• Jayden J Bartlett

Alysha Healy - the Girl from the NT

"I love footy and how it allows me escape and be myself. Out on the field, nothing else matters but winning the footy and putting in 110% for the team; team over everything. I would be nowhere without my sport and am eternally grateful for the opportunity to do what I love."

What’s the opposite of boring?

Well, the answer is rather simple; interesting and exciting.

And if you’re anything like us, you would prefer interesting and exciting over boring any day of the week.

And that is why it is hard to go past the Northern Territory product Alysha Healy.

“I started my footy journey at the end of 2016 where I played for Waratah Football Club in the NTFL league in Darwin in their Under 18’s team. The following season I captained the Under 18’s team which was an incredible experience and opportunity to have.”

Now captaining the side in only your second season of football is a sure sign you’re doing something right;

“We made finals but lost the prelim. I leant so much about leadership and working as a united team during that season and am grateful I had the opportunity.”

But not to be outdone, her accolades continued the following season;

“In 2018/19, I played in the Premier League Women team for Waratah where we won our 7th premiership and I made some friendships I’ll never forget.”

“Winning the flag with Waratah in the 2018/19 season was one of the best experiences of my life. The girls in that team were my family, and I absolutely loved every minute I spent on the field with them. We grew so much as individuals and a team throughout the season, and I think that’s what made the win even more rewarding.”

While more recently for the humble player;

“I’ve also been given the opportunity to play VFLW for the NT Thunder this season in which I debuted earlier this year. The standard of footy is amazing and to be exposed to that quality has shown me what it takes to make it in the big league.”

“I then moved down to Adelaide to study at university and found myself welcomed by Sturt Football Club at an SANFLW level.”

“Once the SANFLW season concluded, I decided to join my local club Payneham in the SAWFL Division 2 league to keep up my skills and fitness. Joining this club was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; it’s got such a good club community and the girls have now become my family. We just recently won the premiership after being undefeated all season which was the perfect way to end an incredible season.”

And considering her performances at club level; it isn’t a surprise that has she also represented her territory over the past three years;

“In 2017-19 I represented the NT in the Under 18’s Thunder team where I played 2 games each year against the SA team. I was lucky enough to be chosen in the combined Central Allies team in 2018 and 2019 where I travelled to the Gold Coast on both occasions to represent our states.”

“I have met some incredible people and learnt so much about footy throughout my underage state journey.”

And as a proud Northern Territory product; representing the NT was such a cherished moment for Alysha;

“Running out onto the field wearing the black and ochre always gave me a sense of pride and honour for who I am and where I come from and made me want to put in 100% for my teammates."

“Having the many opportunities to represent my territory through playing for Central Allies and debuting for NT Thunder in VFLW would definitely be a part of my footy highlights as well.”

But what is it like playing football in the weird and wonderful place that is the Northern Territory?

“Playing footy in the NT was hot to say the least. Playing a game of footy at midday with the sun out and 30°+ is not very ideal, but I guess it became my normal.”

“Footy in the NT is unique in the sense that everyone knows everyone, so regardless of what team you were versing there would always be some healthy banter. The competition was good as well, with every team coming together to train and play hard to come away with the win.”

So, moving from the Northern Territory to South Australia to study would be a big change to say the least.

Luckily, Alysha’s love of football made the transition a little smoother;

“I just love the friendships you make through footy and the constant challenge to be better. Moving down to Adelaide not knowing many people was daunting for me, but the girls at both Sturt and Payneham made this transition so much easier for me.”

And this isn’t all that she loves about the game either;

“You learn so much about yourself and your attitudes through meeting others, which is why I love this sport so much. I have met some of my closest friends through footy and am so grateful for footy to bring people together. I also love the challenge footy brings, and the competitiveness to be better.”

“I love to be challenged, either physically or mentally, to be the best that I can be, and footy gives me the ability to challenge myself and be challenged by my opposition and teammates.”

And considering she likes to be challenged; that might help explain why she is also studying a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science as well as a Bachelor of Nutrition and Food Sciences at university.

So, she is putting the hard yards to not only carve a career on the footy field but also off it as well.

However, it was almost a completely different story for Alysha; as she originally began her sporting career with netball;

“I represented the NT on multiple occasions in the 15U and 17U age groups and was my main sport for over 5 years.”

But thankfully for us; she began to get interested in football;

“I just started playing with my friends to start with, and then I began to see how much easier the pathway was to get into the big league compared to netball and that’s what drove me to want to be a better footballer.”

And just as we are thankful that she made the switch to football (or else female football would’ve lost a very promising player), Alysha is also extremely thankful for those who have helped her along her amazing journey.

And these go to;

“My mum and dad have been my biggest support crew and have sacrificed so much for me to be the athlete that I am today. The early mornings, the training camps, and the state tournaments; no matter what it was they were always there to support me through it all.”

“Shannon Millar, my old netball and footy coach, has also had an incredible impact on my career. Her tough love and desire to win has taught me to be the best sportswoman I can be. She has become my second mum, and I definitely wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without her in my life.”

“Also, I just want to thank the Waratah footy club for giving me that head start in my footy career. Without the support and guidance from the coaches and players there, I would not be standing where I am today, so I will forever be grateful for that.”

So, a girl from the Northern Territory who originally began with netball before making the switch to football. She then captained her side in only her second year and played a premiership in her third season.

All of this before making the trip to South Australia for university and in the same year, she played in both the SANFLW and the VFLW.

We really weren’t kidding when we said she was exciting.

But the best part is; she is only just getting started.



Images - AFL Photos

#SANFLW #Sturt #WatchTheWomen #NT

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