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Tom Fee  June 14, 2017 11:59 AM

Ashley Sharp with her local junior football club, the High Wycombe Bulldogs.

Ashley Sharp with her local junior football club, the High Wycombe Bulldogs.

A three-goal performance in Freo’s draw with GWS back in February has done more than announce Ashley Sharp onto the AFLW stage.

On the back of her NAB AFL Women’s Rising Star nomination, Sharp earned a $1,000 cheque courtesy of NAB to fund equipment at her local junior footy club, the High Wycombe Bulldogs.

Sharp was on hand alongside men’s players Connor Blakely and Zac Clarke to conduct a training session and answer questions for the hundreds of kids that flocked to Scott Reserve in High Wycombe.

The 20-year-old said it was important to stay close to her roots and encourage junior girls to take up footy.

“It’s all about the upcoming kids in women’s football,” Sharp said.

“High Wycombe does a great job and now has two junior footy teams for the girls which is just fantastic, so they definitely deserve to get recognised.”

Sharp answered questions, posed for photos and signed jumpers and footballs for the junior girls team. 

“Being someone these kids can look up to is something that I never imagined would ever happen,” Sharp said.

“Now it’s happening on the back of the new women’s league. It just makes me happy and, hopefully, they’ll be up where I am in 10 years time.” 

Floyd Sullivan, High Wycombe JFC’s president, was thrilled to see Sharp thriving in the AFLW.

“Ashley’s been fantastic, we’re so proud of her,” Sullivan said.

“And her nominating us for the cheque has really helped us, as we can get new equipment and bump bags together.

“We work on an oily rag as we don’t have too many sponsors so benefiting from Ashley’s success is fantastic and we can’t thank her enough.”

Sharp is spending the AFLW off-season playing for Swan Districts in the WAWFL, where she currently sits third in the goal kicking.

In last week’s win over East Fremantle, Sharp came up against a future teammate in Alex Williams – a former GWS Giant who captains the Sharks in the WAWFL.

“We had East Freo on the weekend in a Grand Final rematch and we just got over the line by two goals,” Sharp said.

“It was good to play a quality side and get some touches, too.

“Alex has always been a great player, she’s very athletic and very strong so she’s very hard to match up against.

“To have her at Freo will only make the team stronger as she’s a great player.” 

With five months until Freo’s women start pre-season training, Sharp said she is planning to arrive fit and ready when the side reports for duty in mid-November.

“I want to have a strong pre-season,” Sharp said.

“I want to get myself really fit and beat my previous times from last year and, hopefully, be fitter and stronger than I was in 2017.”