Laura Gardiner - the Geelong Prospect
'Definitely have fun, take every opportunity you get and keep practicing.'
Later this month we will get to see some of the nation’s brightest prospects display their talent when they take part in their state’s upcoming NAB AFLW Draft Combine. But with 82 girls invited to take part, it is difficult to single out just one promising prospect.
Luckily for us there is one player that is taking part in the Victoria combine that has been on our radar for some time—or more specifically, ever since she collected a total of 69 disposals and 23 tackles in just the first two NAB League matches of 2020.
And this talented prospect is none other than Laura Gardiner from the Geelong Falcons.
But way before she was one of the most exciting players to watch in the NAB League—she was busy playing basketball with the Supercats.
She would then make the eventual switch to footy after she simply decided that she ‘Wanted to try something new—footy was becoming more popular then so decided to join’. Now 2020 marks Laura’s fifth season of football, time which has been spent with her local club Geelong West as well as three seasons with the Geelong Falcons—the latter of which she describes as being ‘Really enjoyable’.
‘… Such a great experience learning heaps of new things and a great way to make new friends’.
But unfortunately, her final year of NAB League footy has been cut very short thanks to the league’s suspension, and considering the performance she had during the first two rounds it is understandably ‘A bit frustrating’.
However, as a clear indication of her own devotion and passion, this has not stopped Laura from developing her own game as she is ‘Continuing to do skills and conditioning throughout the week at an oval, plus some strength work at home’.
But while we have not been able to see much of Laura Gardiner on the footy field during 2020—she has at least given us plenty of promising signs over the past few years.
In particular, 2018 was a standout year for her as she finished runner-up to the League Best and Fairest for Geelong West while also claiming the League Leading Goalkicker award. This is very fitting as she says that it was at Geelong West where she ‘Definitely found my passion for footy’.
‘Did not know anyone to start off with but met heaps of new people. They definitely helped me get to where I am now’.
As well the success at local level, she also found success with the Geelong Falcons as she played in their 2018 Premiership.
‘It was heaps of fun, such a great experience, especially playing with really talented players.’
On the back of a strong 2018 performance, 2019 saw her represent Victoria Country—and her accolades continue even to the present day as she is also a member of the AFLW Academy which has also provided her with a ‘Really great experience’.
‘… Training with so many talented players. Very supportive environment and learnt a lot of new things involving footy and also personally’.
Her accolades, which speak for themselves, along with her attitude off the field, the one that sees her continue to train despite the current circumstances while also praising ‘All my coaches, teammates and definitely my parents’ for their help throughout her career—makes Laura one very promising prospect.
So, what is next for this promising Geelong prospect?
‘Keep focusing on my goal to play in the AFLW and go to university’.
With a great mindset, valuable experience and impressive skills, Laura is certainly a exciting prospect to say the least.
We only wish that we could have seen more of Laura Gardiner this NAB League season—but something tells us we will see her in the higher tier in the not so distant future.
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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.