K rock Football

Jess what the doctor ordered for Eagles

Jess Foley contests the ruck for Adelaide during a match against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium earlier this year. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

NEWTOWN & Chilwell has made the biggest signing in the short history of women’s football in the Geelong region with Adelaide premiership player Jess Foley joining the Eagles’ ahead of their planned entry into the AFL Barwon senior competition next year.

A star basketballer, who represented Australia following an impressive US College career with Duke University, the 37-year-old was a late convert to Australian Rules, with the Crows snapping up the 183cm Foley in the 2018 AFLW draft.

She played 13 games in two seasons for Adelaide, including the 2019 grand final win over Carlton.

Newly-installed Newtown & Chilwell coach Simon Cavallo says a chance meeting between Foley, who is a qualified doctor and working at a local medical centre, and Eagles’ great Craig Morrissy at Elderslie Reserve proved crucial.

“Craig’s our junior women’s coordinator, and he crossed paths with Jess while she was walking her dog,” Cavallo said.

“He passed her phone number on to me, and I was fortunate to have a lengthy conversation with her.

“She’s excited to join the club, and I’m more excited to have her on board.”

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Foley is one of three high-level basketballers joining the club.

Sarah Elsworthy, who played with Foley at WNBL club Adelaide Lightning, and Bellarine Big V player Olivia Fuller have also signed.

Cavallo said Foley doesn’t have an official role outside of playing at this stage, but he says he will be tapping into her knowledge having spent more than half her life in elite sport.

However, he won’t be using Foley’s name as a lure for recruits.

“I will continue to contact former juniors about returning to the club,” Cavallo said.

“We’ll just focus on bringing in good people and creating a good culture because that’s the foundation of a good football side and a good football club.

“We’re lucky to feed off what Newtown already has in place.

“So, if we can feed off the existing great culture, I’m sure we’ll do well.”

Twitter: @tom_king79