Sarah Halvorsen has long-dominated the AFL Hunter Central Coast competition, spurring Newcastle City on to a handful of championships since the foundation of the women’s league half a decade ago.
Although she’s been donning the orange and white of the Greater Western Sydney Giants semi-regularly in the past VFLW season, Halvorsen still admits it was a “big shock” when her name was read out during the 2020 AFLW draft.
“When I got drafted with the Giants, it was just super exciting… I never really expected it,” she admitted to Giants media. “I had been training with them for a bit, but it was still a really big shock, so that was just really exciting.”
Sarah’s name was called for the 61st pick of the draft, after fellow Hunter star Lisa Steane had been scooped up by the Giants just 38 players before.
Now, she’s hard at work in the competition’s preseason. The 2020 season is looming on the horizon, and Halvorsen—and the rest of the team, of course—are already bracing for their raft of challenging matchups in the new campaign.
The Giants have been seeded into conference A following their third-place finish in the B-side pool last season. Three losses and just two wins relegated the GWS squad to a finals-less end to the year, and Halvorsen wants to see that change.
“The premiership is definitely the end goal,” she said, but admitted she still has a ways to go before she feels like she’s personally ready to step out onto the oval.
“It’s my first year, so my own goal is to learn from all the girls who have been involved in the AFLW before, and get the most out of it. Most of the girls have a lot of experience,” she added, and broke into a smile. “Then, the premiership.”
Settling into AFLW life isn’t the only challenge the 24-year-old is set to navigate in 2020 either, however. She’s mid-way through a cadet engineering role with the Newcastle City council, and isn’t packing it in just for the AFLW.
Read more recent news
- W-League lieutenant Ash Wilson to step in as Jets interim head coach
- Hall, Gibson lead Tasmania to back-to-back wins in WNCL double-header
- Anderson opens 2020 WSL qualifying campaign with top-eight finish
That leaves her commuting down to Sydney for Giants training sessions, and eventually the matchday fixtures too. It’s a long slog from the Hunter to the ‘big city,’ Halvorsen agrees, but one that’s worth it for both her careers.
“At the moment I’m living in Newcastle and training in Sydney, yeah, and I think I’m one of the only girls that really lives that far away,” she said.
“One of the reasons I decided to stay in Newcastle and drive was to stay with my job, I’ve been there for a couple of years and they’re so supportive and flexible. Sometimes my dad takes me so I can do uni and do my assignments during the commute.”
For now, however, the AFLW star has her eyes firmly fixed of GWS’s upcoming challenges, including her very first foray into the sport’s top flight.
The team begins its 2020 campaign against new entry the Gold Coast Suns on February 8, before heading south to take on third-placed North Melbourne the next weekend. West Coast, Brisbane, and Richmond are all on the menu soon too.
Nelson Bay star Steane will also be involved in the Giants’ bid for the finals. Lisa played a key role with Macquarie University on the way to a 2019 premiership in the Sydney competition, and will slot into the midfield for GWS.
Hunter-born Rebecca Beeson, who was named the club’s best player for 2019, is also expected to return to the midfield for the Giants.