• Jayden J Bartlett

Footy Talk: the Rise of the Double Blues

Who would have thought this time last year that Sturt, a side who had previously won just 10 games in 4 years, would be sitting top of the ladder, undefeated, after 4 rounds of footy?

Not only have they won, but they have done it against quality opposition. They defeated the new-look Eagles, the ever-tough Roosters, last year’s runners up Westies, and of course, the reigning premiers Glenelg.

But how? How has Sturt seemingly turned themselves around and come out of nowhere?

Have they brought in many new players? Well, looking at their list, the most notable thing is that most of their side are familiar names; it is far from a new-look side.

There is Izzy Kuiper, Kiera Mueller, Ally Ladas, Maya Rigter, Georgia Swan, Hannah Prenzler, Amy Brooks-Birve, and Alex Ballard – just to name a few – who are all used to donning the Double Blue.

Then there is their returning star, Georgia Bevan, who is currently averaging 16 touches and 7 tackles a match. And they are also fortunate enough to have the services of their AFLW listed product, Zoe Prowse.

However, they haven’t all been at Sturt before this season. For instance, they have added some zone talent, with 2-time club Best and Fairest Tahlia Walker making her way down from the Hills to Unley. As well as some new AFLW talent from the mini-draft, with Jasmyn Hewett making a massive impact on the side already by averaging 6 tackles and 5 clearances a match.

'Good Feelings for Sturt' - this image was taken by MWM.

We have already established that Sturt’s current side, the one that sits top after a month of footy, is similar to the teams we saw during 2021 but everything has seemingly clicked. The players have developed, gelled, and are now setting the pace – and it seems that the culture surrounding the Doublas has helped play a pivotal role in this.

“Our culture is what we pride ourselves on the most,” Amy Brooks-Birve said when asked about the feeling around Sturt at the moment.

“And having invested in it for years now we are starting to see the connection between the individuals fostering and the results come on the scoreboard. It makes me so proud to be involved.”

“It’s great to be a part of. I feel like it has been building up for a long time, and we saw patches of our best play last year but rarely managed to string it together for a game.

“It is a credit to the work everyone put in throughout offseason and preseason, but there is a big feeling that our job isn’t done.

“We are focused on our finals campaign this year and we move on from a win very quickly to focus on the next game.

As Amy said, Sturt’s job certainly isn’t done.

Considering they were lucky to get over the top of North Adelaide, and Glenelg showed last year in the men’s league that sitting top doesn’t mean anything when it comes to the finals. However, one must be impressed with the league’s newest pacesetter.

The benefit of having Prowse and Hewett is massive, as these 2 amazing tall players can have an impact in the air and at ground level.

Then they have their role players, India Rasheed, Lily Whitcombe, and Alisha Gepp – players that may fly under the radar, but they have certainly been contributing to the side.

“We have immense depth in the squad even with outs for covid/injury, and this depth has lifted the standard of the team since everyone is fighting for their place,” Brooks-Birve said about their list.

Only time will see how far Sturt will go this season, but one thing is for certain and that is the Double Blues are on the rise.

'Waiting to See What Comes' - this image was taken by MWM

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Footy Talk #1

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These images were taken by MWM.

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