Hannah Prenzler - the Mighty Double Blue
'My advice to girls who have started playing footy is to most importantly, HAVE FUN! This goes for any sport or new activity you are trying. You want to find your passion and something that makes you want to jump out of bed at 7 am in the morning for! Footy is not always going to be easy and I am sure you’ll have setbacks, but that’s what makes you stronger as a player and as a person. The best way I learn is by making mistakes and learning from them. So, do not give up, work hard, and remember it is about trying to be YOUR best not THE best!'
In terms of young talent – Sturt are one of the league leaders, behind that of only West Adelaide and South Adelaide.
But in a team which such young talent, there is one player that often gets taken for granted – mainly because her skills and composure reflect someone with many more years of football experience than she actually has.
We are of course talking about Sturt’s last line of defence, young Hannah Prenzler.
While she did have some experience playing football through AusKick in primary school, a lack of any established pathways for female footballs saw Hannah put her football dreams on hold.
She only resumed playing football four years ago, but it has not taken her long to carve a very bright path in the sport.
She has spent these last four years representing her school in school football, as well as three of these years spent playing with the Mitcham Hawks.
During her time with the Hawks, she has claimed the 2018 U16 Leadership award as well as finish as the joint 2019 U18 Best and Fairest.
The year she resumed football was also the year that she first made Sturt’s U17s team, and she would then go onto make her SANFLW debut during Sturt’s inaugural season in 2018, when she was just 15 years old.
Her debut game for Sturt which came during their inaugural match against West Adelaide, is one of her favourite football moments thus far as ‘Walking out onto that field and making history felt pretty incredible as a 15-year-old’.
As promising as her career is – it has been the last three years that Hannah ahs really began to shine. This is because she not only made an SANFLW list at such an early age – but she also represented South Australia in the U16s in 2018 and in the U18s in 2019.
‘Playing with now some of my closest mates in U16 and U18 State Matches and getting to wear the SA colours is such a privilege and something I will treasure forever.’
As well as this, 2019 also saw her take part in the SANFLW Exhibition game.
Equally as impressive as her accolades is her performance on the ground, and she has been improving with each passing season – especially with her beloved Double Blues.
‘I have been at the club for a few years now, and it’s been an awesome experience. The players, coaches, trainers, physio’s, managers, and every single person who helps out or volunteers plays a big role in making the club as great as it is. We all spend so much time together and it is like another big family.’
In her debut SANFLW season, she finished the year with a total of 62 disposals and an average of three tackles a match, from the nine games she played.
Then in 2019, she played ten games for a total of 79 disposals, two goals and an average of four tackles a match.
And so far during this 2020 SANFLW season, she has collected a steady 43 disposals with an outstanding 79 per cent efficiency. As well as this, she also averages four marks, two rebounds and two tackles a match. She is also currently sitting third in the league for total marks and tenth in the league for total rebound 50s.
This tendency to improve her own game is no doubt helped by how much passion she holds for football.
‘I just love the whole experience that comes with playing the game. It is exciting and competitive, and people are not afraid to get physical which is something that really drew me to the sport.
‘The environment is so positive, and I have met so many incredible people along the way.’
It is also this passion and the earlier mentioned tendency to want to improve her own game – that makes Hannah a strong leader. Which is why 2020 has also seen her join Sturt’s leadership group.
‘I have really enjoyed being a part of the leadership group this year. When our coach Bruce told me, I was voted onto the team, I was quite surprised being so young but felt very privileged to have this opportunity.
‘I have always loved being involved with leadership and I feel honoured that the girls have chosen me to be one of the leaders. I am lucky enough to be the School Captain at my school, so I believe I can bring some skills to the team and hopefully help us grow closer and stronger as a group.’
And as with any good leader – Hannah has not forgotten about those who have helped her along this very promising journey.
‘There are so many people who have helped me throughout my football journey that I will never forget. My mum and dad are my two biggest supporters, they always encourage me and believe in me and I would not be where I am without them.
‘Another thank you would be to Michael Higgs. He was the first face/coach I saw out at my journey Sturt, and he has been such a great coach who has always been willing to do some extra sessions with me to improve my game.’
So, what is next for this mighty double blue?
When football does make its return in a few weeks – Hannah Prenzler is certainly a footballer to keep an eye out.
And with her impressive skillset, remarkable composure, and willingness to improve her own game, she will continue to be a very valuable defender to have for many more years to come.
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