Cranbourne’s Darcy Guttridge has proven her leadership credentials during a decorated season.
After four games for the Gippsland Power earlier in 2017 saw her named in the inaugural TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year, the 17-year-old defender/midfielder graduated to make eight Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s appearances for the Eagles – being named in the team’s best players on five occasions.
Guttridge was also a captain of Vic Country during its undefeated 2017 NAB AFL Women’s U18 Championships campaign and was subsequently named skipper of the AFL Women’s U18 All Australian team.
vfl.com.au spoke to Guttridge at the recent NAB AFL Women’s Draft Combine at Etihad Stadium in the lead-up to the 2017 NAB AFL Women’s Draft on Wednesday October 18.
What strengths of yours have you been using to sell yourself to AFL Women’s clubs?
- Something I get asked about a lot is my leadership qualities, because I’ve represented Vic Country as a captain (at the AFLW U18 Championships) and got picked in the AFLW U18 All Australian team as a captain as well. The biggest question I get asked is: ‘What makes a good leader?’ and I just think it’s about whether you’re approachable and if people can come up and talk to you when they need something. It’s truly humbling to be seen as somebody who can captain a side.
What is the strangest question you’ve been asked by AFL Women’s club recruiters?
- I got asked by one club: ‘What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?’ Maybe they were trying to see whether I was a good person or not. That kind of took me back a bit. I haven’t done anything that came to mind.
Which AFL Women’s players do you particularly like to watch and model your game on?
- Brianna Davey (Carlton / St Kilda VFL Women’s) is definitely my go-to – just how she takes the game on and really runs through packs. If I could ever play like Dustin Martin (Richmond) in the AFL – to just be able to perfect that fend-off – I think that’d definitely make the game interesting.
How would you assess your 2017 season?
- It’s definitely been a long year. I was part of the NAB AFL Women’s Academy and the first training camp was in January, and it’s kind of been ‘go go go’ with football until this moment. It’s been successful. I haven’t done anything where I’ve been upset with myself necessarily and I finished it pretty strongly with the U18 State of Origin match.
What expectations did you have for yourself at the start of the year?
- At the start of the year I was honestly like: ‘Whatever happens, happens.’ I didn’t even see myself as a prospect to be drafted. I just said: ‘If I’m lucky enough, I might get picked up by a club,’ and the further you go into the year the more real it becomes.
How did you find the transition from TAC Cup Girls to VFL Women’s this year?
- You feel the shift in going from the TAC Cup Girls to VFL Women’s, especially going from playing against potential AFL Women’s draftees to those who have been drafted. Even though it’s not crazy different, you can definitely feel they’re professional women (in VFL Women’s).
What do you think was your best individual performance of the year?
- It was probably Vic Country vs Vic Metro at Simonds Stadium (a 27-point win in the AFLW U18 Championships). Something about that game was just great.
Which VFL Women’s or TAC Cup Girls opponents caught your eye or were particularly difficult to play on this year?
- Chloe Molloy (Diamond Creek / Calder Cannons), the leading goalkicker in VFL Women’s and TAC Cup Girls. Bridie Kennedy (Cranbourne / Dandenong Stingrays) – she’s definitely an athlete. Eden Zanker (Bendigo Pioneers) – she’s a very strong forward. She played for Vic Country and won the goalkicking in the U18 Championships.
Who do you think has had the biggest influence on your football recently?
- It’s going to have to be my mum, just because no matter what happens she’s been there for me. If she thinks I need to peg it down a bit, she’ll come in and peg it down. If I need new footy boots, without question she’ll purchase them for me.
Which of your VFL Women’s or TAC Cup Girls teammates do you think should also be in draft contention?
- From the Gippsland Power, Holly Whitford is a small forward or inside midfielder. She’s a good little player. She hasn’t been on the radar too much but she should definitely be there. She’s got a lot of ‘go’ in her and she’s got that base fitness.
Who do you think will be pick no.1 at the NAB AFL Women’s Draft?
- It’s always tossing up between Izzy Huntington (Sandringham Dragons / Melbourne Uni) and Chloe Molloy (Diamond Creek / Calder Cannons).
THE FAST FIVE with Darcy Guttridge
What food could you not live without?
- I love salmon.
If you weren’t a full-time footballer in the future, what would be your dream job?
- I would love to be a police officer.
What karaoke song would you sing to save your life?
- ‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Celine Dion.
Which teammate would you want to be stranded on a desert island with and why?
- Holly Whitford, because she’s my best friend and you can put up with your best friends.
Which teammate would you not want to be stranded on a desert island with and why?
- No one’s coming to mind – I think I could live with anybody!