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VFLW: Sophie Conway - ready to roar

VFLW Tiger Sophie Conway looks so comfortable with a football in her hands, it’s hard to imagine that she spent the first 17 years of her life clutching a hockey stick. 

The multi-talent grew up in Brisbane as a junior hockey sensation, achieving All-Australian status in her beloved childhood sport.

However, she found herself at a crossroads when she started succeeding in another sport. After earning All-Australian honours in football too, Conway knew she had to make a choice.

After much deliberation, it was football that won. She swapped one field for the other and hasn’t turned back since.

“I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to play footy and I don’t have any regrets,” Conway said.

“I’m enjoying what the AFLW is and how it is evolving.” 

While the opportunity to play football did not exist for Conway as a youngster, the sport had always intrigued her. Football was forever in her blood, with both her older brothers, Isaac and Ben, avid players.

“I was just that sister running around after the ball and I enjoyed it quite a lot,” she said. 

Conway’s talent was quickly noted. Despite having less than two seasons to her name, she was picked up by Brisbane as their seventh pick in the 2017 AFL Draft.

“I didn’t have a lot of footy under my belt so to get drafted in my first year of being nominated was such a surreal opportunity. So I took it with both my hands and ran with it,” she said.

And Conway did not disappoint in her maiden AFLW season. The now 19-year-old was nominated as a 2018 NAB Rising Star for Round 3, an experience she describes as a “dream come true”. Now re-signed with the Lions for the third AFLW season, Conway said she can’t wait for what her future in football holds.

But for now, a desire to play in the VFLW has led to a move to Melbourne for the winter season, and with that has come Conway’s introduction into Tigerland.

Fortunately for Conway, a piece of home was already in Melbourne; her big brothers. She draws game day inspiration from her brother Isaac, who was a rookie for Brisbane and now plays for Port Melbourne in the VFL.

“I try to get out and watch him a lot because I like to learn off him,” Conway said.

“Being down here gives me more opportunity to see him and to get to a few more games is something I can’t wait to do.”

Conway said she is stoked to be Richmond’s newest recruit. While arriving at a new club can be daunting, she said the Tigers made her feel at home right away.

“All the girls got around me and it was very special. I felt very welcomed straight away, not just from the girls but also from the coaching staff,” she said.

“Off-field culture is the biggest part of your on-field performance. And the way the Tigers go about their performance is such a drawing aspect to the club. I love a good culture around the footy club and that’s such an important part of how you love your footy. 

Conway’s experience on the hockey field has seen her develop excellent agility and turn of speed along the wing. She’s a proven goal kicker with a huge engine and a knack of reading the play.

Richmond AFL Women’s Football Operations Manager Kate Sheahan said Conway is an asset to the club.

“Her pace is fantastic and she’s got a great worth ethic. She’s the sort of teammate that people crave to have,” Sheahan said.

After spending the majority of her career in the forward line, Conway hopes to push up to the midfield during her time at Richmond.

Conway will don the yellow and black for the first time this weekend, as she makes her debut in the VFLW.

“I’m really excited, I can’t wait. I’ve been waiting for a very long time to pull on the colours and I won’t take it for granted because it’s very special,” she said.

Catch Conway and the rest of the VFLW Tigers as they face Hawthorn in Round 8 this Saturday at Tigerland from 2.45pm. The girls will be looking to make it three in a row following their wins against Essendon and Melbourne Uni. 

Tiger fans can tune into 94.1FM 3WBC for a radio call of the match, watch live via the VFL website, and follow play-by-play updates on the Richmond Women’s Twitter account

In a massive Richmond v Hawthorn double header, the VFL Tigers will kick off proceedings at 11.30am.

Round 8 – 30/06/2018
Swinburne Centre


B: 84. L. Bieniara, 63. J. Graham, 69. E. Burry
HB: 88. P. Monahan, 73. L. Davie, 71. L. Stephenson
C: 60. K.  Dempsey, 81. E.  George, 75. B.  Lynch
HF: 80. J. Louttit, 54. S. Conway, 55. C. Wakefield
F: 82. G. Bibby, 62. T. Muller, 83. J. Gardner
R: 68. A. Edmonds, 59. A. Woodward, 52. J. Kennedy
Int: 53. K. Dixon, 64. E. Gunn, 77. J. Hocking, 76. E. Ross
Emg: 86. N. Clarke, 85. N. Clarke, 61. J. Colwell, 79. L. Tesoriero
23P: 89. G. Egan