From Kalgoorie to Alberton Oval, Abbey Dowrick is at home.
It’s been a whirlwind of a week for the nineteen-year-old, who is fresh off of her AFLW debut last weekend. On Monday, the Port Adelaide young gun was revealed as one of two AFLW Rising Star nominations for Round One.
The midfielder delivered an impressive performance when she was unveiled as a debutant for her side’s clash against the West Coast Eagles.
After finishing the afternoon off with 21 disposals, seven marks and four tackles, it saw the footballer earn the nomination.
“When people ask [if it’s sunk in], I’m speechless. I just don’t know what to say to be honest with you,” Dowrick told The Inner Sanctum exclusively following the news of her nomination.
“I didn’t think it would happen.”
Dowrick recalls feeling “pretty nervous” in the build up to the game. It wasn’t only just her first game at the senior level of football, but also the beginning for Port Adelaide’s journey into the AFLW.
The teenager concedes that during the morning of the game, she was doing her best to keep control of her nerves and told herself that it’s just “another footy game”.
“That way I just hopefully play my normal style of footy, and I think I did,” she says.
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Her road to the AFLW hit an early roadblock after Dowrick had been overlooked during the national draft last year. Whilst it wasn’t desired, she continued to work hard whilst playing in the WAFLW.
One year on from the disappointment of not being drafted during her draft class, an opportunity to play at the highest level of football came knocking for the Western Australian product. She signed on with Port Adelaide as an open-age recruit for the competition’s seventh season.
Looking back, Dowrick concedes that moment had somewhat of an impact on her time in the WAFLW. When asked if she used that setback to fuel her motivation, she adds that “it did and it didn’t.”
“I wanted the time to be right for my head to be in a good place so that I could play the best footy I could be playing. But it did help me [in] wanting to motivate me a little bit more,” she further explained.
The rising star nominee always knew that football was what she was destinated for.
Dowrick added that she had her heart set on the sport for a long time.
“It has been since I started playing [football]. Just to have that pathway was pretty incredible to be able to go the full length as the men get to,” she said.
She always played the sport she loved either with friends, or with her siblings over weekends. But as she explains, it began becoming serious at around the age of 14 or 15-years-old. Dowrick recalls that it was a reason she relocated with her family over to Perth. But she admits that the move initially bought on some challenges for her early on.
“[When the move was made] it was a bit tricky. It was my second year of high school, and in high school I suppose everybody already has their groups. Whereas in primary school you still kind of make new friends and things like that,” Dowrick explained.
“But I actually made friends pretty fast which was helpful.
“I think being okay at sport would of helped a bit in the sense of finding friends that also enjoy playing sport.”
The football gene runs through the family with her sister McKenzie, who currently plays in the AFLW for the Adelaide Crows. Dowrick explains that seeing her sister go through the system has helped her in working towards the goal of making it to the league.
“It’s definitely helped with wanting to [play in the AFLW]. It’s something that we’ve spoken about.” she said.
“Being at the same level as her, it’s pretty unreal.”
With the rising star nomination secured for the nineteen-year-old, Dowrick is looking forward to getting acquainted with the other Port Adelaide players and continue to play the best football that she can.
“Just giving it a go with my team. Being around Port Adelaide is probably what I’m looking forward to.” she said.
“Even just as individual. Playing footy with all girls, and seeing us all develop in the way that we want to.
“We already have an incredible culture here at the club. So just growing all together, I think, is what I’m looking forward to the most.”
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