It’s been a massive couple of months for Collingwood’s cross-coder Ash Brazill, who has again been juggling two elite sporting programs for the second year in a row.
The footballing convert has just come off an outstanding season with Collingwood’s AFLW team, alongside a tough netball pre-season program over the summer.
“I think it’s harder just focussing on one sport,” Brazill told collingwoodfc.com.au.
“It was nice to have the two so that when footy got too much, I had netball there and vice versa.”
In just her second year in AFLW, Brazill proved one of the Pies’ best in 2019.
The 29-year-old finished runner-up in the club best and fairest and was also named in the AFLW All-Australian Team, as well as finishing third overall in the AFLW MVP Award.
But the defender says the award she most treasures was being named Collingwood’s Players' Player, an award that was voted by her teammates.
“Having that recognition from your teammates, it was truly an honour, and in my opinion it’s the biggest award you can receive,” Brazill said.
Juggling the two programs
Although she’s sustained concussions in netball games before, Brazill says the one she suffered in Collingwood’s AFLW match against Fremantle was definitely the worst.
“Straight after it happened, I was taken to the bench and talking to the physios, I didn’t know where I was or what I was doing.
“I thought it was three years ago when I was playing for West Coast Fever which was pretty scary.”
The injury saw the star miss an entire week of netball training.
“The first day I tried to leave the house I walked 100 metres and started vomiting.
“My netball team and coaches were so understanding and supportive at that stage because I felt like I’d never be able to play again.”
What’s in store for the new look Magpies?
With the football season finished, Brazill’s sole focus now shifts to the Suncorp Super Netball season.
The Magpies have a new coach and a fresh line-up, and Brazill says she’s excited to see what the team can achieve in 2019.
“With the likes of us now having Geva Mentor, Kelsey Browne and Nat Medhurst, who have brought so much experience and energy, there’s a really good feeling around the group and the team is in such a good place,” Brazill smiled.
Likely to take to the court for her 200th match this season, Brazill says she’s aiming to improve in her tenth year of elite netball.
“I’ve learnt so much from Rob over the last couple of months and that excites me, so I’m eager to see where my game can go.”
Who to keep your eye on
Brazill says Kim Ravaillion is preparing for her best season yet.
“Her game in this off-season has been outstanding and I haven’t seen her enjoy her netball this much before.
“She’s super-fit and super-strong, so she’s definitely someone to watch in 2019.”
Round One Against the Lightning
As the Magpies prepare for Saturday’s round one clash against the reigning premiers, the Sunshine Coast Lightning, Brazill says it will be a great opportunity for the Pies to utilise their many strong combinations on court.
“We’re lucky that there won’t be a clear starting seven and it will rather come down to who’s going to be the better match up come game day.
“Win or lose, this team is strong and really to tackle anything that comes its way.”