HomeAFLRetiring AFLW Player Reveals Barriers For Elite Female Athletes

Retiring AFLW Player Reveals Barriers For Elite Female Athletes


Retiring AFLW Player Reveals Barriers For Elite Female Athletes

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fter announcing her retirement from the AFLW, former Collingwood player, Sharni Norder, told the ABC the AFLW needs to be held over a full season with full-time contracts for athletes.

Norder said women athletes are struggling to keep up with elite sport and outside sport work commitments, suggesting she would not have retired if she didn’t have to build her career outside of elite sport.

“As a female athlete, we’re not supported enough to continue to play, we only play nine games a year,” Norder told the ABC.

“Could I have player another year?


“But if I did that, I’d be 35 then looking into going into a new career.

“And for me, I want to set up my life outside of sport and not be chasing my tail with finances for the rest of my life.

“You just can’t juggle work and [elite sport] at the same time.

“I was fortunate enough to be a full-time athlete when I was a netballer and I understand how much time and effort it takes, and I couldn’t do that [and a career outside of sport].

“And so, whilst people watching on the outside are like, ‘you’re still playing well, we don’t understand’…

“No you don’t, because I know what it takes to put into it.

“And whilst I’m working full time, I can’t.

“And whilst these women are having to work full time and play, they’re tired.

“I’m not talking about the 21-year-olds and 22-year-olds who are studying and living at home and don’t have to worry about rent and mortgage and all the rest of it.

“It’s 28-year-olds-plus who are looking at their careers outside of playing.

“They might be a doctor, might be a paramedic.

“We have two paramedics in our team along, and to be able to go to work for a 10-hour day and then go to training after, you’re just buggered.

“I know that’s probably not the most technical term, but it’s tiring and it wears you down,” she said.

The discussion comes following the AFLW Grand Final on Saturday, with Norder saying the league needs to become a full-time commitment for it to improve further.

“You need a full pre-season, which we don’t have,” Norder said.

“In the off-season, we don’t have access to a gym.

“We obviously don’t get paid during that time.

“You have to do extra work and then try to keep up the training, and then they wonder why it takes us five or six rounds to get into the season, but we only play for nine games.

“So it’s about having a full pre-season so we can train all year around and be full-time athletes like I was in netball.

“And then on top of that, we need a full season to be able to play everyone, minimum once.

“[The AFL Commission] are going to want to keep building in the rest of the teams, but if they do that you need to extend the season.

“I’m really looking forward, especially after the hype around the AFLW and the grand final, to what the AFL are going to do with that,” she said.

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