Bridget Deed - Hawk's Historic First
The Hawthorn Football Club, the Hawks, the Mustard Pots, whatever you call them one thing is undeniable – and that is they have had a long, proud history. The Hawks, with a history that dates back to 1902, have been home to many greats of the game and, during the 2010s, they rose to become a powerhouse of the AFL.
Now this long-standing and proud club is entering a new chapter in its 120-year history.
For the first time, the walls of Waverly will also become home to a Hawthorn Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) team – and at the forefront of their new side is a 19-year-old named Bridget Deed.
“Overall, just super excited and honoured,” Bridget said when asked about being the first Hawthorn AFLW signing.
“Definitely a shock at first. Wasn’t expecting them to want me so soon and thought I still had to improve for them to want me at all, so was a massive surprise.”
“Took a while to sink in, because I couldn’t believe I was a Hawk, and also the first one.”
As a young star of the Eastern Ranges and the NAB League Girls’ competition; Bridget Deed, much like Hawthorn, has been a great performer of the modern era.
“Eastern Ranges has been the best for me,” she said when asked about her time there. “I’ve been there for so long; it feels like a second home.”
“The people are always amazing, and I’ve grown as a person and a player throughout my time.”
Bridget grew up with a love for football and as a kid, she did AusKick with her brother – but it was a childhood friend that brought Bridget fully into the world of football.
“… My friend from primary school started playing footy with the boys about six months before me, so once she started it was six months of convincing my parents to let me go and play with her.”
From here, she began playing club-level footy at the age of 11, where she joined a boys’ under-10s team.
“Playing with the boys was awesome at Seville, totally different vibe to the girls, and growing up playing with them was so much fun.”
Eight years later and Bridget Deed’s footballing journey is still going strong.
As for how she has managed to remain motivated for nearly a decade of football; she says that her “main motivation is just the friends that I’ve made through it all”.
“I’ve met some of my closest mates at footy, so it’s always fun to go training knowing that they’ll be there. Also just wanting to get better, and always striving to be a better player has kept me motivated to keep playing.”
This high level of motivation helps explain how she has gone from strength to strength in recent years. In addition, the trailblazing Hawk has had some great support behind her along the way.
“Just thanks to my family and all the coaches and staff that have worked with me through the years, there’s way too many to name, but they’ve all impacted me in different ways.”
Beginning her football with the boys, Bridget’s first major footballing moment came with an under-16s premiership with her local club, Seville. However, her most recent performances have made this pale in comparison.
In 2021, Bridget was selected to co-captain the Eastern Ranges. She also gained a Victoria Metro under-19s selection and made her Victoria Football League Women’s (VFLW) debut for Hawthorn.
“Was an amazing experience running out with the Hawks’ girls,” she said when questioned on her VFLW debut.
“Especially alongside players such as Meg Hutchins, and being coached by Bec, and having supported Hawks my whole life. Was definitely a different game, but a great experience nonetheless.”
As well as her other commitments, Bridget was a standout from the 2021 NAB League season; finishing fifth in the NAB League’s Best and Fairest and finishing runner-up to the Eastern Ranges Best and Fairest.
After this amazing year – Bridget stepped things up a notch for the 2022 season which began with her being named as the Eastern Ranges captain.
“Feels awesome to be captain of Ranges, especially given how long I’ve been there, it’s amazing to lead the girls out.”
Averaging 32 disposals and 7 tackles during this year’s NAB League season; the other major achievement of the year came when she was named as Hawthorn’s inaugural AFLW signing.
This means that this 19-year-old has already etched herself into the 120-year-old history of the Hawthorn Football Club. Now that she has made it to the top tier of footy – Bridget has set out her goals for what she wants to do next.
“I hope to learn lots at AFLW level, and hopefully cement my spot in the team. Play consistent footy and become one of the best in the comp.”
If Bridget Deed enters her first AFLW season with the same determination that has seen her soar throughout her time in the NAB League – then we feel this young Hawk may soon have her name etched onto the walls at Waverly for multiple reasons.
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All of these images have been kindly supplied by Bridget Deed.