Donnellan Aims To Cap Stunning 2017 With Swans Flag

Friday, August 4, 2017 - 11:12 AM

KARA Donnellan had been a standout player since joining Swan Districts in 2013, she only enhanced her reputation with the Fremantle Dockers in the inaugural AFL Women's season and now she wants to experience more success with the black-and-whites.

Following her standout AFLW season with the Dockers where she was captain and ended up as the leading goalkicker and named to the All-Australian team, Donnellan has returned to Swan Districts as captain of the WA Women's Football League team.

Having now overcome injury, she has been back out on the field and is preparing to lead Swans into battle in Sunday's second semi-final against Coastal Titans at Claremont Oval with a place in the 2017 grand final on the line.

Donnellan originally joined Swan Districts back in 2013 moving from Melbourne and while she has gone on to play some outstanding football representing Western Australia and Fremantle, it's at Swan Districts where her heart still lies.

She also works at the club as part of the V Swans Program as the High Performance/Justice Program Officer.

So the club means the world to her and that's why if she was able to captain Swans to another premiership over the coming weeks that would cap off what has already been a remarkable 2017 for a number of reasons.

"I've been at this footy club for five years after moving from Victoria and I bleed black-and-white. I love the footy club and what they've done for me, and all that they've taught me through coaches like Nicole Graves and the girls in general," Donnellan said.

"I feel like I owe them a lot for what they've given and provided me, and nothing would be more special than capping off the last year, and the last five years I suppose, with a premiership."

"My heart always lies back here at Swans, I love the footy club and I love pulling on the black-and-white jumper."

Donnellan grew up dreaming of playing football at a high level and of being able to play in a competition that got recognition at least close to that which the men get to enjoy.

Even until this time last year that remained a dream but having experienced the inaugural AFLW season and seeing the impact it had right across the country, Donnellan is living the dream and she couldn’t be more grateful to be part of it.

"I never thought I'd get to experience this. I've been playing footy since I was a little girl and I just continued to play because I loved the game," she said.

"Every year something new and a fresh opportunity seemed to pop up and obviously now there's a pretty clear pathway through to AFLW. Every day I wake up and I'm living my childhood dream. You pinch yourself and you can't take anything for granted, and you have to take every opportunity."

The impact that the excitement surrounding the AFLW has been felt back at Swan Districts and in the WAWFL overall as well.

Donnellan has no doubt that has helped spark all three grades of Swans to finish in the top two in the WAWFL with the second semi-finals to take place this Sunday at Claremont Oval.

"We've had a massive increase in numbers at Swans here at the club and it just pushes us girls who have come back from AFLW to keep getting better and keep showing what we've learnt, and imparting our knowledge on those girls coming through," she said.

"It's really exciting to be part of and our club has the Youth Girls finishing top of the ladder so our pathways are strong here at Swans and we are pretty proud of that. To have all three grades in finals and finishing in the top two is pretty special. Let's just hope that continues during the finals series."

Now that there is a clear pathway for every girl wanting to play football that they could end up playing at a national level, it has created a whole new level of excitement surrounding the game.

"You can tell and get the vibe of how excited everyone is now to be part of it because you have the AFL to strive to play for," Donnellan said.

"Those younger girls coming through who are a couple of years off getting drafted are the ones pushing us older, more experienced girls along and getting us through training."

"Just to see the excitement and buzz around female footy is what keeps you going and that's what gets you out there in freezing cold weather to train on a Wednesday night. There's just a real great vibe around because of AFLW and it's shone through here at Swans."

By Chris Pike.