30/05/2024

West Coast Eagles utility Jessica Sedunary (Picture: AFLW/Design: Alex Catalano)

Despite the results not bearing fruit for the West Coast Eagles in season seven of the AFLW, veteran utility Jessica Sedunary is adamant that the young players at the Eagles will find their feet at the level.

Being a feature of Adelaide’s maiden premiership in 2017, Sedunary has had a key role in becoming a mentor for the group in season seven.

Finishing as the lowest non-expansion team on the AFLW ladder this season, the Eagles were not expected to have a blistering year in the competition by any stretch. Despite this, the performances of several young talents surprised the competition.

Particularly impressive this season for the Eagles were highly touted midfielder Ella Roberts, underrated defender Charlie Thomas, midfield duo Courtney Rowley and Isabella Lewis as well as key defender Sophie McDonald.

Coming from the Adelaide Crows, an established club that has had sustained success, to two expansion sides in the St Kilda Saints and West Coast Eagles, Sedunary is a player that knows what it takes to perform at the highest level.

Jessica Sedunary spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about the character of the players and how she sees them as a whole.

“Apparently we are the youngest team in AFLW history which makes me feel better because I am the oldest in the team,” Sedunary told The Inner Sanctum.

“It blows my mind having played a lot of sport and having been an elite athlete for so long and in different sports as well, the maturity of the girls is something that impressed me the most and their desire to want to learn and get better.

“The young girls want to grow and get better and [they keep] asking all the right questions and seeking knowledge and information, I think that’s been very impressive.

“I was shocked to hear that some of them were 19-years-old because I feel like they have the maturity of say a 25-year-old and people like Bella Lewis who’s been in the comp, this is her third season but she’s really young, people like Charlie Thomas, she’s stepping up and I just forget how young they are.”

A player that has become one of the finds of the year has been the Eagles’ ruck Sarah Lakay, with a highlight of her season taking out the round five rising star nomination alongside Hawk Jasmine Fleming.

Lakay’s performance in that round included 42 hit-outs, seven disposals and five tackles helping the Eagles get close to their rivals in the derby.

Sedunary speaks highly of the 19-year-old ruck praising her on-field and off-field demeanour.

“Sarah Lakay, we call her ‘Puddles’, she’s mature beyond her years and the way she holds herself and the way she goes about her footy, we just treat her as if she’s not one of the young ones,” she explained.

“I just presume she’s been an elite athlete her whole life with the way that she conducts herself, she’s been very impressive and extremely humble and very hardworking. The other day I walked into the player’s lounge and she’s on the computer looking at vision, so she’s definitely someone that has definitely been flying under the radar with just how good she is.”

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Playing together at the Northern Territory Thunder in the VFLW before coming up to play at West Coast, Sedunary was excited to link up with her now captain Emma Swanson. Sedunary spoke about the role she plays as an experienced player in supporting Swanson as well as the esteem that her captain brings to the leadership position.

“I knew Swanny a little bit but she was living in Darwin and I was living in Adelaide but flying over to play for some of their games [at the NT Thunder] so I had a little bit to do with Swanny [before coming to the Eagles],” Sedunary said.

“When West Coast became an option for me, first thing I did was get a phone call from Swanny, I love everything that she’s about and that way she goes about her stuff. She does such a great job at leading the girls and [so I’ve been] able to support her with leading such a young team and [with her] being one of the pillars for the team off and on the field, it’s a lot of work [for her].

“It’s been good to be able to help her where she needs help and bounce off of her, the way that she trains is really inspiring and the way she goes about it is really inspiring so to be around people like that, I feel really grateful for.

“[She’s] a really good role model for the young girls to have so I’ve loved working with her, she pushes me to be better and anyway I can support her, I’m all about it.”

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