Last week, Fremantle’s AFLW squad headed to the Wheatbelt region, visiting local schools and football clubs for their first ever annual Community Camp.

Players ran football clinics, held Q&A sessions, awarded prizes and attended assemblies for over 10 local primary and high schools across the two days.

For All-Australian Emma O’Driscoll, it was a special few days going back to her roots in Northam, visiting both her primary and high schools, and re-uniting with the local community.

“It’s really special I get to go back, and give back to my community, but also run some clinics, talk about footy, and I guess have that relatability component as well because the kids know me,” O’Driscoll said.


The Northam local touched on the importance of educating young girls on the football pathways that are now available to them.

“I think the exposure (of women in football) is so important, which is why I’m so stoked to go back home to be able to show (young girls) what they can aspire to be, because I never had that,” O’Driscoll said.

“A reason I do what I do and a reason that my teammates do what they do is to not only be good athletes, but to be good role models for the next generation as well.”

Going back in time, O’Driscoll ran through her sporting journey, which landed her an opportunity she would never forget.

“I didn’t play football at school, I played netball all the way through, participated in the State School Girls 12s and 15s and went through the ‘Fever in Time’ netball pathway,” O’Driscoll said.

“When I got to year 11 and 12, I represented Northam Senior High School in Perth for School Country Week and played footy for a bit of fun and to change it up (from netball) and ended up getting scouted to trial for the State 18s from there.

“Year 12 was a big time in my life where I was doing my WACE exams and deciding whether I wanted to go down a football or netball pathway, and I ended up choosing footy.

“Without being able to grow up in the country and represent my town playing at School Country Week, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

- Emma O'Driscoll


Fremantle’s Senior Coach Lisa Webb said she was excited to spend a few days in O’Driscoll’s hometown and connect with the community.

“It’s been fantastic – Emma’s pretty excited, and it’s been good to get to her hometown of Northam,” Webb said.

Touching on some highlights of the trip, Webb said it was great to have the players talking about their passion for football to students, aiming to inspire young girls today.

“We went back to Emma’s old high school, and it was really interesting to speak to year 9s and 11s about the opportunities and pathways now, and that football is for everybody,” Webb said.

“Madi Scanlon was one today that said she never had those opportunities (when she was growing up), so it’s really exciting for these girls to see the pathways and what they can (work towards) in AFLW.”

Off the back of Community Camp, the girls went straight into their pre-season football camp, 30 minutes away in York.

Kicking the camp off with a bang was the open training session, where the girls met some local York legends and conducted a signing session post-training.

The group then headed to Gilba Downs Farm, where they would spend the weekend being tested in various team bonding activities involving sheep herding, blindfolded challenges, and mental games.

Monica Beazley from Monarch Leadership paid a special visit to the group to conduct a leadership session, before rounding out the evening with a bonfire for the final night of camp.

The NAB AFLW Season officially kicks off in the week beginning Monday 26 August.