This time last year, Ange Stannett was yet to play her first game of Australian rules.
But the former Perth Glory player was a revelation for Fremantle in defence in the 2019 AFLW season, and is continuing her impressive rise in the midfield for Swan Districts in the WAFLW.
The 22-year-old has passed every test with flying colours so far, and the next one awaits as the WAFLW finals kick off this Sunday.
Stannett is set to be one of a handful of Freo players in action in the first semi final as Swan Districts host Claremont at Steel Blue Oval.
The winner will face the loser of the second semi final between Subiaco and East Fremantle for a place in the grand final.
Stannett said she expects the bar to be raised with all teams likely to play a full contingent of AFLW-listed players.
“We’ve hit form at the right time, so it will be exciting to see what all the girls can do,” Stannett said.
“We’ve got quite a few players available for selection for the first final, so it will be an exciting game to watch.”
Stannett has the benefit of playing under Swans coach Kara Donnellan, who also captains Fremantle in the AFLW.
Seeing the defender’s potential, Donnellan has thrown Stannett into the midfield.
“I’m loving the new taste of playing in the midfield and there’s obviously a lot more running,” Stannett said.
“I can get my hand on the ball a bit more and I’m around the stoppages a lot too.
“Kara’s awesome as a coach, it’s really good for the younger girls in our Swannies team to be able to learn from an AFLW player.
“She’s also working hard behind the scenes and providing experience from a different level as well, so it’s awesome to have her there.”
Having only played around a dozen games of competitive football in her career to date, Stannett highlighted the importance of getting as much game experience as she could in the WAFLW.
“This year’s AFLW season was my first season playing footy ever and so I was obviously new to the game, I was new to the skills,” Stannett said.
“This WAFLW season has been really important for me to get a bit more game sense. To really pick up on my skills and to maintain my fitness and strength throughout the season. I’ve really enjoyed it, too.”
And Stannett is already passing her footy knowledge to the next generation, working as a part of ‘Team Freo’ – a group of first year AFL and AFLW players who help run clinics for school kids.
“At our last Freo Fundamentals Gala Day, we had about 300 kids down at the club, running through a few fundamental clinics, having a bit of a kick about, having a lot of fun and we’re showing them through the facility as well,” Stannett said.
“It’s always good to get the kids out in the sun and they always bring a lot of energy as well.”
Semi Final 1 – Winner plays loser of SF2
Swan Districts v Claremont
Steele Blue Oval
Sunday 1 September, 1.00pm
Semi Final 2 – Winner goes straight to Grand Final
Subiaco v East Fremantle
Sunday 1 September, 3.30pm