvihill Medal as the league best and fairest in 2016 and in 2017, I was awarded the Carmel Laube Medal which is the leagues players player.”
However, as a staple of her modest nature; Alana seems to be more willing to speak about all the wonderful and talented players she has met throughout her career than her own individual success.
“Catherine Mulvihill has got to be one of the humblest players I’ve ever met and who I also got the opportunity to play alongside. She never had a bad word to say about anyone and I really respected that and the fact that she just went about her business no fuss and she was always team first.”
“Michele Reid. Reidy is a three-time Dutschke Medal winner and will always be a part of South Australian Women’s Football history. She is as loyal as they come, an absolute character on and off the field with the ability to shake a tackle and break the lines, she was well ahead of everyone else at the time.”
“She also took out Norwood’s Best and Fairest in their premiership year when she was convinced to come out of retirement to play in the first year of SANFLW.”
One of the most intriguing aspects of Browne’s career is that she has played during the massive growth and expansion of women’s football in South Australia.
Going from a league with only four teams; to playing in the second highest tier of football in the nation; Alana has seen an incredible amount;
“The speed, and athleticism of players has changed the most, this is probably due to better pathways and girls starting younger and being able to play all the way through.”
“It’s great to see young players being able to achieve their goals. It is also unfortunate for some of the great past players of women’s footy in SA who never got the opportunity that’s on offer now in regard to AFLW.”
“The increase in women and girls playing football is a testament to all those who fought for the women to play in SA back in 1990 and hopefully that isn’t forgotten moving forward.”
“The game plans in another huge thing that’s changed in the last 10-plus years and that’s definitely for the better.”
And with this experience in mind; any advice given by Alana is valuable advice;
“I think this applies for any elite sport or local sport for that matter that you wish to play; my parents always said to us kids growing up weather that have been in my tennis career, Gaelic Football or Footy; stay humble, be kind, and enjoy what you do. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities and the upbringing I had that gave me the tools and belief to be successful in multiple sports.”
“As for upcoming female footballers; Keep pushing boundaries and keep working hard. If you get told no, don’t take that as a no forever and to never give up on something you find happiness and joy in. There’s always an opening you just have to work hard to find it.”
All of this valuable experience has provided a possible opportunity for Browne going forwards. With countless accolades to her name and years of playing; she would make a good coach if she decided to go down that path;
“I’ve always been outside the box and I think differently to a lot of people. I’m quite lucky in the fact that I’m good at retaining information, game plans and statistics.”
“I’m no stranger to coaching ranks as I am a qualified Tennis Australia coach who before turning my attention to play footy ran my own coaching business and also ran diversity programs for Tennis SA and was part of a panel to identify and select young talent for Tennis Australia to invest in. With my prior coaching experience, I’m hoping to transfer my skills across to football when the time comes.”
“So, when and if I do move into coaching, I’d hope my unique take on what I see and how I interpret information, opposition plans and set plays would set me in good stead to play a role in any coaching capacity.”
And as she looks towards possible helping out other players in the future; she would like to thank some of those who have helped her throughout her amazing career;
“My brother for never giving me an easy option or anything for free in any sport we played growing up. Also, my parents for providing an upbringing which allowed me not only to be successful with tennis but in turn provided opportunities not many kids get, but also accepted the new sports I wished to pursue when I retired from tennis.”
“My coach for the past 4 years Michelle O’Brien for making me push my limitations and work on set areas of my game to be not just a more rounded player but a person I can be proud of outside sport.”
Browne has achieved more than what most could have dreamt off; especially during the time when there were no opportunities of playing at SANFLW or AFLW level.
All this hard work meant she remained very grounded and humble despite the seven premierships and countless individual awards; in fact, she places her teammates and club above her own personal achievements.
This coupled with the fact that she may pursue a career in coaching and pass down all of this valuable experience; makes Alana Browne an extraordinary person and a perfect example of the amazing people that are a part of the female football community.
"There’s still so much room for growth in female footy so if you have a dream then chase it. You are in charge of your own destiny in whatever level of footy you wish to reach."