• Jayden J Bartlett

Georgia Bett - the Shining Shark

Georgia Bett is the proud Vice-Captain of the East Fremantle Youth Girls side, and she has notched up some impressive experiences over the past four years – yet Georgia nearly never began this exciting footballing journey.

“Well, when I was in primary school I remember I was one of the only girls that would play footy with the boys at recess and lunch. I’d also play footy with my brother out the front,” Georgia said when asked about her earliest football experiences.

“When I was in year 6 I asked my mum to join a footy team, but she said no as there were no girls’ teams and because she didn’t want me to get hurt from the boys.”

As time passed, it seemed that her chances to play football did as well – and she began to lose motivation to play the game.

“The next year a girl’s footy team was made at my local club, but I moved schools away from everyone in my primary school and wasn’t as interested in playing as much anymore. But in year 8 I played in a Dockers Cup tournament as my school needed numbers.”

“Later in the year my sports teacher and school sports captain came around to classes asking who would be interested in joining and AFLW Academy at school and I joined because all my friends were doing it and I didn’t want to be the only one left in my sport's class.” “I almost didn’t join but my sports captain was pretty eager for me to join but I’m glad that she push me into joining as I have met some of my closest friends while playing football.”

'The Shark in Action' - image kindly supplied by Georgia.

After a term of playing footy for her school’s academy, Georgia joined the Mundijong Centrals Football Club where she remained for a year before making the move to the East Fremantle Sharks.

However, within just her first year of playing football, we gained our first glimpse of how exciting the young Western Australian prospect could become – as she earned a spot in the 2017 All-Stars school side.

“This was where I found out wanted to start playing footy properly,” she said when asked about her selection into the All-Stars side.

Then in 2018, she took her footy to a new level as she was invited to play in the Under-15s State Metro Development team, where she was then picked to train in the Under-16s Summer State squad. During this time, she also played in the Jan Cooper Cup – which made 2018 her first big breakout year.

Following this breakout year, she managed to continue to build on this rapidly growing footballing journey in 2019 with a selection into Fremantle Women’s Next Generation Academy for the Under-16s.

“Being a part of the Next Generation Academy was such an amazing opportunity it showed me how intense and switched on the Fremantle girls are and what training at a higher level is like.”

“This was the first time I got to train with girls much older than me so at first, I was a bit intimidated, but all the girls are so friendly and made everyone feel welcome so after the first session I wasn’t intimidated, and I knew what they expected from us.

“I am grateful for the experience I had during the next-gen academy as they gave us the opportunity to play at Optus Stadium as a curtain-raiser before the Fremantle men’s game, even though there wasn’t even a crowd beside the parents and family from the girls playing, it was still so crazy to be running out of the race onto the grass and seeing how big the stadium actually is.

“Overall, the experience was great and showed me how much effort I should be putting into training and out of training to become a better player.”

'The Shining Shark' - image kindly supplied by Georgia.

In late 2019, Georgia was selected into the Under-17s State Metro Development squad – which marked her last major achievement before the pandemic struck.

Currently, in 2021, the young Shark has continued playing with the Youth Girls side at East Fremantle, but she has also been given the opportunity to train with their League side – with whom she has been lucky enough to play seven matches.

“East Fremantle has helped me grow as a better player and individual,” she replied when asked about the time that she has spent with her beloved Sharks.

“When I started there everyone was so welcoming it was like I wasn’t even the new kid coming into the team that had played together many years before.”

“I’d say East Freo is more like my footy family than my footy team as everyone at the club is genuinely there to help anyone if it’s football-related or not.”

With this strong connection with the Sharks, it is unsurprising that she became the Vice-Captain of the side in 2021.

“I wasn’t training and playing with them as much as I wanted to as I was selected in the league squad, but I never missed a single Youth Girls’ training so I could still be a part of the team.”

“I was always there trying to be involved in as many drills as I could even though I had my training right after theirs finished.”

The guidance that Georgia has received during her time at East Fremantle may help explain how she has managed to develop so rapidly over the past few years – and it is also something that she deeply appreciates.

The coaches at East Freo are all fantastic they all have so much knowledge and are always willing to stay back to answer questions or go to training early to do certain skill work one on one to help everyone improve on their skill work or positioning during games.”

“We are also lucky enough to have a few AFLW girls at the club and I love learning new skills from them on and off the field or even watching them train to see how they would execute a certain drill and try do the same but my own way.

“I also love how they take leadership during drills or games to tell me what to do but it’s not them telling me how to do it so the drill goes how it’s planned, it’s them telling me where the right place to be in or the correct option so it betters me as a player and can learn from it so I can use it in future games.

“But overall, my time at East Fremantle has been amazing wouldn’t trade it for anything else.”

'Game Ready' - image kindly supplied by Georgia.

This year has also seen Georgia earn a spot in the AAC All-Star team – meaning that she has the resume to match her leadership.

“I did enjoy the experience of having a leadership role,” she said when asked about her time as a leader. "My way of leadership is to not take charge and tell everyone what they need to do, it’s more of a laissez-faire type of leadership so I would only take charge if I needed to.”

“I would try lead by example and train to my 100 per cent so the girls know what they should be doing at training, and I would also get around all the girls asking how they are before and after training or after they’ve executed a skill correctly I would praise them and just be a very positive person around them all.”

“I also would put in my 2 cents when needed in the huddle at quarter time to hopefully impact the game. I would like to think that had a positive impact on the girls and hopefully, they learned something from me and can use it in the future.”

Leading by example and being motivational, two key components of what makes a good leader – yet her compassion, especially towards those who have helped her, is just as impressive.

“I would like to thank all my coaches at East Fremantle for trusting and giving me the opportunities that I thought I wouldn’t have had until a couple of years later.”

“To my school footy coach and my mentor Gabby O’Sullivan for teaching me all the fundamentals, the rules and how to play the game by teaching and giving me all her knowledge about the game that I now use every game or training to better myself.

“And my teammates and for always answering my many questions about how to execute a skill/drill or what I could do to improve.

“And a special thanks to my family for always supporting me in every opportunity I got and to my mum for driving to different ovals all around Perth for me to kick a ball around for a few hours a couple of times a week.”

'That Winning Feeling' - image kindly supplied by Georgia.

Georgia has had an amazing footy journey so far – which makes it difficult to believe that she almost never started it. Meaning that she would be without her most favourite footy moments – and footy would be without an exciting prospect.

“My favourite footy moment would have to be the pre-game hype always before games everyone gets around it and we blast music to max volume, and everyone starts singing and dancing.”

“But some little moment in-game would have to be if I get a really good tackle or I run someone down or even side-step someone; after I do something like that I feel like I have so much power, it gives me like an adrenaline rush to keep playing fun and enjoyable footy.

My all-time favourite would have to be the team bonding my team and I did this year we had a sleepover at the club we played a four-team capture the flag, had a dance competition, guess the song and so many more activities. It was such a good time I loved every minute of it.”

So, what is the next chapter in this exciting WA prospect’s footy journey? “My goals are to play the best and highest level of footy I possibly can but if I don’t make it to the highest level then that’s totally okay because I’ve put in all my hard work and dedication, and I’ll be proud of myself for that.”

“My goals for next year are to gain a spot in the league side every week next year and to put in everything I can each training and games.”

A young developing leader who has a strong passion for her sport and her club makes Georgia Bett an extremely promising prospect – a prospect that is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

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Article #198

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

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