• Jayden J Bartlett

Georgie Fowler - a Giant Recruit

The first time Georgie Fowler strapped on the footy boots; she had no idea where she was headed – she was just concerned with becoming the best player she could possibly be.

Yet, “not really thinking about what that meant” to be the best that she could be, Georgie quickly rose through the ranks and, just four years after strapping on the boots for the first time, she was drafted into the Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) competition.

“I would joke around with my friends about getting drafted and things like that, but I never actually really thought I'd do it,” Georgie said when asked about whether she thought she’d make the AFLW.

“I didn't really even know what the AFLW was in the first couple years I played, but as I moved into the senior space and met more AFLW players through club teams and became more involved with footy, my understanding grew, and I guess with that, so did my aspirations to play at that level.”

It was a humble beginning to football for this GWS Giants draftee who, when she was younger, “played a bit of everything” while she was growing up. This includes hockey, softball, and basketball; however, soccer was her preferred sport growing up – with rugby 7s being her preferred sport through high school.

“I started because I saw my younger brother playing AusKick and thought I'd have a turn,” she said when asked what made her want to try football. “AusKick was held and St Ives and during that time they announced they were going to make a chicks side the following season, so mum signed me up.

The first game I played it was pouring with rain and muddy as and even though I, along with everyone else, had no idea what we were doing, I just had the best time ever.”

“I had a really enthusiastic coach throughout juniors, so I definitely owe it to him for keeping me interested.”

'The Mighty Eagles' - image kindly suppled by Georgie (pictured left).

Once she had gained an interest in football, Georgie set out on her new and exciting footballing journey – which saw this promising Giant rapidly develop into an exciting prospect.

2016 marked the beginning of her footballing journey, which was spent with St Ives Junior’s inaugural girl’s side. She then continued to don their colours during the 2017 season, where her team found premiership success.

It was also during 2017 that she claimed the Juniors’ Best and Fairest – marking the first sign of Georgie’s exciting potential.

Then in 2018, her football was put on hold as she went to a boarding school in Victoria – but she soon returned to St Ives in 2019 and the early half of 2020.

2019 saw her get selected into and play academy games for North, where she was then picked for the Swans Academy – which also led her to get a spot in the NSW pathway.

Keeping with the theme of playing in inaugural sides, Georgie was also a member of Barker College’s inaugural school team during 2020 “and the coach of that team took me along to East Coast Eagles”.

“If I'm being honest some of the biggest defining moments have also been some of the toughest, hardest ones,” she said when asked what some of her favourite footy moments have been. This was on full display when she chose to join East Coast – which marked a major turn in her footy.

“I think moving to East Coast played a pivotal role in the success of my footy and the progression of my game.”

“Without that decision, I honestly don't think I would have achieved anything near to what I have already and I'm forever grateful for the club, coaches and the girls for providing me with that opportunity.

“In my first year or half-year, the biggest thing was the change to bigger-bodied players but also the idea of actually having a plan and structure.”

“Learning all the skills like body positioning and stoppage setups was nothing like I'd done in juniors footy and that really opened my eyes I guess to the potential of the game.

'Wet Weather Footy' - image kindly supplied by Georgie.

In my second year, this past season has been the most fun I've had with my footy, being a bit more confident around the girls and also in my footy abilities.”

“The coach Ash Moller, who I met in the NSW pathway a few years back, took over the head coaching role and really turned the club into something really exciting.

“The atmosphere and involvement from everyone around the club have been really cool to be a part of and I'm keen to see how high the Eagles are going to fly in the upcoming seasons.”

Unfortunately, her football has not been without challenges, as she suffered a back injury during December last year – which meant she had to watch the Swans Academy from the sideline, although their staff has proven very beneficial during her rehab.

As mentioned earlier, Georgie embraces the tough and hard moments, and this is perhaps not shown more than with this incident – which saw her continue to remain strong despite this setback.

“Just little steps I think,” she said when asked about how she handles rehab.

“Obviously watching everyone else do things you can't is really frustrating and can get a bit stressful at times, but I think just focusing on what I could control and making sure I get the little things right made it a bit easier.

Everyone's always going to have their input and their opinions on how you should do things and that definitely made it a bit overwhelming.

“But I have a really good Physio and working with him and being surrounded by people who want the best for me helped clear up a bit of the uncertainty and to stay motivated.

'Eagle In-Action' - image kindly supplied by Georgie.

Managing to stick with the sport during rehab paid off massively during this season as, as well as gaining a Rising Star Nomination, she entered a new and exciting chapter in her footballing journey.

This came on draft night when, with Pick 59, the GWS Giants selected the young East Coast Eagle.

“It was pretty relieving and felt a bit surreal, it still doesn't feel real actually, but overall, the night was very special,” she said when asked about how it felt to hear her name get called out.

“I was just sitting on the couch and my family were with me and my aunt and uncle, instantly my phone blew up with messages and calls from other family and friends and it was just surreal, I actually don't even know how to describe it really, a night I definitely won't forget.”

“I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity the play with the giants.

Swapping the blue and gold for the orange and charcoal, it is impressive to consider how far Georgie has come after just four seasons of football – yet she already has her ambitions set on developing even further.

“I'm really looking forward to experiencing the professional environment and utilising all the different resources the club offers.”

“I'm excited to be able to take my game to the next level and prove myself in that space and I'm also really keen to get in with the girls and learn from their experiences and knowledge as well.

“Hopefully I'll be able to soak it all up and make the most of the amazing opportunity.”

'Soaring Eagle' - image kindly supplied by Georgie.

As a young AFLW draftee, we asked Georgie what advice she would give to other young girls out there that are aspiring to make the top tier – and her advice was golden.

“The first one is pretty simple, and I think self-explanatory, get the LITTLE THINGS RIGHT, do the one percenters and don't cut corners because your only cheating yourself.

The second one would be to FILTER FEEDBACK. I found myself being told so many different things from so many different people and would get caught up trying to sort through it all.

EVERYONE will have their own opinions, and EVERYONE will tell you how they think you should things, but sometimes it becomes too much.

I’m not saying to avoid feedback or to shut off certain people, because most of the time they are just trying to help, there's a difference.

“What I'm trying to say is, hear everything, get as much feedback as you can since there is always something to improve on, only listen, remember and act on, the bits you think are MOST important, then chuck out all the rest, ignore it, forget it, it just becomes head noise, and it can become very overwhelming.

“So ultimately, make sure you build yourself a strong support network, make sure you surround yourself with people who have your best interest at heart, listen to the people that you think matter and take everything as an opportunity to learn.

This strong support network element is something that Georgie can definitely relate to having built an impressive supportive group around herself throughout her journey.

Yeh 100 per cent, I definitely owe it to everyone who I've crossed paths with or who has guided me along the way, it's unquestionably a team effort and I would not be able to do it without all the support, but Jon Vlatko, in particular, has been a real influence on my journey.

Jon, the assistant coach at GWS and a former East Coast premiership player, is someone that has been at the forefront of Georgie’s development.

I met Jon maybe 2 years ago when I had just transitioned into the seniors’ space, working with him since, he has been a mentor not only with footy but outside of footy."

"Jon helped me through a bit of a rough patch making some hard decisions which were ultimately pivotal to the success of my footy. “Jon's knowledge of the game and ability to explain concepts and teach skills in a way that's easy to understand is pretty special. He is the most understanding, level-headed and patient person I've ever met and there's always a reason for his actions which I find admirable. “I'm forever grateful for the hours of attention Jon has given to help me become a better player and the genuine investment he has in me as a person is something I value immensely.

“I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Jon, he had played a significant role in the success of my journey and is something I do not take for granted.

For the past four seasons and since her first year of football in 2016, Georgie has experienced an amazing amount within such a short time span.

“Might sound like a bit of a cliche answer, but I don't think I could pin down a specific moment,” she said when asked what her favourite moment has been.I think that every part of my footy journey has been key in building and continuing to build the player I am.

So, what is the next chapter for this exciting Giants’ recruit?

“I’m looking forward to progressing my skills and knowledge of the game,” she said when asked what her goals for 2022 and beyond are.

This past season there's been a few really important learning experiences that have changed how I approach my footy, I think my mindset has matured both on and off the field.

I'm really excited to build on everything I've learnt and take that into this season, hopefully, injury-free, and give it a red-hot crack.”

Georgie Fowler has achieved a remarkable amount in such a short time span and, if she can remain injury-free, we believe she can continue to develop further - until she is truly the best player she can be.

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Article #197

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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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