A LATECOMER to the sport, Geelong Falcons’ key forward Sachi DeGiacomi has come a long way in a few years since taking up Aussie Rules, and now she cannot let it go.
“I started football in Year 9,” she said. “When one of my friends asked me to come play at a club and originally my parents said no, but then they finally let me play. “So I started for a bit of fun. “Then after about four weeks of playing, I got chosen to play interleague and then I’ve just taken footy a bit more serious from then.”
DeGiacomi said she was not exactly sure how she made her way to the Falcons – no doubt found through her performances at a local level – but she is glad she did. DeGiacomi spoke of overcoming adversity and growing stronger as a group to propel themselves into the grand final, and take out the premiership on the back of an unbeaten year.
“I think that last year we faced a lot of hurdles together I guess you could say,” she said. “It definitely brought us closer as a team and it’s given us a lot of motivation to do well. “I’ve loved every minute of it, it’s been just a great experience. “Especially the girls. “They’re the best group of girls this year, and last year as well.”
The centre-half forward became a mainstay in the Falcons forward line, occasionally pushing up the ground, but became the main target inside 50. Her efforts throughout the year earned her the Leading Goalkicker Award, something she is proud to win.
“It was a pretty good feeling to win the leading goal kicker,” DeGiacomi said. “It was alright that I could help get score on the board for the team.”
But it was the other award she won – Amy Gorell #30 Award – that she cherished the most. The award was established this year after Amy Gorell, a Falcon last year was tragically killed in a car accident last year. It was to be awarded to a top-age player who demonstrates the behaviours that Gorell displayed as a player and leader of the Geelong Falcons: Commitment to the team’s success; relentless in their pursuit to getting the best out of themselves; lead by example on and off the field; positively add to the team’s culture; and constantly look for ways to improve as a player and leader.
“I’m so privileged to be able to be the first person to win that award,” DeGiacomi said. “To know that the coaches see the same characteristics in me as they saw in Amy as a player, makes me extremely humbled. “I also want to say thanks to the Gorell family for sharing the award with us, and have that, because it’s a really great way to honour Amy.”
DeGiacomi said through the tragedy, the group had grown stronger and formed a close bond throughout 2018.
“Yeah definitely (it made us closer), you could tell the way we played together this year,” she said. “We definitely played like we cared for each other and I guess that really came to show in all the wins, and us taking out the premiership as well. “The big situation brought us all together and made us appreciate each other.”
For DeGiacomi, she missed out on making Vic Country’s squad for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, but it has not slowed her desire to make the most of her football career at the highest possible level.
“Yeah I’d love to keep taking my footy further and hopefully play a few more games in the VFL, or hopefully look to play AFL in the next couple of years,” DeGiacomi said.
The Geelong Falcons forward has been pleased with her contested marking and goalkicking ability in 2018, focusing on building her confidence and improving her decision making this season. DeGiacomi said she felt her development has not only come on the field, but off the field as well thanks to the club’s development staff.
“Yeah heaps of development,” she said. “I think just even just as a person. I think Jason (Armistead, TAC Cup Girls coach) focused on building us as a person, not just as a footballer. “I guess that really helped just with every day life. “I thought I really developed as a footballer as well.”
The Year 12 student has also been carefully balancing her workload, able to focus on her studies now the football season is coming to a close.
“It’s been alright (the workload),” DeGiacomi said. “The Falcons was more towards the start of the year, so now that footy has backed off a little bit, I can focus more on school towards the end of the year, and exams and stuff like that.”
DeGiacomi said her passion in sport transcended her on-field exploits and she hoped to get into the sporting industry and give back to the sport that she loved.
“I’d love just anything in sport really,” she said. “I did gymnastics for 12 years outside of footy and played basketball and I’d probably like to be a physio at a footy club once I finish playing footy.”
It might have seemed like an impossible career when she was young, but now her sights are firmly set on making the AFL Women’s in the future.
“I’ve always been supporting footy with my dad and always thought it would be great to play,” DeGiacomi said. “But I never even really played at a local level so once I started doing that in Year 9, and then I started to take footy seriously. “I think it was maybe a few years ago when all the talk of the AFL Women’s league came about, I thought that it would actually be possible and then I really aspired to do it.”