13 Sep Jessica Dal Pos achieving her giant footy dreams
When AFLW player Jess Dal Pos signed the contract with the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants, the emotion of the moment hit her like a tonne of bricks. She had finally achieved her lifelong dream of playing footy professionally, and there was only one way she wanted to celebrate.
“I phoned my dad straight after and I burst into tears and I told him “Dad, I’ve actually done it, we’ve done it, we’ve got a Dal Pos in an AFL team”,” she recalled.
It was the most surreal thing ever, I couldn’t believe it, and dad actually took work off to get me, and we went and had a quiet beer in the pub to celebrate.
Born into a family passionate about footy, Jess describes her journey in the sport a ‘fairytale pathway’. Joining her brother’s AFL club during her junior years, and encouraged by both her parents to pursue the sport, Jess was convinced she was going to play the sport as a career.
Jess soon joined the successful Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL) team, the Darebin Falcons, eventually playing as part of their Premiership-winning outfit in 2016 and 2017.
“Playing at Darebin and being in the VWFL, we were always in the loop about what was going on, and everything we’d achieved up until now has been very player driven and driven by the people heavily involved in female footy,” Jess said on the build-up to the AFLW.
We were always aware that we were probably going to go somewhere with it but we’d go out to clinics or talk to little girls at schools and their parents, and we never had an end goal or a reason why their daughters should play footy.
“Now, we’ve got that AFLW benchmark, which has genuinely changed the face of footy.”
After over a decade of playing with the Darebin Falcons, Jess played her final game with the team at the end of August 2018, and she said the time she spent with the club in growing as a player and a person has to be her proudest achievement.
“Everything I’ve ever been involved in at that club, from premierships to social justice issues, the roots we have in our local community is what I am the most proud of,” she said.
“I’ve only been able to achieve this goal because I was at Darebin with amazing female role models for my entire adolescence.”
Growing up in an Italian family also played a significant role in shaping Jess into the person she is today, who credits much of her success to her loved ones.
As everyone knows, Italians love food and we use it as an excuse to get together, spend time together, celebrate things and just talk to each other.
“I think we learn a lot through sharing food and experiences and conversations, so it’s literally what we take into our footy club to understand how to function in a large group of people full of different personalities,” she explained.
For the future of AFLW, Jess hopes to see more opportunities for the teams to play, and encourages other women, no matter their age or ability, to join in and play.
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