A ONE-POINT victory on the final siren for Blackburn in the 2017 Eastern Football League Under 18s Grand Final is her fondest memory, but now Oakleigh Chargers’ ruck Bridie Winbanks eyes a more memorable event come year’s end. Winbanks has had a consistent season in the TAC Cup Girls, leading to Vic Metro selection for the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships, as well as donning the sash in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.
Winbanks recalls her journey of going from local football to the highest state level football in the matter of a few years.
“I got asked by a friend to come down to her local team in 2015 and played six games with them and absolutely loved it after coming 10 years from basketball,” she said. “Then I got selected to do Sandringham Dragons for a year and then made it to the Vic Metro team. “Then I went to Oakleigh Chargers and I’ve stayed with Oakleigh Chargers, and I’ve just been selected to play with Essendon VFL.”
Winbanks said debuting for Essendon had its challenges, but throughly enjoyed the experience.
“It’s a great competition to be in, the bodywork for the girls is much bigger than TAC, but the game even though faster pace is such a good game to play,” she said.
The 184cm ruck does not turn 18 until October, but she has already competed against more experienced bodies and hoped to continue her development throughout 2017.
“I’d say my strength is that I use my body well when I’m in a contest,” Winbanks said. “But the thing I’d like to work on would be probably my hands, marking a bit better and kicking accuracy. “(My goal is) to be selected to be drafted later on in the year to show that I can play football and that I can play at the next level.”
Winbanks thanked the staff at the Chargers for understanding her many commitments, which includes studying in Year 11 this year.
“They’re very understandable, because I have exams coming up they understand if I have to not be fully committed to the trainings at the moment, though I’m in Year 11, I’m still able to do my study and they understand that and respect that I’ve got school,” she said. “I’ve finally got a balance for it. “I work twice a week and I do school five times a week. “But I’ve just started to work together with football, but it is late nights trying to put it all together.”
Her passion for sport runs deep, with Winbanks insistent on remaining in the industry regardless of her draft outcome.
“I’d like to be a secondary PE teacher,” she said. “So besides football, I’d still like to stay in the sporting industry and do something related to sport. “Either teaching or teaching people how to play football or any other sporting things really.”
But for now, Winbanks’ focus is just on improving after a really solid start to the year and her experiences which have lead her to enjoy 2018.
“I think it’s (most enjoyable part of 2018) just moving forward to see even though that there’s more options open in football,” she said. “Now I’m getting older, I’m now able to go into those new levels and being able to go into those teams and now that I’ve been selected to play for Essendon. “See where that leads and hopefully into AFL at the end of the year.”