• Jayden J Bartlett

Jaide Anthony - Dedication at its Finest

Having seen what Jaide Anthony has achieved during her sporting life, many would have assumed that her name would have been read out during the 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Draft. However, as we know now, this was not the case.

Yet, despite the shock outcome, this highly promising Victorian hasn’t let it affect her and she has instead already got to work in preparation for a massive 2022.

“I think for me I was never flat after draft night,” Jaide said when questioned about the draft. “It just put a fire in me like after that night I was back into training, running, weights, pushing my body to the limit.”

“This year, when I get to draft night, there is going to be no reason why I shouldn’t be drafted like I want to leave it all out there knowing I couldn’t have done anything else.”

Hard work and commitment are something that Jaide has become accustomed to since her family’s connection to footy motivated her to begin playing. She wanted to “try to be the best at or better than them” at playing footy – highlighting her competitive streak from day 1.

This competitiveness has seen Jaide excel in both the football and cricket worlds, with her accolades from both being nothing short of spectacular.

I think sport is literally like my other half all my friends know how much sport has helped me and how much I love the competitiveness and the rush of adrenaline,” she said when asked about her sporting background.

“Like my family sport is such a big thing it’s like you’re not an Anthony unless your competitive at everything you do especially sport.”

'The All Australian' - image kindly supplied by Jaide (pictured right).

Beginning with the under-12s, Jaide represented Victoria in cricket right through to the under-19s level. This impressive time in representative cricket was highlighted by the 5 years she spent as the captain of the Victoria Country cricket side.

“It taught me a lot of life skills,” she replied when asked about her many years spent as a cricketer.

“… Being so young and captaining teams, like many people see cricket as a team sport but it is so individual-based you could put hours and hours into training go out there in a game and make a duck and sit there for the next 6 hours.”

“So, for me, it taught me a lot of mental strength and especially resilience that I don’t think you can teach people, you either have it or not and now I carry that into my footy.”

From 2016 to 2020, Jaide was a representative of the Victoria Country cricket side, while in 2020 she represented the Indigenous Victorian cricket team.

Gaining plenty of valuable experiences during this time, a pinnacle moment of her cricket career came in 2019 when she was named as an under-15 All-Australian. This, combined with her being named as an All-Australian defender in 2021, makes Jaide an All-Australian in 2 of the country’s most popular sports.

However, as a sign of her humbleness and leadership, this young prospect hasn’t let this amazing accomplishment affect her attitude or motivations in any way.

“I mean I’m grateful, obviously it’s a big achievement but for me, I don’t play for the awards or the social media I play for my teammates and the love of the game,” she said when asked about this feat.

“When I step out on the field, I play to win and do everything in my power to achieve that, the only award that I play for is the premiership flag.”

“I’m not an individual it takes a team to win so if I get a couple of achievements here and there I’m grateful but that’s not my goal, my goal is playing for my team and coaches and all the support staff and do everything I can to bring success to the club.”

'Vic Country and Proud' - image kindly supplied by Jaide (pictured left).

These years of impressive cricket was done alongside her football, which often led her footy to be put on the back step. However, it was during her time with the Dandenong Stingrays that she began to change her sporting priorities.

“My time at Stingrays was a bit different, I have been in the program for probably around 4 years and the first 2 years it was just something I did, like while I was playing cricket for Victoria I’d always put that first no matter what.”

“Footy was just a sport I did in the winter/summer to keep fit, then the last 2 years I realised that I was pretty good at it.

“For the past 8 years, I always put cricket first no matter what, so I decided to give footy a real crack and ended up loving the game and since then my time at Stingrays has been amazing.

“All the coaches understand what I need and understand my personality and how I go about things so the relationships I have formed not only with the coaches, but the players as well have been something that I have been grateful for cause without them I don’t know what I would do.”

This newfound passion for footy, mixed with her dedication, led Jaide to be named as the vice-captain of the Stingrays this year. Then, during the 2021 NAB League Girls season, she averaged 14 touches and 4 tackles a match – which led her to receive the Stingrays 2021 Player Award.

As well as being a part of the AFLW Academy in 2020, Jaide has also previously represented the Victoria Country under-16s in 2019. Then this year saw her represent the Victoria Country under-19s where she was named as their Most Valuable Player after averaging 16 disposals, 4 tackles and 3 marks a match.

“I think the Vic Country carnival this year, beating Vic Metro, a team that was highly talked about going into the game being the favourites, and being around the girls for the trip like all the friendships I have made have been priceless.”

These amazing experiences and opportunities have come from a combination of her skills and some great support behind her – with 2 people, in particular, holding high praises from the prospect.

My dad, wouldn’t be where I am without him the sacrifices he has made have been massive to get me where I am today,” she said when asked if there was anyone she’d like to thank.

“And Steph Binder, to me she was the first coach that got me for me and didn’t ask for me to change she understood how I played and my personality and to me, that’s massive cause she has seen me at my worst and best.”

“And no matter what I, did good or bad, she was always in my corner no matter what so to see her coaching VFLW at North, I’m proud and happy to see she got that opportunity.”

'Familiar Faces' - image kindly supplied by Jaide.

2021 provided a new experience for Jaide, as she played in the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) competition with Port Melbourne.

“It was an experience like no other, coming in from the outside with a group of girls who have bonded throughout the year, it’s like I was one of them straight away,” she said when asked about her time with the Boroughs.

“They were so welcoming, something I have never experienced before and even the AFLW girls coming up to me and some of them becoming my closest friends at the start, to me it was crazy to be training with them let alone playing with them.”

“But I learnt so much there and formed a lot of amazing friendships the club has a great future ahead in the women’s program.”

Now she’s training with Hawthorn VFLW in the hopes of getting to don their ionic guernsey for some matches in 2022.

“I walked in, and it is a professional environment we have access to everything thing we need from doctors to trainers to dietitian’s and psychologists,” she said about her first impressions of Hawthorn.

“Every girl wants to be there we get there an hour early and everyone is already up and about and once we’re done; we’re still staying and talking for another half hour to each other.”

“What hawthorn is giving us is amazing and they're setting us up for VFLW.”

And, despite somehow being overlooked in the draft, she has been provided with a glimpse into an AFLW program by Melbourne who has brought her in as a train-on. An opportunity that she has been “so thankful for”.

“… I have learnt so much from all the girls and they are such a fun amazing group, took me right under their wing, helping me and teaching and understanding the game better.”

“It showed me that this is what I want to do I want to play AFLW, and I see why Melbourne are such a strong team and the reason why they make finals.”

“The work that those girls put in for a ‘part-time job’, they do it like it’s their living, like their males and don't have to worry about working other jobs, it’s amazing what they do.”

So, what is the next chapter for this highly promising player?

“I think my goal is to prove to not only myself but the people around me that I am good enough to play AFLW and I can match it with the best.

“Getting drafted, however long it takes, and just enjoying it cause at the end of the day if I don’t enjoy it there is no point me playing.”

Currently, Jaide has also been putting in the hard work to set herself up for a stellar 2022 season. With her weeks split up between Hawthorn, Dandenong and Melbourne, the young gun is improving upon each week.

“I have always had a busy schedule my whole life so to me it’s nothing different,” she said when asked how she copes with the 6 days of training a week.

“I like it because I know I’m willing to get to where I want to be because I have earned it, I’m not someone who likes the easy route and in the end, I love what I do, and that’s important.”

Having already shown that she can excel in sports that she sets her mind to – her all-out commitment to football this off-season may set Jaide Anthony for not only a huge 2022 but also an exceptional footy career.

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Article #214

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

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