From college basketball in the United States to now a rookie on Melbourne’s AFLW list, Eliza West is certainly kicking goals in whichever sport she puts her mind to.
Melbourne Media took the opportunity to sit down with West to discuss her rookie listing, what got her into football, and the excitement of being a part of Casey’s first VFLW side to make finals.
“It feels great. I think all the girls should be excited about being a part of this team to make the finals,” West said.
“It goes to show that all of our hard work and training throughout the season and all the extras we have done like the satellite sessions are paying off.
“If everybody believes in themselves and performs how we know we should play the game, and play with courage, I think we will be hard to beat.
“I don’t think we should go in there expecting we might win or we might not. We should be expecting that we are going to play well, we’re going to do our thing and win.”
West certainly hasn’t missed a beat moving into the world of football.
Currently ranked fourth for disposals in the VFLW with an average of 22.1 per game and second in handballs, averaging 10 per game, she is consistently performing week in and out for the Demons.
“All the girls from the start have been really helpful and patient with me,” West said.
“I’ve made a lot of mistakes being my first year, but everyone has been able to assist me.
“Peter Mercoulia (Casey Demons VFLW Coach) in particular has put in a lot of work with me, before training doing plenty of skills, and he’s been a huge part in developing my game.
“And then my Dad has played a really big part too. Since starting football, he will go out and have a kick with me, watches footage and talks to me all the time about where I should be and what to do on the field and has helped so much.
"I owe it to everyone who has been assisting me and making it possible to constantly perform this year."
West is no stranger to professional sports, with a background in both basketball and touch football. Still currently playing basketball in the NBL1 for the Knox Raiders, she is juggling both commitments.
“It’s definitely manageable, I’ve gotten better at it as I’ve gone along,” West said.
“I have to be really organised, and everybody is very accommodating and helpful; for instance, when I need to leave early or do a lighter training load or assisting me with recovery.
“I was asked to come and try football out and wasn’t really sure at first. I used to play touch football, so after I finished college basketball, I was going to go back and play.
“When football was an option at Casey, I thought I might as well give it a go and if I didn’t like it, I could just go back to touch football. I’ve loved it ever since and I have no regrets giving it a go.”
Despite a busy life of professional sports and study, West’s hard work has resulted in being offered a rookie contract from Melbourne’s AFLW team.
And while she is eager to start her AFLW career, there’s unfinished business this VFLW season.
“I’m super excited about it, and really stoked,” West said.
“I’m very thankful that I’ve been given this opportunity (to play AFLW) and I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to start training with all the girls and getting stuck into it, as I’m feeling really positive about the whole thing.
“We have a great team and coaching staff, so everybody in the club has made this whole experience really good and I think where we are at with the season it just keeps getting better and better.
“Hopefully, with finals, we can end the season very well.”