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O’Sullivan a Freo Docker by chance

O'Sullivan's father John played 133 games for East Fremantle. Gabby O'Sullivan will follow in her father's footsteps with Fremantle football

Fremantle women’s rookie selection Gabby O’Sullivan attributes her recruitment to luck, as much as she does her formidable athletic credentials.

O’Sullivan played college basketball in the United States for College Coastal Georgia between 2013 and 2016.

Upon her return to Australia, the 22-year-old heard the hype surrounding women’s football and was convinced by her father John to play for the East Fremantle – the club he represented in league football on 133 occasions.   

So impressive were her performances for the Sharks that her name made its way to Fremantle women’s head coach Michelle Cowan.

“When I came from America with all the hype around football I thought I would go down to East Freo where my dad used to play,” O’Sullivan said.

“I played a few games and I guess Michelle (Cowan) heard about me and it kind of went from there.

“It kind of all happened by chance.”

Co-major sponsors on board with Freo's women's team


Eligible rookie selections must not have played football for three seasons prior to June 15, 2016.

O’Sullivan’s foray into the WAWFL was the first time she’d played football since high school.

She noted her passion for the game as a junior, but said she was restricted by opportunity.

“I played Auskick all the way through to eleven or twelve and then went to basketball because girls couldn’t play with the guys past that age,” O’Sullivan said.

“I played a couple of games through high school and then moved away.

“It’s my first sport so it’s good to be back into it.”

The midfielder is confident in her raw athletic ability, but believes she still has a lot to learn.

“My agility, my speed and explosion will definitely help me in playing footy, but I think I need to get a bit stronger and conditioned to football-related skills like tackling,” O’Sullivan said.

She joins Olympic javelin thrower and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kim Mickle as Fremantle’s other rookie selection ahead of the inaugural season of the national women’s AFL competition in 2017.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs