Bella Lewis - the Promising West Coast Prospect
'To just keep working as hard as you can and still enjoy it. If you love it, it won’t feel like hard work and all the ups and downs that you experience during the journey all becomes worth it.'
There are few moments that can beat hearing your name called out on Draft Day. For most, it is a dream come true, the beginning of a new chapter. The nervous build up is seamlessly overridden by pure ecstasy of knowing that you have made it into the top tier of football—all by simply hearing your name get called out.
Luckily for Bella Lewis, the latest addition to the West Coast Eagles, she did not have to wait long to hear her name get called out during the 2020 NAB AFLW Draft. This is because, despite having a tough 2020 season, Bella was selected with the West Coast Eagles’ first pick and the third overall.
‘I had a couple injuries early on in the year so I only played three WAFLW games, so I definitely did not think I would go that high at all.’
This was a long time in the making for young Bella, having first strapped on the footy boots at just eleven years of age where she played with the boys at the Subiaco Junior Football Club. She remained at Subiaco for around three years until she became too old to play alongside the boys and upon doing so, she moved to the Claremont Women’s Football Club.
It was during her time with Claremont that her footy career really began to take shape because not long after she first donned the blue and yellow she got her first opportunity to represent the Sandgropers—something she would continue to do during the years that followed.
In total, she would go onto don the gold and black on four occasions, beginning with the Western Australian U15s in 2017, then the U16s in 2018, and the U18s in 2019 and 2020.
But as well as state duties, Bella was still having an ‘Amazing’ time with her home club Claremont, and it looks as if they have left an everlasting impression on the young prospect.
‘… They are a second family to me and helped me develop so much not just as a player but also a person off the field.
‘All of the coaches that I had through my time there are so team focused and family oriented and made me love the game even more.
‘I will definitely stick around there and do anything I can to help them through preseason especially some of the younger talent coming through.’
Considering that Bella originally came from a gymnastics background or more specifically a trampolining background, it is impressive just how big of an impact she has made in Western Australian football.
Because, not only has she represented the Sandgropers on several occasions, but she was also crowned as the Best and Fairest of her Rogers Cup U18s side in 2018 and 2019.
2019 also saw Bella play in a Reserves Premiership with Claremont where she also earned Best on ground honours, and with a resume like this, it is unsurprising that she also earned a spot in the 2020 AFLW National Academy and was invited to this year’s AFLW Draft Combine.
As mentioned earlier, Bella Lewis began her sporting career in gymnastics, but when she compared this too football, she found that she ‘Just loved the team aspect of footy and the culture around it compared to a solo sport’.
This not only explains what motivated her too begin her footballing journey, but also why she certainly does not take her teammates for granted, in fact the team aspect of football is one of her favourite parts of the entire game.
‘I definitely think being in an environment where everyone around you has the same goal of bettering themselves and working in a team to get there together.
‘Being able to call something that I have always loved to play as a hobby an actual job is something super surreal as well.’
After all of this; switching from gymnastics to football, playing alongside both the boys and girls, finding a considerable amount of success, and even getting the opportunity to represent her state—her footballing journey now sees her take her talent to the highest tier possible.
But ‘To be honest, I knew I always wanted to play AFLW, but I never really knew whether or not I was headed there until this year’.
‘It took a lot of hard work for me to get to the standard of AFLW which I am proud of myself for achieving.
‘But in terms of the emotion, I was more excited than nervous. I know that the AFLW environment fits really well with me and my attitude so I could not wait time get there.’
But now that it has happened, and like most of this year’s newest recruits, the getting drafted and hearing her name called out has been her favourite football moment thus far.
‘… Although it is not a specific mark or goal it is just something that I worked hard towards for so long so definitely a highlight for me.’
Since the draft wrapped up almost two months ago, Bella has already had a chance to meet her new teammates and fit into her new club.
‘They are amazing I already feel like part of the family. They see each other outside of footy which I think helps so much with the bond.
‘A few of them are making sure that my transition is smooth and making me feel really comfortable.’
So, what is next for this promising West Coast prospect?
‘Definitely to see my game develop, I think being in such an elite environment, my skills and IQ will develop so to become the best I can is what I am looking forward to.’
Hopefully we get to see Bella Lewis take to the field for a Round One debut but either way, her past and future goals tell us that she has the potential to become a very exciting footballer—even more so than she already is.
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None of these photographs are owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and have been personally shot.