• Jayden J Bartlett

Soriah Moon - the Star of the Southern

One year after strapping on the football boots for the first time, basketball convert Soriah Moon found herself playing in the second-highest tier of football in South Australia.

Then, two years after strapping on the boots, Soriah has become a regular appearance within the South Australian National Football League Women’s (SANFLW) competition.

However, up until the last three years, the majority of Soriah’s sporting life has focused on basketball. From her days of playing school basketball to the last seven years that she has spent with the Sturt Sabres; she has certainly spent more time on the court than on the field.

Alongside her football commitments, Soriah is still currently playing in the NBL1 with the Sabres and, throughout her many years on the court, she has played in numerous Winter and Summer Reserves premierships.

Likewise, Soriah and her team also won the 2020 Adelaide Basketball Challenge, which was practically a modified version of the NBL1 season because of the pandemic.

These years on the court not only paid dividends when she became a ruck in football, but it also played host to a great family-orientated sporting moment.

“My favourite basketball memory is actually a game with my sisters in a church basketball competition. It was a Grand Final, and we were down by 3 points with 3 seconds to go and I got a rebound and hit a half-court shot to even up the game and put us into overtime which we then won.

“It was probably one of the highlights in my sporting career. It was just so exciting at the time. Re-watching the shot still makes me get goosebumps.”

As well as the memories, it was also playing basketball that led her to get the idea of swapping the round ball for an oval one.

“I had a friend who played for Glenelg, and we played in a social basketball team together. She was telling me that some of the rucks at Glenelg were injured and she thought I should come give it a go.” “So, I went out to one training at Glenelg just to show if I had any ‘skills’. And I had none. But Jase the coach said if I tried to play locally first, to learn about the game and get some skills, maybe I might have a chance the next season. “As I had basketball I was pretty hesitant to play footy, but I was chatting to a girl from basketball, and she was saying she played for Flagstaff Hill.

“So, I went out to one training just to ‘try it' and just loved it. I loved the girls, I loved the full oval running, not so much anymore.

“I loved the tackling, without getting called for a foul, and I just loved the community feeling with how the club got around the women’s team. “Without trying out at Glenelg I would have never even thought about playing footy.”

Once she strapped on the boots, she began to quickly develop. However, her time on the field has not been without some funny hiccups.

"I’m a little bit of a clumsy player so I’ve had some hilarious moments at training. For example, I was running backwards for a mark without realising there was a fence behind me and just flipped over the fence."

"I love just having a laugh with all the girls I’ve played with but also learning more about the game from them."

Soriah and sister, Seraphina (pictured right) - image kindly supplied by Soriah.

From then on Soriah became a Falcon and, within her first season, she was already finding some success. Included in this success was a spot in the 2019 Southern Football League Women’s (SFLW) Association side, where she went on to receive the Belinda Howden Medal as the Best on Ground.

"I feel that Flaggys has just given me so many opportunities in footy; from just playing and enjoying the sport to playing for SFL in Association then the Country Champs."

"The club itself strives to amplify women’s footy and I’ve gained a lot of support from them with my footy.

"Last year we had so many girls from flagstaff hill move into the SANFLW, and I think it goes to show Flagstaff Hill are doing right regarding developing their girls and supporting them to take the step further.

"I love walking around the club and there are lots of people that love to say hello and chat about the Flaggys games. I’ve made some very close friends at Flaggys and we love to just gym and talk footy.

"The coaches and the girls there make playing there so enjoyable. Pete Cavouras, Dean Renfrey and Michael Hegarty, for developing my very poor skills and believing in me."

From this Association Game, she was selected for the Southern Districts side that took part in and won the 2019 South Australian Country Championships.

“Playing in Port Pirie with the Southern District girls was such a fun experience, especially because I was so new to the footy and then making the Team of the Championships.”

Not only was this a dream start to her footballing journey, but the 2019 SFLW season also saw Soriah face off against her younger sister, Seraphina Moon.

“We started at the same time. She has some paramedic friends from work who plays at Cove. So that’s why she moved there. I liked the convenience of being so close to home, so I chose Flaggys.”

This sibling rivalry provided the basis for her favourite football moment, one which she rates higher than the Southern Districts appearance or the SANFLW debut.

“My all-time favourite moment would be playing against my little sister in my first season and tackling her down. Then driving home together laughing about that moment in the game.”

This down-to-earth and wholesome attitude of Soriah also explains why she became a teammate favourite, both at Glenelg and South Adelaide.

'Soriah tackling Seraphina' - image kindly supplied by Soriah.

After tackling her sister during her debut football season and making a mark within the SFLW, she was welcomed back to the Glenelg Tigers where, during 2020, she averaged 9 disposals and 4 tackles during her debut SANFLW season.

“I would like to thank my good friend Lucy Armitage from Glenelg for suggesting to me to play. Also, Jason Fairall, the Glenelg coach, for encouraging me to play and see where it takes me.”

At the end of the 2020 SANFLW season, Soriah returned to Flagstaff Hill where she would become an SFLW premiership player. She was also named the Best on Ground during the 2020 Grand Final.

After two strong seasons of football, Soriah then went from being a Tiger to becoming a Panther, as she made the move to South Adelaide.

The season was great. The girls were so fun and lovely. I loved having Brocky as a coach again, but all the coaches were so helpful. I felt like my skills and game awareness really improved throughout the season.”

“I remember the first kick builders training where I was really hesitant to kick short kicks, as they would either go too far or off-line, but at the end of the season, I saw so much improvement. The club was really welcoming, and I felt like I was a part of the South family.

“The season itself was a little inconsistent when we played. But I always took some new learning point or skill away from every game and tried to apply it to the next game.”

As mentioned earlier, it was at the Panthers where she was reunited with her 2020 Flagstaff Hill Premiership coach.

“Andrew Brockhurst had a big impact in my footy development the last 2 seasons both at Flagstaff Hill and South Adelaide. The feedback and time he took to teach me have been invaluable.”

One match that really stood out to Soriah during her debut season with South Adelaide was the Panthers Round Seven clash against Woodville-West Torrens at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval.

“I think we were losing at halftime, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘I can do it if I just go a little harder’.”

“And I just found myself crumbing my taps, tackling the players, trying risky kicks, which paid off. That game really brought my confidence in my game up. I started to believe in my ability that I could impact games.”

Perhaps typifying her team-first mindset, her favourite moments of the 2021 SANFLW season were not ones that she herself performed.

“My all-time favourite moments though weren’t particularly of things I did but when my favourite forward Jorja Hooper took monster marks and kicked goals.”

This mindset is further highlighted with the number of people she would like to thank for impacting her relatively new but considerable successful three years of football.

“I would like to thank all my teammates, from Flagstaff Hill, Glenelg and South Adelaide, that I have played with. They have all taught me so much about the game and their support-friendship has made me enjoy the game so much more.”

Also, “every single line coach that has had to put up with me always asking what I’m supposed to be doing and always asking for help”.

"And lastly my number 1 supporters, my sisters. My little sister will often come watch me then tell me all the good things I did, even when I had an off game, which really boosted my confidence."

South Adelaide images were kindly supplied by SAFC Media.

So what is the next chapter for this Southern Star?

“I think, just to get back out and keep improving. The last game of the season left a bit of a sour taste, a broken heart, but I think for myself and the South girls the desire to just get back out there and improve is very strong.”'

“I’m just excited to see what other areas of the game I can improve.”

South Adelaide seems to be gifted at finding talented rucks, with the club having four SANFL and SANFLW rucks drafted over the past four years.

Now they have Soriah Moon who, within just three seasons, has developed into a strong performer within the SANFLW, which is highlighted by her inclusion in this year’s SANFLW All-Stars match.

And her passion and dedication mean that she will only continue to get better with time.

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Article #183

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South Adelaide Soriah images have been kindly supplied by SAFC Media.

None of these photographs is owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player or SAFC Media.

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