Mia Skinner - the Geelong Product
"Just make sure that you do everything you can to still be involved so if that means you are walking around at training with a group or standing with a coach to learn from them. There is a lot of time where you are by yourself weather that’s in the gym or doing your rehab but you need to know that even if you think someone isn’t watching people are watching and if you do the hard work away from everyone when you come back you are in a better position than before."
Consistency, reliability, accuracy, and determination are just some of the qualities that we love to see in forwards. Having just one of these can provide the side with an extremely valuable target up-forward—and as it seems, Geelong may have found a forward that ticks all of these boxes.
Originally kicking off her career with AusKick at the Mooroopna Football Club before moving to Torquay where she then progressed from the youth girls’ side to the U18s, this forward has certainly had her fair share of footballing experience.
From Torquay, she was then selected to play for the Geelong Falcons, and it was here that Mia Skinner really made her presence felt in front of the goals.
“My time at the Falcons was great, I was very grateful that Jason gave me a second chance and kept me for my last year.”
“It was really where I made sure to show everyone that footy was actually my thing and wanted to make sure that they did not waste their time.”
And she certainly proved that footy was her thing as her 2019 performance was one to watch.
This being because the talented Falcon claimed the 2019 NAB League Girls Leading Goalkicker award as well as the Geelong Falcons' Most Consistent Player award—both of which relate to the aforementioned qualities of what makes a great forward.
This standout performance in the NAB League Girls competition led her to don the colours of the 2019 Vic Country team, yet this still was not the best thing to happen to Mia that year.
After a standout 2019 season, the icing on the cake was when she heard her name get read out during the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s Draft, and with Pick 65 this Geelong Falcon became a Geelong Cat.
“It was a dream come true and knowing all my hard work paid off and that this is something I can really pursue.”
“Obviously getting drafted was hands down the best moment, but just making lifelong friends has been the best. You can play footy or be a footy player and being a footy player is what I have chosen, and it is the best decision I have ever made.”
Despite there not being much of a colour change from the Falcons to the Cats, one thing Mia certainly noticed was the difference in the program—and how much of a step up it was.
“It is a massive step just in the training standards there is not as much of a gap between the best. Also, with having a gym program, you do not do any gym stuff at Flacons, and we do a fair bit.”
Unfortunately, we would not get to see the young gun Cat in action during the 2020 AFLW season as she was ruled out of her debut campaign, suffering a stress fracture to her femur.
Watching from the sidelines, the Cats would go onto finish the season fifth in Conference A with two wins and four losses.
“Their season definitely did not go to plan, but it was still so good to be a part of it and get to see what happens in the background a bit more and appreciate all the work the staff do.”
“It helped me really focus and getting stronger so that when I do start playing I am much stronger. The club has been so understanding and is still giving me the support, I need.
“And now that I am out there with all the girls it just makes me connect on a deeper level again.”
Being forced to watch from the sidelines is difficult enough without it being during your debut season—and it becomes especially difficult as the season begins to progress.
“I think at the start I was coping pretty good but when the games started when it was the hardest because you are watching everyone playing games and having fun and you can only sit there.”
“It is also the time you feel most disconnected from the team.”
Isolating is a term often used to describe what it is like to watch from the sidelines, yet in a good sign of team culture—the rest of the Geelong outfit rallied around the injured youngster.
“There was not really one person, but I think the girls that did get picked for the games we were all kinda of in the same boat and were just making sure that we got around each other.”
“Meg McDonald was also someone who understood as she had been through a similar thing the year before.”
Now that she has since recovered from her injury, what is next for this Geelong Product?
“My goals would be to play my first game and to make sure I am doing the best I can for the team.”
Looking back at the qualities that we mentioned at the beginning of this article; consistency, reliability, accuracy, and determination.
Mia has already proven her reliability and consistency, easily shown through the fact that she won the Geelong Falcons' Most Consistent award in 2019. While the nineteen goals in ten games that she scored to claim the NAB League Girls Leading Goalkicker is also enough to show her accuracy.
And now that she has also returned from a season long injury with her passion for the game intact, well that ticks off her dedication. Meaning that all this adds up to equal the best qualities to see in a great forward--all qualities that Mia Skinner possesses.
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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.