K rock Football

Sophie’s juggling act

Geelong AFL Women’s draftee Sophie Van De Huevel. (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett)

GEELONG AFLW draftee Sophie Van De Huevel has been given the green light to juggle her football and cricket commitments by the Cats.

The Ballarat product was snapped up with the second pick in Tuesday’s National Draft by Geelong but will continue to pull on the whites for Victorian Premier Women’s team Essendon-Maribyrnong Park and hopes to represent Victoria at the under-18 national championships in January.

“I’ll try balance both; they’re pretty flexible in letting me play both,” Van De Huevel said.

“I’ll play every Sunday basically now. It’s going to be pretty crazy, but we’ll see how it goes.”

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Coach Paul Hood says drafting Van De Huevel despite her cricket commitments never came into question for the Cats.

“The two players in women’s football with the biggest cricket commitments are Emma Kearney and Jess Duffin, and they’re going pretty well,” he said.

“So, no, it didn’t put us off at all.

“Sophie’s a talented player, and we’re looking forward to supporting her develop all her talents in all areas and making her the best footy player she can be.”

Van De Huevel was one of three players drafted by Geelong from the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, with Georgia Clarke (pick No.24) and Rene Caris (pick No.35) also nabbed by the Cats.

Clarke is no stranger to Geelong, having played four games during the VFLW season.

“They asked me to tick the (Geelong only draft nomination) box, so I did that,” she said.

“It was pretty handy going into the draft knowing that only they could pick me.

“I’m very excited and happy that I’m going to Geelong; I couldn’t be any happier.”

Clarke says the chance to play at VFL level has been crucial for her development.

“Playing against younger bodies, I was quite tall out there, and it wasn’t too hard to jump over some of those smaller ones,” she said.

“But there’s a lot of taller ones and bigger bodies out in women’s (football).

“I learnt I need to be stronger in the contest and stuff like that.”

Caris is a developing ruckman who admits she was caught off-guard by having her name called out by the Cats.

“They had given me nothing,” she said. “I’m so happy, but I didn’t know what to expect today.

“But to get to the Cats is amazing.”

The Ballarat Grammar student says aside from a year of Auskick, she only got into footy after moving from Horsham to complete her schooling.

“I went down to boarding school in Year 10, and all these kids from farms decided to join a casual girls footy team,” Caris said.

“We were playing with all our friends, and we just loved it.

“So I played two games a year and then got into TAC Cup.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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