Physiotherapy student Hayley Miller has been selected by the Fremantle Dockers in their first draft pick at the inaugural AFL Women’s National Draft.
The establishment of a national women’s league is a historic development in AFL. Thirteen clubs made submissions to participate in the inaugural year of AFL Women’s and eight were chosen, including the Dockers.
Hayley, who is relatively new to the game, was hooked on football from the very first game she played. Her talent clearly matched her early passion, and she was scouted at a lightning carnival in high school and later selected for an under-18 state team.
“I haven’t been in the game all that long, but I fell in love with it from the first game I played in high school. My passion for it hasn’t wavered once since I started, and with all the new developments at the moment, the excitement and hype around football makes me even more eager to play,” she said.
Hayley gained national attention in April 2016, when she sustained a broken leg when playing for the Eagles against Fremantle in the curtain raiser for the Western Derby. Hayley ignored the pain and continued playing, going on to kick two goals for her team. The Eagles won the match by 65 points.
Hayley juggles her physiotherapy degree with gym sessions and a demanding training regime, and believes her studies have informed her development as an athlete.
“I have certainly learnt a lot about the role of a physiotherapist in a sporting environment through my involvement in football, and have been exposed to many different types of injuries both to myself and my teammates that I have been able to learn about, or see the rehab processes of, first hand,” she said.
“My studies in physiotherapy have also enhanced my sporting career by making me more aware of, and more knowledgeable about, injury prevention and rehabilitation, which I think is very important to know as an athlete.”
The first year of the AFL Women’s competition will be played in February-March 2017, and Hayley cannot wait to get onto the field to compete.
“It’s all been a pretty surreal experience so far. I am very proud to be involved and I’m sure this will be something I will continue to be proud of for a long time,” she said.
The Dockers also selected physiotherapy student Belinda Smith, health sciences student Brianna Green and Master of Occupational Therapy alumus Dana Hooker in the draft.