Last weekend marked the first time in which three young ladies whom are part of a well-respected family in the Outer East region, played football together in the same side.
Through coincidence and perfect timing, Emerson, Alex and Gabbi Woods all pulled on the Healesville jumper for their first ever match together on Saturday against Beaconsfield, which proved to be a significant occasion for the girls and their parents.
This was a great milestone for them as they finally had the chance to share the passion they have for participating in local sport in the AFL Outer East competition and play in a match together.
Reflecting on the match and the pride in playing with her sisters, Alex said it was terrific to get the chance to play with her sisters in a game of football.
“It was great to get out there and play together, it was a big moment for us,” Woods said.
“In saying that, however, it was a spur of the moment thing, there was no hype to it really as the game came along, we ran out to play and that was it.
“It was a really weird feeling because we had no crowd there.”
The opportunity for the three sisters to play together came about primarily because Gabbi, the youngest girl, was available to play as a fill in for the side.
The Woods family have enjoyed a significant involvement in the competition over many years, with some highlights being Gabbi playing for a junior girls team at Mount Evelyn, while Emerson also played at the Rovers before venturing off on a journey which would see her drafted onto Carltons AFLW list.
Alex has played for the Healesville women’s team since its inauguration a few years ago, with Emerson joining her this season.
Additionally, Alex and Gabbi play netball for Warburton Millgrove which can provide its logistical issues in terms of being able juggle both sports to participate in on a weekend.
Netball is the preferred sport for Alex and Gabbi, who would choose to miss out on Saturday football games to focus on netball.
“For me, netball is the number one priority,” she explained.
“If football is on Saturdays, then we play netball because we prioritise it more.
“So, we always pray each week that football will be played on a Friday or Sunday so we can juggle both.”
The one thing that is highly noticeable is there is a significant passion for participating in community sport in the region and Alex affirms that she and her sisters are committed to their clubs.
“We wouldn’t play netball or football anywhere other than where we have played, they are our home clubs and our family so to speak,” Woods mentioned.
Alex highlighted the love and support of her parents as a key factor behind the reasons why she and her sisters have been able to pursue their sporting dreams.
“Our parents have always provided us with the best opportunities to do well in sport from a young age and have pushed us to do what we want to do,” she explained.
“They’ve always driven us around everywhere and their support has been number one to us. We couldn’t be more grateful about how they are always so happy and excited for us, and the fact they continue to get so much enjoyment from our sports as we’ve grown older is something we have loved.”
Alex took the opportunity to thank everyone at Healesville Football Netball Club for being able to accommodate a move for Gabbi to come along and join the team at short notice.
“I am really thankful to the Healesville women’s team for being able to get Gabbi onboard at short notice and let us play together,” she said.
“We really appreciated it and love it there, it’s a great club.”