Newcastle star Sarah Halvorsen is set to make her AFL Women’s debut this weekend for the GWS Giants, as the Sydney team heads south to Wagga Wagga to face Richmond in the league’s fifth round.
Halvorsen, who was drafted with pick 61 in the 2019 AFLW Draft after starring for Newcastle City in the AFLHCC Black Diamond Cup Women’s competition for most of her career, has been named to start in the interchange for the top-flight side.
The Hunter star, who said playing with the Giants was a “rare opportunity” she wants to take advantage of, was first involved with Greater Western Sydney last year. She played most of the season with the club’s VFL Women’s roster.
“It made me want it more, and it gave me the extra drive to get to this point,” Halvorsen told Giants Media after she was drafted.
“I got butterflies and was excited because you don’t really expect that ever to happen, it’s pretty crazy,” she added about playing for the starting side.
“I never really expected to be able to play AFLW this year and I just never thought it would be this good. I think they are the best club around. I got my chance, and I’m pretty happy that I got my chance here.”
Giants coach Alan McConnell said Halvorsen’s rise from the Hunter & Central Coast comp was “a great story.” After the 24-year-old had spent the past three or four years knocking at the door, McConnell finally knew it was time to get her out on the park.
“Sarah’s probably tried to make an AFLW list now for three or four years,” McConnell said.
“She’s a young woman who commutes, every time we train, from Newcastle. She has a fantastic job up there as an engineer and has made an amazing commitment to become a semi-professional footballer.”
McConnell also added that Halvorsen wouldn’t be a “like-for-like swap” with injured forward Yvonne Bonner, who she is replacing, despite the Newcastle star playing most of her career in the attacking line for City and the Hunter rep sides.
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“At this stage I’m not exactly sure where she will finish up, where she will ultimately play, but probably generally ahead of the ball and I’m really excited about what she’ll bring on the weekend and what she’ll bring going forward,” he said.
Halvorsen joins Nelson Bay’s Lisa Steane and Hunter-born Rebecca Beeson in the orange and black this weekend in Wagga Wagga. Beeson has been named in the side’s ruck, while Steane will start in her usual center position.
The Giants will need to pick up the victory this weekend too, as they continue to hunt for finals footy in 2020. GWS are currently fourth in Conference A with a 2–2 record. They most recently lost to Brisbane, 7.9–51 to 3.5–23.
The Giants’ match against the Tigers begins at Robertson Oval in Wagga Wagga from 5.10pm on Saturday, March 7. The match is expected to be televised by FOXTEL and Kayo Sports while entry on the day is also free.