FOR many that followed the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, it would be hard to believe that one of the overall tournament Most Valuable Players (MVPs) and indeed Vic Country’s MVP, had only taken up the sport a couple of years earlier. But for the equally quick and tough Nina Morrison, that is exactly what happened.
“The first time I played footy was about two years ago, there was a Talent ID day down at Deakin which dad said I should get down to and should give it a try,” she said. “I didn’t really know much about it or what it was going to involve but from there got asked to join the (Geelong) Falcons and it’s just escalated from there.”
Morrison has been one of the biggest improvers over the past two years, shooting from a virtual beginner, to one of the top players in the competition, showing off her trademark pace and physical presence around the ground for both Geelong and Vic Country. She said she has always enjoyed the physical aspects that football brings, as well as the team bonding which the sport allows when the group of girls run out together each week. Morrison has been developing her fundamentals and looking to become the most complete player she can, working on her non-dominant side, and her cleanliness at ground level.
When asked earlier in the year, Morrison was just looking forward to playing her role at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, it is fair to say she did that and more.
“It’s really exciting (getting selected for Vic Country),” she said pre-carnival. “I’m hoping to play some good footy at the Championships and then progress after that.”
Her form at the national carnival has certainly seen her progress in many people’s eyes and she has also thanked those at the Falcons and AFL Women’s Academy, who have really honed in on her abilities and worked on the areas she hopes to build.
“It’s been awesome,” she said. “Being exposed to that elite environment (AFL Women’s Academy). “The support networks you have through that and the mentor coaches and that are such as high calibre there, it’s really cool and really exciting.”
Morrison said the goal was to get drafted, but she also kept a level head when it came to her future, understanding how the system worked, and that there were always opportunities in the future.
“Yeah it would be really cool to get drafted at the end of the year if that was to happen,” she said. “But obviously there’s opportunities to be in the system still after that and get drafted in future years, but that would be the ultimate goal (this year).”
It has been a memorable year for Morrison, who prior to her success at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, celebrated a premiership with the Geelong Falcons. The Falcons went undefeated after dropping just the one game last year, and Morrison said the amount of talent at the club was testament to the quality of female footballers coming through the area, and the development within the walls at Geelong.
“It’s been a really good season this year,” Morrison said. “Compared to last season we’ve just improved even more and I think we’ve got a really solid core, so we don’t just rely on a few players, we have really solid depth which I think has allowed us to get where we are.”
Now it is a bit of a waiting game for Morrison leading up to this year’s AFL Women’s draft, but after a big season which brought many accolades and accomplishments both individually and as a team, it will just be a matter of continuing to develop in any way she can to be the best possible footballer.