Geelong Cats’ Olivia Purcell has earned a Rising Star nomination this week after a gutsy performance including 10 tackles, 20 possessions and a goal.
The 18-year-old starred in the Cats’ 27-point win over Brisbane on Saturday and was thrilled with her nomination.
“It’s really nice to be recognised,” she said.
“I’m glad that I could put in the hard work and get the result … against Brisbane.”
The Cats debutante grew up in Geelong, beginning her football career at St Mary’s Sporting Club.
She was best and fairest for Geelong Falcons in their 2018 premiership season and helped the Cats reach the VFLW grand final last year.
“Having the older girls around” helped Purcell adjust to the AFLW following the Cats promotion to the league this year, she said.
“We have a lot of role models in our group, outside the player leadership group. I work a lot with the mids so Rocky Cranston has been helpful.”
Hitting the beach helped Purcell deal with the pressure of AFLW, she said.
“It helps living by the coast, that’s a way to get away from footy. I go to the beach and hang out with my family and friends, and that distracts me.”
The Cats are sitting on top of Conference B after the win against Brisbane and Purcell admitted she was getting excited looking at the ladder.
“But we still have two games to play so we need to put in the hard yards,” she said.
“It’s hard not to look ahead, but you have to try and stay in the present.
“I think a lot of people externally didn’t think we were going to go too well.
“Internally, once we had the belief each week going into the game, we’re starting to realise that we’re going to be a hard team to beat.”
The Cats return to Kardinia Park on Saturday to take on Fremantle, who have dropped just one game this season.
“Fremantle are a well-respected team, so it’ll be a really good game on the weekend,” Purcell said.
“If we train good this week like we have, with good energy, we can go out there and play on our terms – especially having the home ground advantage.”