Hannah Button - Dream Come True
'My advice is to make the most of the opportunities you are given and don’t second guess yourself. You never know if these opportunities will come around again. There were a few occasions in my football journey where I nearly turned down some opportunities because I didn’t back myself in to perform. If I did not take them, I would not be where I am today, playing for the crows. You never know what is around the corner, just back yourself in.'
The Adelaide Crows had a terrible run of injures during the build-up to the 2020 AFL Women’s season, and one of these unfortunate players was none other than Hannah Button. But while we did not get to see her out on the field this season, her last three years of football have been very impressive to say the least.
Beginning her football journey in 2017, the South Australian product rapidly progressed from local level football to SANFLW level football. Then, just one year after she first began playing, she was selected with pick 53 during the 2018 AFLW Draft.
While today she is easily recognisable by most football fans and has experienced women’s football history alongside her teammates at the Adelaide Crows – Hannah Button had a very humble beginning to football.
Before she first strapped on the footy boots in 2017, her sporting life had consisted of a range of different sports including netball, basketball, and soccer. Football would not be added to this list until her talented sister, Rachelle Martin, convinced her to play.
‘We always enjoyed kicking the footy at home but never played because of the limited opportunities in the country at that time. So, when she moved to Adelaide to study she found the West Adelaide Football Club and convinced myself and our friend Chelsea Biddell to try out there.’
Fast forward to now, and Chelsea, Hannah and Rachelle have all donned the colours of the Adelaide Crows. But unfortunately, because Hannah was injured this season, we are yet to see the two sisters take to the field together at the Crows.
‘We are hanging out to be playing together again. Hopefully, that is the case.’
Once convinced by her sister, Hannah began playing Division One football in the SAWFL for West Adelaide. Then almost poetically, the following year saw her experience SANFLW football for the first time with West Adelaide.
‘We were super happy we ended up playing for the Bloods. When we first started we were fortunate enough to have coaches who really invested their time into helping us improve as players. It was a really professional environment to be around which is something I always strived for.
‘Along with that, it is a real tight-knit group of people which I believe plays a large part in success for any sporting team.’
‘The West Adelaide Football club have also had an impact on my footy and have played a huge role in getting me to the top level. I am very thankful for their time and the effort they have put into developing my footy.’
It certainly did not take Hannah long to make her presence felt in the SANFLW, because in just her first season she ended up being named in the 2018 SANFLW Team of the Year. But not only that, she also claimed the 2018 SANFLW Best and Fairest, which to date, has been one of her favourite football moments.
‘It was a real turning point for me in terms of believing in myself and having the confidence to play footy at an elite level. It was also just a complete shock for me that night, I was overcome with so many emotions and could not believe what I just achieved.’
On the back of a standout year like this, it is no surprise that she caught the attention of the Adelaide Crows, and was selected by them with pick 53 during the 2018 AFLW Draft.
Getting drafted at any stage during your career is an awesome feat, but there is something very special about getting drafted after just your second year of football, and for Hannah, her first season of AFLW will be something that she will always treasure.
‘I am incredibly grateful for all we achieved in the 2019 season. I know premierships are hard to come by and to win one in my first season of AFLW, I just felt incredibly lucky.
‘I learnt so much from that one season and felt supported by my coaches and teammates; helping me grow in confidence as a player at the highest level.’
Hannah managed to go from local level football to SANFLW level to AFLW level in just three years, and the third year was topped off perfectly with an AFLW Premiership.
‘Playing in front of 53,000 people at Adelaide Oval’ has been Hannah’s favourite moment of her career thus far, and it is pretty easy to see why as ‘Words cannot describe’ what it was like to experience.
‘None of us have experience playing in front of so many people, not even Erin Phillips. I just remember coming out of the race and feeling absolutely pumped that we had so many people come out to watch women’s football.’
Premierships aside, Hannah has loved her time with the Adelaide Crows, because – ‘Besides being surrounded by the amazing people at the club, the best thing about playing for the Crows would be the fact that I have supported the Crows since I was a little girl.’
‘So, it is like a dream come true having the opportunity to play for your team that you have followed from a young age.’
After three impressive years of football, and two amazing seasons in both 2018 and 2019, Hannah achieved her dream of playing AFLW for the club she grew up supporting. Unfortunately, after all the highs there were bound to be some lows, and the low point came for Hannah late last year when she ruptured her ACL while playing for the NT Thunder.
Considering how much she had achieved and experienced up until this point, being sidelined for an entire season would understandably be heartbreaking, even for the happy and humble Hannah.
‘It has been quite difficult to be honest. This has been my first year of playing no sport so to be missing out on something so important to me has been a big growth point for myself as an individual.
‘I have been fortunate enough that there are several other girls in the team in the same situation and we have helped each other cope through our rehab. It can be an isolating experience, but I am so grateful for the club and the people around me who have done all they can do help me with my knee injury.’
As tough as being sidelined for an entire year can be, even with the support during rehab – it will all be worth it when she makes her long awaited return next year.
‘I have had my eyes on season five of AFLW for a very long time now. I am dying to get back into it, it will be a big moment for me when I step onto the field for the first time again.’
The fact that she has managed to remain positive and strong despite suffering one of the worst injuries possible in football, shows just how strong of a character Hannah is. But along with her strength and dedication, she is also very passionate and gracious.
This is because, not only is she thankful for the Adelaide Football Club for helping her during her knee rehabilitation, as well as the West Adelaide Football Club for helping kick start her football journey, there are also some individuals that she is very thankful for as well.
‘My brother and sister have had a huge impact on my football journey from the very start. They are the ones who have convinced me to play and pursue my dream to play AFL.
‘My husband has been my rock through it all; coaching me, training with me, helping me achieve my goals and supporting me through the highs and lows. He has been with me through it all.’
What is next for this proud and passionate Crow?
‘Other than making a return to AFLW, my goal is to be playing a role in the midfield in the AFLW. It is the position I enjoy the most and I know I still have a lot of work to get there.’
At the end of the day, 2020 has been a very rough year for most, but for football fans at least we can look forward to the day that Hannah Button makes her long awaited return to the game that she loves.
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None of these photographs are owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and have been personally shot.
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