Q & A With Former Trainee and AFLW Player, Casey Sherriff
AFLW Melbourne Demons Football player, Casey Sherriff, came on board the AFL SportsReady (AFLSR) team as a trainee with the Athletes and Sports Education department in 2018. After graduating, she was offered an ongoing role and is now the National Projects Officer for the department. Casey juggles full-time work with a jam-packed training schedule plus footy games on the weekend but she does it all with a big smile on her face. We caught up with Casey to get the lowdown on her role, footy, and what it was like playing in front of no crowd in the finals against Greater Western Sydney.
How long have you been with AFLSR? What is your role and what does it involve?
I’ve been with AFLSR for about a year and a half now. I get to go out to different AFL clubs and meet the players as I enrol them into our different courses, liaising with clubs to book in sessions with our AFL Induction Program and a whole lot of paperwork.
What has the journey been like from starting as a Trainee to becoming a Nationals Project Officer?
It started off hard for me. I’d never had a full-time job before, so I really struggled with that aspect of it, but with the work side of things, I had a really great team around me who I continue to learn from and help me to grow. Going from a trainee to gaining my role as National Projects Officer I found it was a pretty smooth transition. I’d already been at AFLSR for a year, so I was pretty confident in what I was doing. I think now in this role I’ve learned to become more independent and take on a few more responsibilities over time.
Why did you choose to do a Traineeship with us?
I’d been emailed the traineeship position and reading through it I realized it would be a great opportunity for me. As I said earlier, I’d never been in a full-time role before and I knew it would be a great experience for me. Also, having the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends in my Cert III classes was great too.
What were some of the highlights in your Traineeship?
I have made some great friends during my Traineeship who I am still good friends with. I was lucky enough to get a job out of my Traineeship with was exciting for me. I’m also disappointed I couldn’t attend the Graduation upon completing my traineeship, I know it’s always a big event and I’d heard from my classmates that they all really enjoyed it this year.
Your department has been doing some amazing things during this period! What are some of the accomplishments and positive news to come from the Athlete and Sports Education team?
With AFL and AFLW Clubs going into lockdown in March our team has had to rapidly adapt to the Players education needs. There has been a lot of interest in participating in online education courses from players and coaches while the game was on pause. For example, we have had about 70 participants get involved in the Advanced Certificate in Identifying and Developing Young AFL Talent and over 70 players are studying our Certificate IV and Diploma courses. We have moved the Indigenous Marathon Project to online delivery – this program involves a number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participants training for the New York Marathon while also completing a Certificate IV through AFL SportsReady and it is going really well.
As an AFLW Football player, how did the COVID-19 situation affect you?
It was heartbreaking to start off as we’d just won our first final only to find out the next day the season has been cancelled. It’s hard as I know how hard my teammates worked during the season to get to that point only to have it taken away. It was hard to adapt to the changes; I’d just spent the last 5 months training and then all of a sudden just had to stop and essentially not leave my house for a long time.
I have been lucky enough to get to go back home and spend time with my family which has been good though with some time off.
What was it like playing in front of no crowd when you played against GWS in the final?
It was pretty surreal. We’d started the warm-up inside and were pretty pumped as you would be playing our first final, but then as we ran out onto the ground from the rooms just looking around at an empty Giants Stadium with no one there cheering for us was just a strange feeling. It almost felt like a practice match. We could actually hear the coaches from the box yelling out to us on the ground which I’ve never experienced before. It was unfortunate not being able to share the win with our friends and family on the day, but we understood the circumstances we were in and consider myself lucky with everything else going on in the world.
How excited are you to see footy return on Thursday?
So excited, it’s been too long! I’ve watched my fair share of replays over the last couple of months and I’m just happy to finally watch some live games.
How important is football in a time like this?
It’s very important, I think most of Australia are very much looking forward to the AFL coming back. I’ve read articles about clubs opening Drive-In cinema’s for supporters to go watch the games together and it just goes to show how much it brings everyone together and how important it is.
Are you back training with your team? What’s that like? Was training in iso hard?
Not yet back training with the team but very soon. Training in iso is very different. It was driving me crazy spending my days inside, so I tried to get out of the house as much as possible which meant going out for multiple runs and walks a day which I know sounds just as crazy as spending all day inside. But it’s very hard to be motivated when you’re on your own and having nothing specific like a season to strive towards as we don’t know yet when we will be playing football next.
To learn more about our Athletes and Sports Education department and the work they do click here.
DATE: 10 June 2020
IMAGE: Courtesy of Melbourne FC