After an injury-interrupted 2020 season in the WAFLW for Peel Thunder, new draftee Sarah Verrier arrived at Fremantle with high long-term expectations on her shoulders, but also with coaching staff looking to ease her into life in the highest rung of women’s football.
But the talented midfielder has shown no signs of being held back by her turbulent 2020 season, seeing the XX-year-old in the conversation for a debut early in the year.
Verrier is a part of the new wave of AFLW players who weren’t forced to give up the game in their junior years once they reached a certain age.
What stands out most is her skill level by foot, a clear sign she’s been playing football her whole life.
“I haven’t stopped playing footy since I was around five. I’ve gone through AusKick and I was lucky enough to not have (to stop playing), I went down to Kwinana and then straight to Peel,” Verrier said.
“I think my kicking abilities, that’s probably one of my biggest strengths on the footy field but I could definitely work on that more, especially working on my left foot.
“That’s one of my biggest goals. I think strength is a big one that I need to work on. Coming into the change of having really big training sessions, that’s really ramped up. But I’m really enjoying that and hopefully that helps me develop and get bigger and stronger.”
That strength would likely see Verrier head into a full-time midfield role in the future. Until then, she’s developing as a part of Freo’s star-studded forward line.
“I’d say I’m a midfielder but I’ve been playing forward down at training,” Verrier said.
“It’s hard to walk straight in as a midfielder. (Playing forward) is good as I can get some practice down in the forward line and if there is that emergency I can be chucked in anywhere.”
As a part of that forward group, Verrier is looking up to Gabby O’Sullivan for advice, but she’s also learning off speedy defender Phil Seth.
“I think Phil has probably been one of the biggest helpers,” Verrier said.
“She’s always there to chat and always supportive and that’s the same with Gabby.
“As soon as I was thrown into that forward line, she was there and helping me and supporting me through that.”
O’Sullivan has highlighted Verrier as a star of the future, going as far as saying she was jealous of her skills by foot.
“Her kick and fundamentals…I’m a bit jelly of her! Sarah’s doing so well. She’s really receptive to feedback and she’s such a natural, instinctive player,” O’Sullivan said.
“She’s a good kid that’s settling in nicely and she’s versatile, so she can play back or forward. She’s one that will definitely have a big career.”