Georgie Campbell became the Melbourne Demons’ first ever father-daughter selection in July’s AFLW Draft.
The highly-rated 180cm ruck/forward is the daughter of former Demons and Bulldogs player Adrian (pictured), who played 32 games across both clubs.
With the requirement of just one game played for a club to be father-daughter eligible, Campbell could have nominated either club.
The decision to nominate the Dees, funnily enough, came about almost entirely off the football field.
Victoria’s COVID lockdowns across 2020 left Campbell unable to get her driver’s license, making the prospect of trekking out to Whitten Oval multiple times a week unviable for the teenager.
Speaking to Yarra Valley FM’s The Sport, Campbell explained the story behind the choice.
“It actually came down to location and the support that I got,” she said.
“Obviously last year COVID took over how many hours I could get up [for my license], and my sister was turning 18 so [my parents] focused on her a lot.
“My birthday is in September, so I’ve still got [a month]. My hours still aren’t quite 120 yet!”
Being based out in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Casey Fields presented itself as a much easier alternative for Campbell.
It wasn’t just location, however. With her mind still not quite made up throughout her year with the Eastern Ranges, the extra support Melbourne offered tipped her over the edge.
“The support that I got from getting a mentor and them checking in on me all year really helped me feel connected to the club from the start,” Campbell explained.
“Tyla Hanks, she’s an inspiration to me. She was my mentor for the whole year so I watched her and she really inspired me.”
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Hanks and Campbell couldn’t be more different if they tried. The 23 centimetres between them is a good start!
While Hanks plays a crash and bash, hard tackling inside midfielder role with stints up forward, and Campbell is a traditionally rotating ruck/forward, the mentor move was an astute one by the Demons.
Not only does Campbell already have a pre-established relationship with one of her teammates, but can learn plenty from Hanks’ work ethic.
Hanks famously gathered a massive 19 contested possessions and 11 clearances on debut in 2019. If there’s anyone who knows how to smash their first off-season, it’s her.
Old teammates, and new
While she’s yet to meet most of her new teammates, Campbell has been able to send off her old ones and look forward to facing them as opponents.
Fellow Eastern Ranges alumni in Keeley Sherar (Carlton) and El Chaston (Collingwood) also found their way onto AFLW lists through the draft. It was the best draft for the Ranges since 2018, where four players were picked up.
“Those two are the most amazing people ever,” Campbell said about her teammates.
Keeley [Sherar] is a literal jet, she’s so fast. She’s so kind, we were best friends nearly during the whole season last year.
“El [Chaston] is the biggest leadership person. She was the captain for the Eastern Ranges, and she literally helped me so much with the words she said before we would run out before games and the inspiration and motivation she would spread onto the team through the whole year. It was so good.
“Keeley will definitely bring her happiness and her smiley self.”
Campbell professes that she’s a total extrovert, who “loves being around people.”
She’s not one to sit in silence pre-game and listen to music through headphones or meditate. It has almost the exact opposite effect, making her more anxious for the match ahead.
Campbell credits coach Travis Cloke for helping all the Ranges girls understand their headspace in relation to games, and how to break that rut.
For her, meeting her new teammates is just the next step in this process. Two big names in particular stand out in Tayla Harris and Daisy Pearce.
“I’ve met a couple of them and they’re so nice, they’ve texted me and everything,” she said.
“Obviously it’s scary just going to any new place. I’ve heard [day one of pre-season] is near September, so it’ll be pretty soon actually.
“I’m really excited, [Harris is] so cool. I’m definitely not [getting in the boxing ring] with her, she’d kill me! I hope I can learn some boxing, that’d be cool as.
“[Daisy] is so cool. When I had my interview with Melbourne, she walked in and I was starstruck, I was like ‘oh my god!’. She’s so nice, and she’ll have great leadership and inspire me so much.
“I like having the connections with people on a best friends level, because that’s how my game improves every time, when I’m really close to the team.”
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