Lauren Gee - the Proud and Passionate Leader
'My advice would be to never give up. Everyone goes through bad patches, injuries and setbacks. If you love playing and you have a goal you’re striving to achieve, then keep pushing through. The road to greatness is not marked by perfection, but by the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure. It’s pretty hard to beat someone that doesn’t give up!'
West Adelaide were one of the four teams that made up the SANFL Women’s inaugural season in 2017. But despite remaining competitive over the last two years and providing the league with some exciting talent – they are still yet to make the finals.
However, it looks as if 2020 may finally be West Adelaide’s year, and proudly leading the Bloods as they set their sights on a finals position is none other than, Lauren Gee.
‘To me, West Adelaide is a place that represents a passionate, unified and connected family.
‘It is a place that inspires you to want to put your body on the line for your teammate. It is a place where you feel in your chest, the meaning of the phrase “we not me”.
‘West Adelaide is also a place where I feel safe and supported for being myself. It really is a home away from home.’
With this level of passion towards her club, it is no wonder that she holds the title as captain. But this love towards the club has also made her role as captain even more enjoyable and easier.
‘From a team point of view, I can honestly say that it has been fairly low maintenance. We are very fortunate to have a group of women who are incredibly kind, hardworking, passionate, and accepting of each other.
‘You can really tell that we just like being around each other. A key word for us is connection. It is something that we talk about fairly often and pride ourselves on having both on and off the field.’
During her two years as West Adelaide’s captain, which she describes as being ‘full on … but also truly fantastic’ – the Bloods have been working hard both on and off the field, to turn themselves into a rather considerable force.
… ‘We have seen a lot of change at the club over the past two years in particular.
‘There has been a huge emphasis from within the club at administration level, coaching level and all the way through to player leadership level to ensure that our program is the best in the competition.
‘It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but everyone involved has the intention to achieve the same goal which does make it a lot easier.’
But there is also much more to Lauren’s footballing journey than just being a very proud and passionate leader. In fact, she is actually considerably new to the sport as she only first strapped on the boots back in 2017.
Prior to this, she had spent majority of her sporting life playing basketball and almost poetically, it was spent with the West Adelaide Bearcats.
‘I have always wanted to play footy but as it wasn’t really available to me as a youngster, I got into basketball instead. When the AFLW came out, I was inspired to give it a try and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
‘Don’t get me wrong, I loved playing basketball too but I feel like footy is my calling and I only wish I had got involved sooner.’ As mentioned earlier she began playing football back in 2017, and her first season was spent with West Adelaide Women’s (now Fitzroy FC) in the SAWFL. The following year in 2018, Lauren join West Adelaide in the SANFLW, and it is here that her football career excelled rapidly.
This is because, as a sure sign of things to come, Lauren received West Adelaide’s Vice-Captaincy in 2018. She would also win the Blood’s 2018 Best Team Person award while at local level, she received Fitzroy’s Most Courageous award and finished runner-up to the Div.1 A Grade Best and Fairest.
This is pretty remarkable considering that all this came in just her second season of football and her debut season for the Bloods, but she was able to follow up with an even better display in 2019.
In 2019, Lauren gain the title as West Adelaide’s Captain, and by the end of the year she had also claimed West Adelaide’s Best Team Player award again, as well as the Players’ Player of the Year award, and she also represent Port Adelaide in the SANFLW Exhibition Series.
As for how she made an impact so quickly, especially after coming to the sport so late – she puts this down to her years of basketball.
‘The game play I got pretty quickly. It is similar to basketball in a lot of ways, but I also love watching footy anyway, so it didn’t feel too foreign when I started.’
But as well as having many years of basketball experience and an extraordinary level of passion for the sport – Lauren has also had some great support behind her as well.
‘I owe a massive thank you to all the coaches I have had since starting my footy career. In particular, I would like to thank Shane Moon, Daniel Caire and Mark Moody who have all shown me massive support as well as helped my growth and development as a leader and as a player.’
Also, as any good captain would – Lauren is also very thankful for her beloved club, from the CEO to her teammates. ‘I would like to thank the West Adelaide Football Club and our CEO Ben Hopkins specifically, who has also been another supportive figure along my football journey and has been a major contributor to the positive development of our program. Also, ‘… My teammates for always pushing me to be better. I have been with many of them from the beginning and I doubt I would have enjoyed my time playing this much if it were not for them’.
‘I am proud to say that I’ve made some incredibly special friends over the past three years and I’m confident that even after footy, we will still remain as close as ever.’
Her final thanks doubles as another example of the passion and just overall kindness that Lauren possess – this is because it goes to her wife, Alice. ‘When I first started playing footy, I was truly woeful at kicking, I still struggle at times – but she spent hours and hours on the oval kicking with me, giving me tips and always providing a great source of encouragement. She has been my rock when I have struggled with injury or my anxiety.
‘She helps me stay focused, she pulls me up when I’m being slack and she’s always there to support me. Without her, I would never have had the courage to go out and give footy a go in the first place.’
So, what is next for this proud and passionate leader?
Her goal is rather simple … as ‘I hope that we are able to produce some really good consistent footy that will see us into playing finals for the first time’.
With the Bloods holding firmly onto a finals spot as we enter the final stretch of this SANFLW season – it doesn’t look like it will be much longer until we see Lauren Gee proudly lead her team out for their much anticipated finals debut.
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