Life for Freo ruck Mim Strom is considerably more relaxed in May, 2020, compared to five months prior.
The new draftee was thrown into the deep end when Freo’s likely no.1 ruck for the season Aine Tighe injured her ACL during the AFLW pre-season in January.
It meant the 18-year-old would be solely relied upon to give Fremantle’s mids first use, a task she handled more than admirably as Freo went unbeaten in 2020.
Now the biggest concerns in Strom’s life are catching the biggest waves and the biggest fish in Exmouth as she continues her training alongside her brother Noah, who plays for South Fremantle in the WAFL.
Without work in Perth or in her hometown, Strom is doing everything to make isolation work for her.
“I don’t really know what job I could get up here, it’s pretty quiet as a lot of people have lost their jobs,” Strom said.
“My parents are great, I’m staying in their house and I’ve got one of my brothers and my little sister here.
“The average day is surfing in the morning, definitely. Coming home for some lunch and then going out in the boat in the gulf or around the west side .
“There’s heaps of whalesharks at the moment, we haven’t seen one yet but we’ll definitely be going out to see them.
“Sometimes we do need a break day!”
It’s been the perfect way to unwind from a whirlwind 2020 AFLW season.
“It’s been so good, it’s like a holiday,” Strom said.
“I should probably be going back to Perth and getting a job but I’m just enjoying this.
“It’s so relaxing during the day, the surf, going out on the boat, it’s just so good.”
In a family that includes an AFLW player and two WAFL players, footy is never too far away.
“Both of my older brothers play league for South Fremantle but only Noah is up here, Zach is still working down in Perth,” Strom said.
“Noah has his program from South Fremantle and he’s been training for the hopeful return of the WAFL.
“I’ve just been trying to keep up with him. There’s only one oval in town and everyone kind of watches us, which is pretty funny.
“It’s super handy to have someone to kick with, to motivate you to go and get you down after a long day in the sun.
“Noah gets me running and he helps me with my kicking and skills, just to keep them sharp.”
Even though Strom is 13 hours drive north of Perth, she doesn’t feel too far away from her teammates.
“There’s always something going on in the group chats,” Strom said.
“Kate Starre (Fremantle’s high performance manager) has been sending through a lot of exercises, gym stuff and bodyweight work, which is awesome as we can’t go to the gym.
“There’s been a few Zoom calls, which has been great to catch up with the girls. Everyone’s posting on social media about what they’re doing, which we’re responding to as it’s a really cool way to keep connected.”
Strom said it was that support from her teammates and from the club that helped her shine in 2020.
“It was our second practice game when Aine went down, so I really didn’t have much time to prepare (for an AFLW debut),” Strom said.
“The club was really strong saying they’d support me the whole way. They trusted I could do it, which gave me a lot of belief. I think that was what got me through the season.
“It was hard playing against these really experienced rucks but I think you have to play against people like that if you’re going to learn - that’s what happened as I think I grew over the season.
“I can go into next year having that experience and it was amazing that the girls had that belief in me. That was really cool.”