Sandringham Dragons forward/midfielder Georgia Ricardo advanced her NAB AFL Women’s Draft prospects quicker than she was expecting in 2017.
After overcoming injuries that impacted her football in previous years, the 18-year-old graduated to play four games for Seaford towards the end of the Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s home-and-away season, being named in the team’s best players on each occasion.
Earlier in 2017, Ricardo played all five matches for Sandringham in the inaugural TAC Cup Girls season and was subsequently named in the Team of the Year. She later represented Vic Metro in four games at the NAB AFL Women’s U18 Championships before being selected in the initial AFLW U18 All Australian squad and also played for St Bedes/Mentone Tigers in the South Metro Junior FL.
taccup.com.au spoke to Ricardo at the recent NAB AFL Women’s Draft Combine at Etihad Stadium in the lead-up to the 2017 NAB AFL Women’s Draft on Wednesday October 18.
What strengths of yours have you been using to sell yourself to AFL Women’s clubs?
- I think my kicking with both my right and left foot is something a lot of people like about me. Having that option of both sides really helps. The way I read the play is something I like to pride myself on as well.
What parts of your game do you know you’ll need to work on if you’re drafted?
- I think being a small body, (it’s about) getting a bit more power and winning the one-on-one ball. Probably just a bit more strength and a little bit of fitness as well.
Which AFL Women’s players do you particularly like to watch and model your game on?
- Lauren Arnell (Carlton / Darebin VFL Women’s) is one. She coached me as a kid, so that helped me. Daisy Pearce (Melbourne / Darebin) – one of the big names. One of my friends actually plays – Nat Plane (Carlton / Seaford VFL Women’s). We get along very well so I’ve sort of looked at her.
How would you assess your 2017 season?
- I had a successful season this year coming back from a fair few setbacks. (I had) a few injuries which caused me to miss out on state teams and a couple of other little things I had to overcome. This year has sort of gone to plan really well. It’s given me a really good opportunity this year, so we’ll see what happens.
What expectations did you have for yourself at the start of the year?
- Not many. I wasn’t really aiming for being here right now (at the Draft Combine), but the good run I had of making a lot of different teams has helped me get here. I was always sort of aiming to be at the Combine and get drafted next year, so this year’s a bonus if I happen to get picked up.
How did you find the transition from TAC Cup Girls to VFL Women’s this year?
- Not too bad. There was a bit of a step up. I think just the bigger bodies were something I had to get used to, but once you played your first game you sort of got comfortable with that.
What do you think was your best individual performance of the year?
- Probably out on Etihad Stadium in the U18 State of Origin game. I had a good run-down tackle which helped us get a goal, so I was happy with that.
Which VFL Women’s or TAC Cup Girls opponents caught your eye or were particularly difficult to play on this year?
- I played alongside Sarah Hosking (Seaford) and she was really good. She was a really nice person as well and I got to know her pretty well. Darcy Guttridge (Cranbourne / Gippsland Power) is an absolute ripper.
Who do you think has had the biggest influence on your football recently?
- Probably my coach from U16 School Sport Victoria, Leanne Gill. She mentored me for ages and has probably had the biggest influence on my career.
Which of your VFL Women’s or TAC Cup Girls teammates do you think should also be in draft contention?
- Izzy Huntington (Sandringham Dragons) is a huge one. I’ve played alongside her for a couple of years and she’s an absolute gun. I played alongside Monique Conti (Melbourne Uni / Calder Cannons) with Vic Metro as well. Those girls are definitely ones to watch out for.
Who do you think will be pick no.1 at the NAB AFL Women’s Draft?
- I’m calling Izzy Huntington (Sandringham Dragons), but it could be anyone.
THE FAST FIVE with Georgia Ricardo
What food could you not live without?
If you weren’t a full-time footballer in the future, what would be your dream job?
- I’d love to do personal training, but also strength and conditioning or something along those lines.
What karaoke song would you sing to save your life?
- I don’t sing! I haven’t got one in mind.
Which teammate would you want to be stranded on a desert island with and why?
- Izzy Huntington, because she’s really smart.
Which teammate would you not want to be stranded on a desert island with and why?
- Monique Conti, because she doesn’t do much.