TWO clubs. Two All-Australian selections. One club best and fairest. One premiership.
Olivia Purcell has managed to pack a lot into 50 games, a milestone she’ll reach this weekend when Melbourne faces her former side, Geelong, in a semi-final.
Reaching the milestone against her old club is a full circle moment, with the Cats being the club to kickstart her AFLW journey.
After an impressive junior career, named in the TAC Cup's "Team of the Year" and in the 2018 AFLW Under-18 All-Australian representative team, Purcell officially got her senior start in 2018.
The then 18-year-old was drafted to Geelong with pick No.14 at the National Draft and quickly made an impact at the Cats, making her AFLW debut in Round 1 of the 2019 season.
Within 12 months of her debut, she would become a club best and fairest and an All-Australian, her 2020 season rocketing her to a new level of stardom.
During this 2020 campaign, Purcell registered career-high numbers including an average of 11.6 contested possessions, five clearances and a goal tally of four across six games.
She made the move to Melbourne at the end of 2021 as part of the Sign and Trade Period, and while her on-field impact didn’t come for another six months (due to an ACL injury), her potential at the red and blue was palpable.
The fiery midfield made her debut for the Dees during Round 7 of season six, and hasn’t dropped a game since, becoming a determined inside mid that showcases week in, week out, her brute will to win.
She had arguably her best individual campaign last season, earning her second all-Australian selection and finishing fourth in the league’s best and fairest count.
To top off the season, she became an inaugural premiership player for Melbourne, writing her name into the history books alongside her Demon teammates.
This year, the 23-year-old has continued to impress in the red and blue, averaging a team-high 21.6 disposals and 11.3 contested possessions.
This weekend, Purcell will run out for the 50th time and the milestone match will be a pressure-filled one, the two teams having a lot to play for - a spot in a preliminary final.