Zoe Venning - the Bright Blood
'Just to make sure it’s always fun , to just keep striving to get better and enjoy playing with your team mates because you meet amazing people through this sport.'
After falling short on the last two occasions, 2020 saw the Bloods finally experience finals footy for the first time—and they did so in style with a thumping semi-final win over Norwood.
If there is anything that we can take from the Bloods, it is that they have no shortage of young talent, and while they didn’t make the big dance this year—we are sure that these young guns will make them quite a threat in the not so distant future.
One of the players at the forefront of West Adelaide’s young arsenal is none other than Zoe Venning.
Zoe’s footballing journey began back in 2016 when she strapped on the footy boots to play with Mitcham’s U13s, and it was here that she would experience her first bit of success as she would go onto play in a Premiership with Mitcham that same season.
The following year saw Zoe join Blackwood, and her accolades certainly followed as she would go onto play in a three-peat of Blackwood Premierships from 2017 to 2019—from which she was named as the Best on Ground during both the 2018 and 2019 Grand Finals.
‘My favourite footy memory was the Premiership with Blackwood in 2018. We were not expected to win the game and I had some friends in the other team and a bit of rivalry was between the two teams.
‘It was just the best feeling after the game celebrating with everyone you have worked so hard with.’
It wasn’t only team success that Zoe was finding either, as she also came runner-up in both the 2018 and 2019 association medal count.
But as well as club level success, she was also finding success at state level—as Zoe would don the colours of South Australia’s U15s in 2017 and 2018, as well as the South Australian U16s in 2019.
With success in both state and club level football, Zoe managed to take it to the next level as she was selected into the 2018 U15 All Australian team.
‘It was very surprising as I did not think I would achieve such an accolade. I had many amazing players around me who were very skill full footballers and were all just as deserving to get All Australian.’
With multiple state appearances and an All Australian selection, it is not surprising that the following year saw Zoe don the colours of the Bloods for the first time.
Her debut SANFLW season in 2019 started with a Round One debut in which she collected ten touches, four tackles and a goal.
She played rather consistent during her debut season which is especially impressive considering she was just 15 at the time—that was until she hit a new level in Round Nine when she collected a total of 14 disposals, four tackles and three marks in a performance that earned her a Breakthrough Nomination.
She would finish off a standout 2019 by winning the Bloods U17s Most Valuable Player award and gain a spot in the Port Adelaide Academy.
As for her first two seasons with the Bloods, Zoe describes it as being ‘Great’.
‘Westies has always felt like club I’m more then welcome to come to. The best part about playing for the bloods is that team first attitude everyone has for one another.
‘All the coaches I have had have been really positive and right behind me in regard to my development throughout football. They have continually provided opportunities to play at the best level I can.
‘As I am a younger girl in the squad the experienced player has been so welcoming to me and have taught me what it takes to be at the next level.
‘Also being in a squad with many other girls my age I have made some really good friend that will be my mates for the rest of life.’
Considering majority of her sporting life has been spent playing netball, it makes that almost instant success in football even more special. But as for how she made an impact so quickly, she puts it down to a few people—coupled with her own high level of dedication and passion.
‘I would thank my parents as they are the best ever with supporting me. Especially my dad as he continually helps me to get better and is always at every single game I play and training.
‘My dad had a massive influence on my decision to play footy. He always encouraged me to try footy out and have loved it since.
‘I would also like to thank every coach I have had and all the teammates I have had as they have been amazing.’
So, what is next for this extremely promising Westies product?
‘My goals for going forward would have to be to just keep improving and see where footy takes me.’
And after having another great season of SANFLW football this year, ‘I’m looking forward to another good season at westies and just to have my team play some good footy in the 2021 season’.
While we are sure that the Bloods will be amongst the league leaders again in 2021, we are certain that Zoe Venning will continue to be forefront—that is until she reaches the top tier in the not so distant future.
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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.