Raw ruck talent learns to juggle workload

FINDING diamonds in the rough are what every recruiter and talent manager looks for, and if Geelong’s VFL Women’s and Geelong Falcons’ trial days are anything to go by, they are finding plenty of future footballers. For ruck Zoe Inei, it was about swapping the round ball for it’s oblong counterpart.

“I played soccer for six years and then I went to the VFL Cats Women’s Trial Day and then from that I just got into it for a bit of fun with one of my friends from school,” she said. From that (Trial Day), [Geelong Falcons Female Talent Manager] Katie (Geerings) came up to me and asked if I wanted to play and was talking to me a bit about the soccer. “Then I got an email asking if I wanted to play Falcons, so that was my first season and then I played local last season and now I’ve played my second season of Falcons.”

In 2018, Inei has been a key contributor to the Falcons’ outfit, providing a strong presence around the ruck contests, but also covering the ground with her athletic nature on show. Having had the extra season under her belt, Inei is feeling more comfortable playing at the level.

“It’s been really good.,” Inei said. “It’s very good because it’s longer, last season was five weeks and now it’s nine. “So it’s been really good just so we can have extra time with the other girls, and the coaching has been really good as well, the team’s really fun.”

A raw talent with plenty of improvement left, Inei said she knew there was plenty to work on, and she was striving towards becoming the best possible player she could be.

“I think (what I’m) looking to improve on is just a bit more skills and bit more speed and decision making with the skills,” she said. “Then I think a strength of mine is more encouraging my teammates and going hard at it.”

Her decision making and balancing is something she has had to get better at, as the workload between school and football increases and she learns how to deal with everything thrown her way.

“It’s alright because I have quite a few spares at school so I get most of my stuff done at school,” Inei said. “It’s good because I just come to footy and I just squish in whatever else around other times.”

Still unsure of what she wants to do as a career pathway, she knows where she wants to go with her football.

“Well so far, I just know after that (Vic Country representation) finishes I’ll be going to play local Under 18s comp and from there I’ll just see what happens,” she said.

Her dream is to play AFL Women’s like so many others, and she has been building a nice resume in the process as she looks to become as versatile as possible.

“So I have been playing ruck mostly,” she said. “But this season Jason (Armistead, Geelong Falcons Girls coach) has been putting me forward for a rest. “That’s been good, I’m happy to just go wherever they want.”

Now Inei will focus on finishing off the year and hopefully chasing that dream she has followed since she jumped codes.

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