Renee Ullrich - the Next Chapter
If you were to ask someone who their favourite South Adelaide player was, you would get a difference response every time.
But in 2019, it gave rise to more fan favourites such as Teah Charlton, Indy Tahau and Jess Kirk.
And now that we are on the brink of 2020; we must ask ourselves, who will be next?
Despite the new season not starting till February, we are pretty confident that we may have just found one of the new fan favourites, which is none other than Cove Vice-Captain, Renee Ullrich.
While this seems like a fair bit of pressure we just put on Renee, it is more than justified.
For starters, in just two years of football she has experienced something that most may never get the chance to, which is winning back to back Premierships.
“Playing my first season of footy in an undefeated team to then win the Grand Final was unbelievable.”
“This season we lost our first seven games and then made an unbelievable comeback to then go onto the Grand Final and play a team we didn’t beat all season and to beat them by 5 points was such an incredible and really emotional moment!”
“We thought they got a goal last minute but it turned out to be a point so we did the best we could to hold it up and 10 seconds later the siren went, and I can’t even begin to explain how that felt.”
And as impressive as this is, it is not the only achievements that she has claimed in the past two years.
“I was selected for both the SFL association team and the Southern Districts team and won the Grand Final at the State Country Championships in Port Pirie this year which was cool! Also made SFL team of the year.”
Keeping in mind how much she has managed to accomplish in just her first two seasons of footy, it is scary to think of what she may do with five seasons of footy under her belt.
But it does beg the question of how did she get into footy to begin with?
“My manager at the time was recruiting girls for a new team down at Cove and knew of my previous sport experience and wanted to get me on board, so I did, and it was the best decision I’ve made in my life.”
“I never thought I’d fall in love with footy as much as I have and definitely didn’t expect to come along as far as I have!”
So, what exactly was this previous sport experience?
Well, “I did Taekwondo for 10 years and won five National Championships during my career and also competed in the World Junior Selections competition back in 2013”.
So, it is safe to say that Renee isn’t a stranger to hard-work or success and if anything, her sports career is somewhat similar to a current AFLW star.
But how did she get into Taekwondo to begin with?
“That’s all thanks to Dad! Having three daughters he knew in the world we live in it would be a great idea to get us all into a form of martial arts and I’m so thankful for it.”
“I learnt so much from it and I feel it’s made me the hardworking athlete I am today.”
While as impressive as this is, it also helps explain why she picked up footy so well, or the contact side at least.
“Obviously coming from a martial arts background, I love laying tackles and am not scared to play a physical game of footy.”
However, this is far from what she enjoys most about her beloved sport.
“I think being able to combine my competitiveness, speed and aggression all together is pretty cool.”
“I love being a part of a team with such amazing women and with women’s footy only getting bigger it’s such an incredible feeling being a part of it and inspiring younger girls to get involved.”
And this brings us to another reason that we believe makes Renee a possible fan favourite, which is her very laid-back and gracious attitude when it comes to her team.
For example, how she feels about being the Vice-Captain of Cove.
“Pretty awesome. The girls are so incredible and so supportive. Dana my captain has been a HUGE inspiration and my biggest supporter. She’s helped me in so many ways and has taught me how to be the leader I am.”
And it this same team-first attitude that sees her value memories over individual success.
“My first goal was obviously a highlight! Bit of a fluke but some of the best goals are.”’
“Playing in the first SFL night game held at Cove was truly amazing, winning that game was an even better feeling, that game marked our comeback!”
And as always with any impressive sports career, there are some people that this humble product would love to thank;
“Dana O’Brien my amazing captain at Cove would be the first person I’d thank for sure. The endless love and support she’s shown on and off the footy field have changed my life it’s truly hard to put it into words how thankful I am for everything she’s done for me.”
“Would love to thank my Dad for his endless support and coming out to every single game to show his support. I used to think he was too hard on me regarding sport, but I wouldn’t be where I am today and be as disciplined I am without him. He’s made me the dedicated athlete I am today.”
So, what is the next chapter for Renee?
Well, the first and most notable would be that she gets to experience SANFLW level for the first time, and dare we say chase her third Premiership in as many years.
“I got recruited last year but wasn’t quite ready to take a big leap into SANFL at that time in my life but now I’m ready and giving it my all.”
And while she may have not felt ready last season, she is raring to go this time.
“Yes, so excited!! I’m pretty nervous going up to a crazy new level of footy but I haven’t been so excited for something new in a while especially not knowing where this could potentially lead me!”
“The girls at South are so great. They’re always helping us new girls with tips and have made us all feel super welcome! They’re such a funny bunch as well we’re always having a laugh."
"The coaches have been incredible as well it’s amazing to be a part of such a professional and supportive club!”
So, as we sit on the brink of the 2020 SANFLW season, there is sure to be one player that we will keep an eye on.
And if you were to ask someone who their favourite South Adelaide player is next season, you would get a simple response.
Which is, Renee Ullrich.
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