THE journey rather than the destination has driven Gippsland Power and Vic Country versatile tall, Shanara Notman. The talented athlete has tried her hand at basketball, netball and athletics; still involved in the first two as well as the oblong shaped ball sport.
Not many outside the Gippsland Power pathway would have known much about the key position defender who has proven more than capable up forward or in the ruck as the 2019 AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships attest. The reason was the fact Notman chose not to play last year, focusing on basketball after an initially successful V/Line Cup carnival where playing for the Power, held her own against fellow dual-athlete Lucy Cripps on that day.
Returning to the NAB League Girls system, Notman had a strong return when she played the opening game of the season, before getting into the groove in the final three matches, averaging 12.3 disposals and 2.7 marks per game. Her best match came in the final round, racking up 18 disposals, five marks and seven rebounds against Calder Cannons to really show off some of her athletic attributes.
Notman said she always enjoyed football, but the fact there were “no options” to play football as a young girl, opted for basketball which was her favourite sport at the time.
“I started around just as a little kid kicking around with my brothers and then didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “I played more basketball and netball, and then I saw there was a pathway through Gippsland Power and then saw that the AFL was bringing in women’s league and I only started playing the last year or the year before.”
Speaking to Notman in the pre-season, she had not placed any expectations on her season.
“Not sure (where I want to get to), hopefully make the VFL,” Notman said. “Some of the girls will make VFL and some of the girls will make the draft, but I’m just there to enjoy it with the girls.”
Notman praised the work of Gippsland Power’s Female Talent Manager Chelsea Caple and Head Coach Scott Armour who had helped work with her and further develop her footballing abilities. Whilst she said her positioning was strong, she just had to piece everything together transferring her skills from basketball to Australian Rules football.
She certainly did that, earning a place on Vic Country’s list for the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships on the Gold Coast. There, Notman impressed through the ruck and up forward, booting a goal and providing a presence in the forward half of the ground. She also ticked off the box for making the VFLW, signing with Casey Demons for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Whilst Notman was not sure what the season held at the beginning of the year, she would be pleased with how it has panned out, particularly over the past couple of months and now she just looks ahead to see what the future holds.