Sarah Heptinstall - the Promising Power Product
"To make the most of every opportunity that they are given whether it’s selection or to make new friends and listen to and practice all the advice that they are given."
The Sydney Swans Academy flexed their muscle this year when the side paid a visit to the then undefeated Geelong Falcons, who they subsequently beat. This was the most recent of a string of great experiences for young Sarah Heptinstall, who has carved a very promising path in football.
“It was so much fun. We got so much closer as a squad with players and coaches and was able to learn so much more from the coaches about the game from versing an out of state team.”
But prior to her exciting footballing journey Sarah tried her hand at multiple sports including netball, Oztag, rugby sevens, and she even trained for cross country.
“I only got into AFL because my brother umpired a girl’s game one day and said that I should give it a go.”
Once she was introduced to the game she was hooked and ever since she has called the Southern Power home, which she said has “been real fun”.
“... They have really looked after me there, especially my longest coach Kathryn Hull. She really looks after us younger girls to make sure we are enjoying the game while still developing us as players.”
“She is definitely one of the major reasons that Southern Power keeps growing as a female AFL club.”
Included in her five years at the Southern Power was the side’s remarkable three-peat of premierships. Which “was such a great experience and one of my favourite periods being at Southern Power”.
“The team we had over those three years was so close and we all knew each other’s game so well, so it made each game that we played so much more enjoyable.”
As well as experiencing a three peat of premierships, Sarah has also earned her fair share of representative side appearances.
The most notable of which would be her years spent in the Diversity All Stars team and the Medley Multicultural team, two teams that she has also captained on two sperate occasions.
And during these stints as captain, she lived up to the saying of ‘leading by example’ as she has been named as the Most Valuable Player for these sides four times.
Understandably, this part of her footballing journey has been her favourite to date.
“That changed my perspective in such a positive way with footy and how to be a better person in general.”
“I have also loved all the friends that I have made and the experiences to travel outside of state. But can always say the very few times that I have won against Victoria, I have loved.”
As well as being a member of these programs, she has also represented New South Wales in the All-School tournament twice and was a member of the U16 NSW Allies team.
While the number of accolades to her name is certainly one way to judge her development over the last five years. Her own self-reflection on how much she has progressed is perhaps a better way to show just how far this product has come.
“I definitely feel more confident in myself but also definitely more keen.”
“When I first started I was just playing for fun and to have a run around but now I am still playing because I love the game, but I am definitely trying to constantly improve and try and make some sort of future out of the game.”
This willingness to develop and drive to improve is a great indication of the footballing mindset Sarah. A mindset that not only explains how she has managed to develop so quickly but also why she enjoys holding leadership roles.
“I have always enjoyed being a leader and captaining sides but it’s also something that I have definitely improved on and always looking to get better at over the years.”
“It is always a great responsibility and something that I don’t take for granted and feel really honoured to do.”
Yet as well as her own personal drive, Sarah has also been lucky to have some great support behind her over these last five years—support she is very thankful for.
“Definitely Kathryn Hull, she works so hard to make sure all the girls at Southern Power are enjoying their footy and becomes the big sister role model to us all. But also, the Southern Power community for their consent support and welcoming environment.”
“And of course, my family, would not have had any sort of opportunity not only with footy but all sports that I have been involved in without them.”
So, what is the next chapter for this Promising Power Product?
“The ultimate dream is to eventually get drafted. This season I really want to play well for the prems season to hopefully be making finals again.”
To further show her dedication, she would also be willing to potentially move away if need be when it comes to her ultimate dream.
“I would be happy to go anywhere. I reckon if I did not get drafted I would move, not sure where but I reckon it would be something fun to do.”
However, with a great attitude and approach to her own game, and a very bright footballing path ahead. If her ultimate dream does come true, we are confident that an NSW based side would not be willing to let Sarah Heptinstall slip through their fingers.
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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.