West Adelaide will be without its captain Bec Owen in Saturday’s SANFLW grand final against Glenelg.
The 29-year-old winger broke her fibula early in last weekend’s preliminary final win over Norwood, in what was a heart-breaking moment for the club entering its first ever senior women’s grand final.
Owen played every game in 2021, returning after suffering an ACL injury and going under the knife for her third knee reconstruction the year prior.
Speaking to The Inner Sanctum, Owen is feeling the devastation of the injury, but still has every faith in her teammates to get the job done.
“It’s been an up and down week, but I’m doing alright,” Owen said.
“The girls have shown how strong they are last week, they managed to get the win without me so not too worried about not being a part of it.
“I’m obviously devastated, I’d love to be out there, but I’ve still got all the faith that the girls will be able to get the job done without me.”
The season has not been one without its ups and downs for the Bloods.
After a strong start to the season with back-to-back wins against Norwood and Woodville-West Torrens, they would go through a major form slump, losing five games in six weeks.
As the year nearly looked lost, Owen and her side found the spark to get back up on their feet, heading into the grand final on a five-game winning streak.
“We got to a spot where we were second bottom, six weeks ago,” she said.
“We came together and had a chat, and laid it out on the table basically. We asked each other if we really wanted to be playing finals, and everyone stood up and mentioned what it would mean to them.
“We decided we need to start coming together, and playing for each other. The girls have really done that.
“They’ve shown how much they want it, and it’s been such an outstanding effort for them to win all those games in a row. I don’t think anyone would have thought we would playing the grand final this week if you looked six weeks ago.”
MORE STATE LEAGUE NEWS
Leadership is an area that Owen isn’t worrying about coming into Saturday.
19-year-old vice captain Abbie Ballard will be leading the Bloods into battle, her captain backing her and the other leaders within the club in to guide the team to victory.
“I’ve got a pretty strong leadership group around me, I’m pretty lucky,” Owen said.
“Abbie, she’s an awesome leader. She didn’t play the first few weeks with us because of injury, but having her back really helped the girls.
“The girls really look up to Abbie, and she was selected as the vice captain for a reason, because she’s a great leader. I have no doubt she’ll be a strong leader out there on the weekend and the girls will do well.
“Other people like Madi Russell, Ashlea James, Kasia (Culhane), they’re all just great leaders out on the field, leading by example. They seem to know the right times to give people the encouragement they need and then also tell people when they need to step up. I’ve been lucky to have that support around me all year.”
The Glenelg team named for the grand final is full of talent, and in particular one name familiar to AFLW fans, star Crows midfielder and three-time All Australian Ebony Marinoff.
Owen isn’t looking at individual players, but moreso how to counteract against the side as a whole.
“We’re not really focusing too much on individual players.
“We know they’ve got a few AFLW players and a few other players like Ellie Kellock and Jess Bates who’ve had really good seasons. We’ll be mindful of them, but we’re not too worried at this stage.”
While the day will be a sad one for Owen, she’ll be cheering the girls on all the same. She’s aware that she still has a role to play in the team to get them their first flag.
“I had the option of going up into the coaches box, but I think I’ve decided that the bench is where I want to be, just so I can be there for the girls and motivate them as much as I can from the sidelines,” she said.
“That’s where you’ll find me on Saturday.”
Subscribe to our newsletter!