Speed machine Sharp back for Swan Districts

Saturday, May 11, 2019 - 4:49 PM by Chris Pike

FRESH off playing a key role in the Fremantle Dockers AFL Women's campaign, speedster Ashley Sharp will return for Swan Districts this Sunday and she can't wait to pull on the black-and-white jumper again.

Sharp has become one of the most exciting female footballers in the country with her blistering speed and ability to run and carry the ball making her a standout player in the AFLW competition.

She was a key contributed in Fremantle making it all the way to the preliminary final earlier in 2019 and highlighting her abilities was a stunning running goal for the Dockers that saw her awarded the honour of winning the AFLW Goal of the Year award.

Sharp will now return for Swan Districts on Sunday in Round 2 of the WAFL Women's competition when the Black Ducks host Claremont at Steel Blue Oval, with the league contest in the WAFLW action to set to bounce down from 2.45pm.

Sharp missed the opening round loss at home to Subiaco, but will be back on Sunday to play the Tigers and can't wait for that and to be part of helping Swans continue to be a benchmark club in female football in Western Australia.

"I'm really excited to get back out there playing with Swan Districts again. A lot of people ask if I'm over footy by now, but I just can't wait to get back into it," Sharp said.

"We've obviously been looked at as one of the benchmarks WAFL clubs that everyone wants to play like, so that's what we are looking to bring into this new competition as well. 

"We want to be seen as the benchmark that everyone can strive towards. But the other clubs are looking strong too and like East Fremantle who came out and won the premiership last year. 

"It's a new competition and you don’t know what's going to happen. The standard will lift to another level and all the young girls are now old enough to play league footy having come through the ranks and we are going to have to play against them."

Swan Districts will be coached by Kara Donnellan in 2019 as she freshens up her body following playing for the Dockers in AFLW and getting ready for another big campaign in 2020.

Sharp isn’t sure if 'Juddy' will be tempted into playing for Swans or not in WAFLW, but she is looking forward to her building on the outstanding coaching done at Swan Districts previously by Nicole Graves.

"I actually don’t know what sort of coach she is going to be. I've never actually been coached fully by 'Juddy' before even though she did a couple of games last season while Gravesy was away," she said.

"She is an awesome captain so I'm sure coaching will be the same thing, hopefully because she's a great captain. 

"I don’t think she's going to be playing at all, I think that's why she stepped into coaching to give her body a bit of a break in the off-season as much as we'd love to have her out there playing with us.

"But all the girls at Swans who aren’t in AFLW will keep our level high enough even when our AFLW players aren’t available."

Looking back on the AFLW season at Fremantle where they made it all the way to the preliminary final before losing to Carlton, Sharp had a tremendous time and couldn’t speak more highly of coach Trent Cooper.
 
"It was an awesome season in AFLW," Sharp said.

"We had a really good group of girls who came back together and Trent did an amazing job obviously planning that list and getting the girls together. It definitely was the most fun I've had playing football in a long time."

Sharp was also proud to win the Goal of the Year award for the AFLW season even if she didn’t get the new car that she would in no way say no to if offered her way.

"I didn’t actually win a car for the Goal of the Year, I could really do with one, but I haven’t heard anything from the AFL about a prize. But just the honour of winning the award was enough for me," she said. 

"Going over to Melbourne and being there with the all nominees meant you had no idea if you were going to win or not. 

"But just before my name got read out the cameras came to our table and were on myself and Sabreena Duffy. I told her that it must be one of us that's going to win because of that and I was lucky enough to win. I would love a car too if anyone wants to give me one."

As for 2020, Sharp is committed to continuing to play at the Dockers and would never consider any offers from elsewhere including the West Coast Eagles who will enter AFLW next year.

"A lot of people might know that I've been a Dockers supporter my whole life even before this AFLW competition," Sharp said. 

"The Eagles actually never approached me, I think the Dockers got in too quick and straightaway I signed again with Freo. I love the Fremantle Dockers and I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else after supporting them my whole life."