• Jayden J Bartlett

Demi Sharp - Country Pride

Demi Sharp is as proud and dedicated as country footballers come.

In 2021, Demi has made the Great Southern Football League Women’s (GSFLW) Team of the Week a total of eight times out of the eleven editions so far this season. A promising feat considering that her efforts during 2020 saw her earn a spot in our MWM GSFLW Team of the Year.

This season, which arguably has been her best so far, also marks her fourth season of playing football, all of which has been spent donning the colours of the Mt Compass Football Club.

While Mt Compass has been one of the pacesetters on the field during the 2021 season, Demi’s time off the field with the Bulldogs, or “Bad Girls” as she calls them, has been just as enjoyable and is one of the reasons behind Demi’s love of the game.

“It’s the community feel, having such massive support from the fans who love the sport as much as the players. I love how much women’s footy has grown over the years.”

“As annoying as it is not being able to get a park at the footy anymore it is also very humbling to know how many people are getting around us.

“It’s the teamwork and mateship out on the field of getting around your mates and lifting each other up. It’s the celebrations after working really hard and getting the goal and knowing it wasn’t just one individual it was everyone out there that played a part in that result.

“The joy I get from seeing my Bad Girls succeed on the field is indescribable! It overwhelms me with happiness when I see the relief and excitement on the Bad Girls faces when we did something well as a team. “I love celebrating wins with like-minded individuals and sharing that positivity. It’s a very enjoyable experience playing women’s footy.”

Prior to strapping on the footy boots, Demi’s sporting life consisted primarily of netball and karate. This was mainly because she “never thought women’s footy would become what it is today”.

“So, I never pursued it growing up as netball was the sport girls and women did.”

This all changed when her friend, Tasja, asked her to come and play for Mt Compass during the early days of the GSFLW’s establishment.

“It never crossed my mind until Tasja asked, and I was shocked to be honest because I never thought I’d be asked to play footy. Originally I was hesitant, but I thought this could be my only opportunity to give it a go.”

“Tasja is definitely the one that got me into footy. Without her, I would not be here.”

From here, Demi witnessed not only the Mt Compass women’s side begin to grow but also her own induvial football journey.

“I bought cheap footy shoes the next day because I had the intentions of only playing for one season to help with numbers. That since changed.”

I carpooled with her and another girl from work to training where I met Liv, Strawbes, Amz, and coaches Robbo and Smily.”

My memory doesn’t go back very far but it started out small but by the time the season started we have a full team.”

Not only did Demi pick up the game rather quickly but, in true country football fashion, she also earned three nicknames within a short span of time.

“The first training, coach wanted nicknames. So as we were practising collecting the ball off the ground, handballing to him and running around behind him and then back … he asked us to yell out what we wanted to be called as we ran behind him.”

I yelled out Sharpie, as at this point my dad was my biggest supporter and that was his nickname at footy growing up. Dad hasn’t missed a game from day dot.”

Sharpie was later joined by the nickname ‘Ghost’ because “my first ever game after a night shift I stood on the oval and physically couldn’t react quick enough to the game to be of any assistance to the team”.

'The Mighty Bulldogs' - image kindly supplied by Demi.

As well Ghost and Sharpie, Demi also earned the nickname ‘Hamburger’ after a unique but also understandable debut game.

“Well, it was a morning game and I’m not a morning person. I slept through my alarms and woke up when I should have been at the game getting ready. The game was at Victor, so it was just under an hour away from Strath.”

“I called my dad who was coming to the game and asked him to swing by Maccas and get me a McChicken burger, extra mayo, as I didn’t have time for breakfast.

I got to Victor and went to the Encounter Bay Oval. I couldn’t find my team anywhere. I called my coach and he said he was on the hillside of the oval, I asked, ‘what bloody hill?’ and he then said you’re at the wrong oval mate.

“I could not for the life of me find the oval, so I got escorted in I met dad at the gate where I pulled up next to him and grabbed my burger and kept driving to go park.

I got out, and by this time it was halfway through the first quarter. I ran onto the oval eating my burger where I just saw a chick near the ball, and I took my first tackle.

I had no idea what direction we were going or what position I was in. I just thought, see the ball, get the ball and figure the rest out later.”

Since this debut game, Demi has not only learnt where the Victor Harbor Oval is but has also developed into one of the competition’s best rovers. Likewise, Mt Compass has, after many close calls, developed into one of the league’s best sides.

“There is so much talent this season! The OGs are continuing to step up and make personal progress every season.”

“A lot of new talent has come, and the news girls have fit in so well and are a great addition to the Bad Girls. Their skill and knowledge have been incredible for our progression moving forwards as a team.

“I really noticed in particular how well we are learning to use voice and use back door handballs.

“We are starting to trust each other more and it’s allowing us to really open up the game and make it a Bulldog game. We’ve really found our groove this season and that’s why I really believe this is our year to take home the trophy.”

The Bulldogs have adopted an attractive brand of football, which certainly suits Demi’s tendency to win the hard ball.

“What makes the Mt Compass girls stand out from everyone else in the league is our pressure. As a team we can make the best players of the opposition crumble.

”We can take away their confidence which allows us to manipulate the game to work for us and make it a bulldog game.”

“When we Bad Girls say ‘let’s play Bulldog ball’ that’s what we mean. It means pressure on and play our game.”

While Demi has been impressing on the field, best shown through her many appearances in our Team of the Week’s this season, she has also been working hard off the field in trying to balance sport with her busy work schedule.

“As of recent, I’ve worked out how to balance my priorities. Shift work certainly isn’t easy, but I remind myself to stay positive because a healthy mindset will flow into feeling healthy living.”

“The hardest part of the shift work is probably during night shift where I have to wake up halfway through my sleep to get to a footy game then go back to after. It is hard but I wouldn’t miss a game.”

Credit has to go to Demi for staying strong despite this tough balancing act and, as well as her own dedication, the support she has had is also deserving of credit.

“The girls, and coaches, are very understanding of my shift work as it affects my ability to make training.”

I’ve battled mental health throughout the seasons, and they’ve always supported and reminded me why it’s important to keep showing up, even if they didn’t realise that’s what they were doing.

"They’re a fantastic group of girls and I would never replace this team.

“Season Four is my year to give back to the ‘Bad Girls’ for their support over the years.”

What is the next chapter for this proud and passionate Mt Compass product?

“Win a premiership with my Bad Girls.”

“The Bad Girls have worked very hard in the lead up to this season and I think it’s our year, our season to come out on top and give back to our coaches for leading the Bad Girls from day one and believing in a great group of girls.

“We want to show our coaches that their efforts don’t go unnoticed by rewarding them with a premiership.”

Mt Compass certainly look to be in their best-ever position to contest for the flag. But on an individual level, Demi's efforts over the last three years have seen her talent be "recognised by Norwood and South" in the SANFLW.

A premiership may be a fitting end to the GSFLW chapter of her footy career as she continues to build a case for selection into the SANFLW competition.

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Article #182

Minutes with Moose would like to thank all of our ambassadors.

None of these photographs is owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and have been personally shot.

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