In this week’s episode, Josh is talking to Georgie Parker who was a Winner in the 2015 South Australian Young Achiever Awards.
Georgie Parker is a former member of the Australian women’s hockey team, the Hockeyroos, and currently plays in the AFLW for the Collingwood Football Club. She played over 100 games of hockey for Australia including the Rio Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 Hockey World Cup.
In this episode:
- When her Mum asked Georgie what she wanted to do when she grew up, the answer was “go to the Olympics”. Little did her Mum know that her dream would come true.
- We hear how Georgie transitioned from being an elite hockey player to an elite AFL player and how she see’s the future of women’s football evolving.
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Welcome to the inspirational Australians podcast, where we chat to people, making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. And here is your host for today, Josh Griffin.
Thanks Annette. Before we get into this week’s episode, just wanting to ask a quick favor, we would love for you to rate and review the podcast because it really helps us to get these episodes out and share these stories of inspirational Australians. And that’s the whole reason we started this podcast plus don’t forget to check us out, Inspirational. Australians are on Instagram and on Facebook. And, uh, speaking of social media, check out the Young Achiever Awards too, while you’re there because we’re sharing the stories of the semifinalists and finalist in this year’s Young Achiever Award. And there’s some really great stories. Now, lastly, tell us about any inspirational strains that, you know, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and who knows we could be interviewing someone that you recommend to us. So on to today’s guest, I am really excited to be interviewing a fellow South Australian like myself and Olympian, a Commonwealth games gold medalist, someone who’s played AFLW appeared on TV, radio, and print to cover sports. And if you believe her bio, she’s a Gold Logie winning actor too, Georgie Parker, thank you for joining us.
Thank you. Thank you. Bio that might not be a hundred percent correct?
Yeah. Well, I stole your own gag on your Facebook bio. So now it’s hilarious. I always laugh at it.
And do you know what starting to fade out because, um, kids of today, like the new generation, whatever they call generation X or whatever, they don’t know who Georgie Parker is. So they’ve kind of got to pick my clientele a few. I use that too. Otherwise you get a bit of cricket, so of course they didn’t watch her in a, what was it? A country Practice or All Saints, which I guess that was a long time ago now. So, um, yeah, it doesn’t, you know, some people are like, kids are like what you’ve won Gold Logies?
Just a joke. Yeah. Well, that’s such a long, you know, such a cool list of, uh, achievements. I just read off the top of there. No, I don’t want to dive into it too, too quick, too soon, but is one of those, something that really, you know, when you reflect back think, wow, I actually did that. That’s crazy.
Uh, yeah, I guess, uh, Oh, um, completely different. The Gold Logie never happened, but, um, the, I mean, Commonwealth gold metal, that was, um, a really exciting time. Same year that year we won, um, the, uh, silver medal at the world cup as well, but to go on and then, um, play, I guess, what was my childhood dream of to play footy, um, was really exciting and to actually be able to get a game, um, learning a sport as an adult was pretty special. Um, I mean, I was that generation that, you know, I wanted to play football as a kid and you’re getting told as a kid, well you actually can’t, you’re a girl and it’s, uh, it’s quite sad when you look back at it, you know, like I was a kid with no a bowl haircut that wanted, I was trying to be like my favorite player, Sean Ryan, which I don’t know why it was my favorite player, but he was, you know, it was a completely different time back then, where you only had male athletes to look up to you, weren’t allowed to, you know, you’re pigeonholed into what was female sports. Um, so to be able to kind of be part of that shift in, um, a generation where, you know, your gender has no boundaries, it’s really quite exciting. Um, and to be part of one of those years that it was forming and creating, it was, it was really, really special. So as much as my achievements playing hockey, they were my lifelong goals because that’s what I was kind of forced to play because I wasn’t allowed to play footy to be able to then transition into a footy player was so exciting. Um, nerve wracking, we need their emotions. It’s just so many emotions going through my mind when I was getting my first game and playing and, you know, getting off first win as well. So, you know, there’s so many different achievements that are completely different in some ways. Uh, so yeah, it’s a, it’s kind of weeds. It’s hard to kind of pick which one was the most special.
We always follow, you know, the, uh, the careers and the journeys of the people involved with our awards programs. And I’ll remember that really clearly, um, seeing, I can’t remember if it was on a news or it’s an article that we’d picked up and, uh, saw that you were playing for Collingwood in AFLW and that was, yeah, that was such a cool thing to read it. And like you said, it was a huge, huge achievement to go from playing in the Olympics for the hockey, for the Hockeyroos, and then to the AFLW um, for those who don’t know, how did that work? Like, how did you kind of put your hand up and say, Hey, I’m going to give this a go, or….
Oh, so I, I, after the Olympics, I went overseas to Belgium and lived a year of there and played, I have kind of a semi-professional league over there. So I was living over there with my partner and we both just living the dream. You know, I was drinking a lot of beer and eating a lot of Belgium, chocolate and chips, and, um, had no real intention to play higher level sport than what I was playing. Um, I then got approached by a few clubs. I think, you know, I was only 27, 28 at the time. And, you know, that’s not particularly old to not be playing high-level sport when, um, you’ve been an elite athlete for 10 years. So I had got approached by a bunch of clubs, and I thought, well, you know what, physically, I can do this. I stopped playing hockey because it takes, it’s a long process. It’s not season by season. Um, if I wanted to go to the next Olympics, it’s another four year commitment. It’s not another year commitment. Then you reassess, it’s four years that you kind of have to be mentally prepared for it. I just didn’t think I was ready for that. So I thought, nah, you know what, just enjoy being young and starting to work and do these things. But then, um, when footy came along and said, you know what, I’m physically able to do this. I don’t have to commit for longer than one year, then another year, then another year, kind of at a time. Um, so not that I wasn’t able to do four years’ worth of, you know, physical sport. It’s more than mentally. I couldn’t for hockey. So I thought, well, do you know what it was actually, it would have been, I could, I’d put myself in my eight year old shoes and thought, how stupid would you be to not take up this offer and opportunity? Um, had a couple of clubs to choose from and ended up choosing, uh, Collingwood. So I could be Melbourne just to start pursuing some of my work, um, career as well. Um, and it was kind of a nice way to go from being a full-time athlete to a part-time athlete, being able to work. So kind of transitioning out of sport as well. But, um, yeah, so they kind of scouted me, um, at the time and, you know, going from hockey, which yes, it’s a field sport and you get to run a lot. So physically I was fine, but I’m going from using a stick and ball and not letting the ball touch your feet, having to catch and kick in having to learn a whole new skill set. So, um, it was, uh, quite eye-opening and humbling to be able to have to learn a new skill, especially as an adult where I’ve gone from being, you know, one of the best in my team and then the world into being the worst in my team, you know, that was, that was quite eye-opening and, um, and scary and, you know, bruise my ego pretty hard, but as well, learning something as an adult, um, especially something when it’s about your body, um, you learn much quicker and faster because it’s sink or swim, isn’t it. So, um, just to swim a little bit, but, um, it was a, it was a really, really exciting time and, um, fun time learning something and getting better quicker and quicker than you would, because I guess this is a really long answer, sorry. But when I was at the top of the hockey, you know, I was fine tuning skills by the end of it, it takes a long time to just kind of get that 1%. Whereas if I was, you know, making huge steps every time I was on the field. So that was really fun as well. So, um, there was a lot to go with and I just absolutely loved it.
Yeah. That would have been, yeah, that’s a really cool way to put it, to think of that 1% versus, you know, when you’re learning something new, not that when you’d to, but in a professional sense, um, yeah, that would’ve been really cool.
There’s more growth opportunity because you’ve got more to learn. Uh, so it was really fun. Scary, but really fun.
Yeah. That’s cool. And do you have like a standout memory from you just being involved with footie, because as you said, I know that you had, um, you know, wanting to work in media and in sport as well.
I guess. I mean, having to play, getting to play, my first match was just awesome. And that was a good win there as well. I just even remember my first mark and first kick, you know, like I will never forget exactly where I was on the field and running and kicking and, um, absolutely nailed the kick as well. Mind you, I came off like, that’s, that’s the best I’ve ever seen you kick the balls? Um, absolutely. Um, I mean, just being there and just seeing kids, um, have this opportunity and kids and girls in particular watch and be able to idolize females that for me is the most precious part of AFLW um, and you know, there’s no boundaries there for them that that’s the best part of it all. Um, and as well as it gets more and more, um, professional and the standard gets better and better watching men as well, watch it and go, Oh, that was actually pretty good. Um, and rather than being surprised, I’m just expecting it as well. So it’s a huge shift in society and I love seeing that, especially as a female athlete in what is a male dominated sport and industry.
Yeah, totally. I’m excited about that as a, I’m a dad of two young girls and just had that opened my eyes to the inequalities and opportunities, um, and to have them now, you know, but they may not like sport at all, who knows. They’re only like four, and two, so, but it’s cool that these opportunities opening up and people like you have done great work to make that a possibility. So thank you very much.
Yeah. It’s more having that option. I’ve got little sister and she’s 10 years old and I asked her a couple of years ago. Oh, do you want to apply footy? And she goes, no, not really. It’s a bit rough. And I go, Oh, well, that’s okay. But the fact I can ask her, that is what I love. Um, and the fact as well that now all these other sports have gone, actually we need to start treating our female athletes better because otherwise they’re going to go to sport like AFLW you know, especially like the powerhouse sports like soccer, um, in terms of global aspect, they’re powerhouse sport. That actually go one Bush, you’ve got to treat all athletes better and look after them, netball’s doing better and better things with their girls as well. Um, cricket, another example of how, how they’re improving. So it’s actually changing the landscape of sport in general, not just footy. And I love saying it.
That’s true. Can I ask you a question off the cuff? Um, just thought of it then, because I’m thinking in my head, you know, there’s so many examples of, as you said, what, uh, sports have to lift their game to compete with AFLW um, and the only example I can think of the other way where someone’s gone from AFL back to the other sport is Gemma McCormick from, um, I’m trying to where she played Adelaide Crows, I think it was. And then she went back to back to the Matildas. So do you think there’s anything, you know, the AFLW needs to be doing to, I guess, make sure that it keeps going, you know, that they’re attracting the, uh, the top female athletic, athletic talent, I suppose.
I think they’re doing all they can, um, they’re going to be pulling sports out. And I think she’s a very, um, I guess she’s very specific because she’s one of the very lucky ones. So she’s top 16 off her sport playing, um, for the Matildas. And I think of me playing hockey, I wouldn’t be Chloe Dalton as well, actually has done it for Rugby Sevens. And that’s because I look at my, with me, the only reason I’ll do it. And I, would’ve never probably left hockey to play footie because my life, my, um, drain shifted when I was a kid. When I was, I said, I want to play footy when that was taken away from me, my dream became, no, I want to go to the Olympics for hockey. And I wouldn’t have changed probably my, my trajectory of hockey for footie. If I was as close to going to the Olympics, as I was, um, the fact that I’d finished hockey is the reason why then came over to the sport. Um, I think if you’re top of your level, most people would want to be playing at the top of their sport for longer. Um, just because that’s, what’s your dream for so long. I think maybe if you’re not in the top, you know, top team of whatever sport you’re playing, then potentially then you’re going to be changing. Gemma clearly is wanting to go to a world cup for soccer. Um, the soccer girls at the Matildas are getting paid well with great, um, benefits, being able to play overseas and these professional competitions, um, and a little bit more established as well. But I think what we, they need to be aiming for as a league, the AFLW is getting the, not necessarily us cross coders to stay in. You wouldn’t be having kids when they’re 10 or 15, and they’re choosing between what sport they’re going to play. They’re going to play soccer. Are they going to play footie that they’re going to play footy? And that’s what I think they’re doing because the caliber of girls coming through is getting better and better every single year. Um, that’s why the standards so good, but you know, you’re getting these 19-20 year old’s who are by far the best players in the comp that doesn’t happen in NFL men’s yet because they’ve been playing for so long, but at the moment, because they’re the ones who’ve been playing since they were 10. So it’s really exciting just to see how the standards going to go. But I don’t think I ended up being worried about us 30 year old’s going back to, or 25 year old, going back to their own sport. It’s getting the 15 year old’s to choose the sport to begin with.
Yeah, true. That’s a really good point actually. Um, that’s why I was speaking to the experts here. So, um, speaking of, uh, you know, putting yourself in their shoes and, and you brought up then the memory of eight year old Georgie picking hockey, because you were kind of forced into it. Um, what, yeah. When did you start hockey playing? Was it at that time or had you been playing already?
No, I, so it, literally, my first game was on my eighth birthday. I would play a year of really sporty family. I grew up in the country and, um, you know, I played the tennis, played the basketball. Um, I played a year of netball and I hated it. That whistle went too often, or you couldn’t run with the ball, you couldn’t get close to them. I was always getting picked for contact and travel and whatever this bruise, I dunno, I hated it. Absolutely hated it. And I was reminded why I hate it. I played a social game about three months ago and I probably haven’t played since I was paid for. And I remember why I hated it. It’s just so frustrating and not for me. Um, so then I said, mom, I want to play footie. You can’t, she goes here. You just need to run around because you’re annoying me. Cause I was a bit of a slacker, crazy kid. You need to run around, here’s a hockey stick. You can go and heat things and, and run around a big, big field. So I ended up playing hockey and just took to it, like duck to water. I just absolutely loved it. Um, and you know, from when I was 10-11, um, I remember I literally mum still got a, an assignment where I had to say what I was going to be doing in the future. And I said, Oh, I’m going to go to the Olympics. And moms are going, of course you are honey. Sure. Every little kid says that, especially like when you’re around Olympic year. And then you’ve got all these assignments on the Olympics and the origins of it, and I’ve said, I’m going to go the Olympics and mum’s okay. Sure, honey. And then, you know, 20 years later there, I am actually going. So, um, you know, it’s a huge credit. It’s just, it’s not even just a, to me, it’s a, it’s a big family effort, um, with that because in Olympic sports and every Olympian will say the same thing because, um, it, it takes a lot of time and effort, especially when you’re a teenager and getting to, and from trainings and things, to be able to achieve that you don’t just magically get to go. So, um, it took a lot of time and effort, so I’m very proud of myself and very thankful for the opportunities my family gave me.
Well, yeah. Your mum sounds like a genius. She identified the correct sport very, very well. And so speaking of you said your country, whereabouts were you growing up?
I grew up in Berri in the Riverland, so it’s called a hockey, it’s quite a sporting area really, but very hockey focused. There’s actually Goldman or grunt shoe, but from Loxton, just over the river there as well. So, and then as well, my little town, there was another girl that I played with called Carrie’s McMahon. So we both got to go to the Olympics together from Berri, which is a four and a half thousand people. That’s pretty special. And then it’s, you know, it’s a very country sport hockey, um, as well with another couple girls from Crookwell in New South Wales, which is a tiny town of about a thousand and there’s two girls from there going to the Olympics. So, um, it’s, it’s very funny that all these small towns have produced such high quality athletes. Um, uh, yeah, I haven’t been that back there in a long time, moved to the city when I was, um, coming into high school. Um, but, uh, I loved, loved growing up in the country. I think that’s, um, a very big reason as to why I’m the way I am.
Did you have the right facilities there to play hockey or were you constantly playing on grass ovals or…
Yeah, grass ovals. They do have a turf there now, but that wasn’t there when I was down there. Um, but that, you know, you learn and adapt and it kind of makes you better at certain other things, um, playing on grass. Um, I as well had to, you know, play with boys because the, the youngest girls’ team was under 15. So, um, I was eight, so they’re like, Oh, well maybe we’ll just put you with the under 12 boys because they’re not as big as the 15 year old girls. Um, but that’s just what country kids do you kind of do just play up age groups and play with boys. And I was a little, you know, running around with a little skirt. I had a boy haircut, but I was wandering around with a skirt playing boys’ hockey where it’s like a bit confused about what’s going on here, but, um, yeah, that’s just country kids. It’s forever having to adapt and deal with what you’ve got there. But, um, you know, came up to the city as much as I could to train. And, um, probably did come up at the right time to be able to progress as much as I did. Plus, Berri’s not too far away. It’s about two and a half, three hours. Depends who was driving mom or dad could come up enough.
Yeah, that’s funny. Um, I’ve actually got a lot of respect for hockey players because in high school I was always a basketball player growing up. I mean, pretty bad, relatively speaking to Olympian, but in summer sports, you know, one of the options there wasn’t many options for me, apart from hockey was fun. My mates were playing it, but this is no slight on goalkeepers. They’ve put me in goalkeeper because I was very, I don’t know, no skill with a stick whatsoever, but that’s why I reckon I’m playing on grass that would improve you because all of a sudden go to the turf and you’d just be a maestro for the stick.
Yeah. A hundred percent. I mean, trapping a ball. And it’s weird because my trapping, wasn’t part of my, um, the best part of my game, but being able to trap then hit the ball and your skills have to be completely different. And then when I came up to the city and I was playing on turf, I was like, wow, this is so much easier. So, um, a hundred percent and it is a really difficult game and it’s not a game that people can kind of hard, it’s hard to pick up later in life. Um, it’s, it’s harder for left-hand it’s because we don’t have left-handed sticks. So it is a really difficult sport it’s, um, very highly skewed. Um, and I think if you do start the earliest start, the easier it is, I’ll tell you what you have to be an absolute idiot to play golie.
I don’t think I realized at the time how dangerous that game was. It’s very hectic.
The ball is very hard. It’s a very hard, and it comes at you very fast. I’m very close. So, um, yeah, I haven’t played in a while now and I kind of think sometimes kind of glad I’m not, because I don’t feel like getting any cuts the lower down you get in level as well. Sometimes the more dangerous it can be, cause there’s not as much control
The sticks flying around everywhere. Well, tell me if I’m off base with this question, but, um, this is something that I kind of thought about sports that are, you know, for the wider public, really coming to view and popularity around Olympics time. Is it hard as a hockey player where every four years there’s Olympics and obviously if it too, there’s a Commonwealth Games and World Champs where there’s that intense speculation and you know, media coverage at that time, but then maybe in between those couple of years, it’s kind of off the, the main sporting radar a bit?
And it’s really frustrating because they, um, relate your success as a team to purely the Olympics when our cup is the exact same, um, qualification event, the exact same, um, event itself essentially. And although the Olympics are our pinnacle, um, to win a world cup silver is not far off winning a silver medal at the Olympics. Um, but not, but only to hockey players, I guess not it doesn’t have that same, um, world cup of soccer. Um, so yeah, it is frustrating because, you know, we all underperformed, especially in Rio, we underperformed immensely, um, as did the entire Australian team of all sports. So, um, a bizarre kind of events, especially, you know, the swimmers and everyone, no one really did better than expected and we did much worse than we should have. Um, and then that’s what they define our success from. Um, and that’s really frustrating when considering the four years prior, since the London Olympics, we basically, hadn’t not, metaled at an event we’ve been winning golds and silvers everywhere we’ve been going. Um, yeah, that’s what it’s measured from. So it is kind of frustrating, um, from that and saying that people seem to think we’re still number one in the world because they remember Sydney where we won a gold medal there as, um, from the home Olympics. So kind of works in our favor in that aspect, but, um, it is frustrating. Um, but at the same time, that’s just the way Olympic sports are, you know, overseas, it’s a different kettle of fish. You go to Argentina and you’re treated like an absolute superstar. The men, when they go to India, it’s a huge sport there. Um, you know, it’s big in Holland, massive in Holland. Um, and that’s where I’m lucky. That’s where my world cup was as well. So, you know, we were selling out, you know, 30,000 seat stadiums in Holland and, um, there, it was huge. There was an amazing event there for our world cup. Um, England, that’s getting bigger and bigger, especially after the England girls one there, um, Olympic gold medal. So around the world, you kind of just have to, you know, put aside what Australia is thinking. I think hockey, especially the Hockeyroos are a very respected team in Australia, regardless of what media attention. Um, it gets, you know, you tell someone that you’re a Hockeyroo and its instantly is prick up. That’s pretty cool. Um, whereas, you know, uh, probably until recently somebody said, I’m a Matilda, they’d go, Oh, what sports that? So, um, helps me put our name in the sport in the name, but, um, I think it is a very respected sport, even though we don’t get that media attention.
I love that point you made, because I just told my sister-in-law, she’s a sports fanatic. She loves every sport. And um, I said, Oh, I’m actually going to be chatting to Georgie Parker from the hockey ruse. And she’s like, Oh yeah. And we’re chatting about hockey. And she was like, what’s the men’s team called again? Yeah. Great moment.
It’s so funny. But I think it’s because they often get misconstrued then the names. And I think because the Socceroos other men’s soccer team, people think the hockey brews should be the men’s hockey team. So, I remember when men won the world cup gold in 2014, um, and it, the big half page or a big full-page spread in the paper and it said Hockeyroos win gold medal. I’m thinking there’s one a silver the day before cute. We didn’t win it. And a big picture of the boys on there. And that really frustrated me at the same time. I’m like kind of thinking it’s kind of nice because it never, the females team is never the most known team except in hockey. And that, I love that because it’s not very often. And I do wish they gave a little bit more respect to those men who won that gold medal. But, you know, in terms of a female feminism kind of way, it’s kind of nice that our team was front of mind because that doesn’t rarely very, very rarely happens.
Yeah. That’s spot on. Um, I had another hockey question to ask you, but I’m trying to written it down now. I’m forgetting what it was talking about. We went off about five different tangents there. I do want to ask you one thing actually. Uh, I remember what it is, but coming back to it, another thing about hockey that, uh, that intrigued me or seemed, you know, difficult. And again, you can, I’m looking forward to getting your, your input on this, correct me if I’m wrong, everyone has to go over to Perth that’s right. For and be based there for their big training camps and, and all that stuff. Um, what’s that like to, you know, does that, I guess it’s a two-part question a, is it hard and B, does it improve camaraderie because everyone’s all there together?
Yeah. So we have to go to Perth, that’s where our AIS is based. So, you know, a lot of sports go over to Canberra, I guess, where would you rather be Canberra or Perth? That’s the kind of thing. Um, living in Perth, that’s probably, for me coming from Adelaide, um, the easiest transition, it’s a very similar kind of city, just a little bit warmer with better beaches. Um, so for me, it was really quite simple. Um, the time zones annoying, like they don’t have daylight savings annoying, but it’s a beautiful place to live in. Um, and very easy transition for me a little bit harder for girls like Sydney girls. I’m a Melbourne people who are used to a little bit more hustle and bustle, but, um, yeah, when I moved over there, I moved over there in 2011 and we had a huge intake of new players because we had a new coach come in and it was great to be all there at the same time coming over new, fresh. Um, and you’re right. It does kind of improve camaraderie because you’re all doing it together. We do travel a lot together as well though. So, you know, we might be moving there, but we traveled six months over the year. So whether we’re there or not, um, you’re still, you know, away together as a team. Um, but you know, it’s a great place to live, so I love it. Um, and I guess when you’re growing up and you’re coming through the, um, state-based Institute programs, you know, whatever sport you’re doing, you know, kind of where you’re going to be, you know, cyclists know they’re going to go to Adelaide, if they’re good enough, kayak has a role. As you know, they go a little bit everywhere, but mostly Queensland, you’ve got rugby seven girls know they’re going to be gone to Sydney. I knew that coming when I was 14, 15, 16, that if I was good enough, I was going to have to end up in Perth. Um, so you kind of come to terms with that fact pretty, pretty early on in your athletic career. And, um, I love it there and you know, I’ll probably settle back there in the future.
Now I was going to save this for later, Georgie, but you’ve prefaced it there. So it may as well just jump straight in. You’re talking about cycling and cyclists go to Adelaide. So if you cast your mind back to 2015, when you actually won the Worldwide Printing Sports Award, as part of the young achiever awards in essay, and you actually interrupted, you are the blip in a line of cyclists who won that award.
Speaker 3 (27:26):
Oh, I am. I did not know that. Um,
You said that strong cycling culture in Adelaide and a lot of elite cyclists. Um, so we had, and I’ll see if I get this right top of my head. It was Annette Edmondson, then her brother, Alex Edmondson, and then you won it. And I think sandwiched in between you then there was Steph Morton and Rohan Dennis is in there somewhere as well. He was in the Tour de France, Steph Morton, and the Edmundson siblings, Alex, and Annette had both been to the Olympics. Um, Steph Morton, you know, obviously I think she actually won, I don’t want to get this wrong actually, but yeah, so there’s a really elite line of cyclists there, and then they, there you are as well.
Then there I am, and it’s hard, I guess, as a team sport to, um, pick up, uh, allocate, allocate the right word, allocate it, is it the right word? Awards, I’m about to say awards, awards like that because, um, it’s hard to, as a team person to, it’s not just me, it’s a huge team effort. And, um, as opposed to cyclists that, you know, their achievements are very specific to them. Um, so I was very, very, um, I guess, shocked and surprised when I did win that award back then. Um, but in saying that we had a brilliant year as a team the year prior, um, and I tried to do as much as I can good for the community as well that year, too. So it was a, um, a very, very nice award that I win that won that and to be surrounded by, you know, they are elite other people to have won that award. Um, you know, a lot of Olympic medalists in there as well. So, um, it was very, very honored,
Well, quickly I’ll mention who was out, who else was a finalist? So Steph Morton was a finalist that year. Like I said, I think she won at the following, uh, Sally keyhole, who was an Olympic rower three times Olympian was a finalist and Anthony Dean who used Olympian in 2016 with BMX. Um, that’s a pretty incredible list of finalists, their Adelaide finalists, um, including yourself, of course. So, uh, but going back to that, um, so that year that was a huge year for your 2014, because that was the Commonwealth games and the world cup. Is that right? In 2014?
Yeah. So no wonder you were so prominent in that award. And then I also believe from memory that you were quite involved with, Are You Okay? The charity and now Are You Okay Day and things like that, which, um, I believe contributed as well on the, you know, your community involvement side of things. I guess Mike, leading to my question is, um, what kind of areas are you passionate about this day outside of sport? Is there anything that’s kind of got your attention at the moment?
Oh, I still, I guess push that as a lot of, um, people, my age do push that mental health side of things as well, actually ended up donating my, um, prize money to, Are You Okay Day, um, that I want as well from that. Um, because it’s just such a, a hidden, I guess, illness that, you know, the more you talk about it, the more people are willing to help themselves or help others around them. So I guess I’m still really passionate about that as, um, like I said, many people my age, um, but you know, as well, um, um, I love my coaching. I do as much coaching as I can as well. Um, and, you know, speaking to schools, um, things like that will work as much as I can, um, in the sports world, which is a very male dominated world, which is a, um, a tricky world to be in. But, um, I love the challenges of that. That gives me as well. And, um, yeah, just kind of live, live my best life as much as I can. And especially in this year, it’s been difficult to do I guess, but try to see the best in everything that you can
Nice. One, I guess, to let listeners know. And, um, if you’re happy for me to say this, you’ve just moved back from Melbourne. Sorry. Moved back from Perth to Melbourne. Yeah. Straight into a lockdown as we record this.
Well, I thought I was going to escape it all because I left Melbourne in March last year. So I didn’t really get a lock down. Cause I went to Perth. Then I came back here and then Perth went into a really random five day lockdown over one case. And then I thought I am, you know, I am escaping COVID, COVID does not want to come near me. Thought I was a top of the world. And then bam, here I am in a lockdown and I’ve just been to this place. We don’t even have furniture in our house at the moment in transit. So look, it’s a bit of a grim situation here for me at the moment, but, um, you know, you’ve got to do what you got to do and, um, being locked inside, it’s not the worst thing. I’ve just started golf. So, sit sitting out the front with my, um, putting mat every day. So I’m going to be very, very good at a three hole a pot by the end of this, that it’s official
Because you got to come up with creative ways, don’t you to be, uh, to be active
Exactly. Physically, mentally, all those kinds of things. Um, and try to do things where you’re using your hands. So you’re not just sitting on your phone or all day every day, um, taking him way too much junk information. That was, that was my kind of thing. I don’t want to be looking at the Kardashians anymore than I have to.
Yep. Here’s a hot tip to anyone listening, turn off the screen time report on your phone.
Done that, don’t worry.
Yeah. So the other question I had that I wanted to ask you was about, you know, your media appearances, because you’ve been across quite a few different things. As I said in the, uh, the opening there in the top, um, on print and radio and TV, you know, did you really enjoy that? Are you looking to do more or, um, yeah. Tell us about that kind of aspect of your career.
So I studied journalism and PR at Uni, um, and my goal is always to work within the AFL media. Um, it’s a tough, tough place to get work in. And that’s another reason why I went back and played footie as well. And, and specifically for Collingwood when I had other clubs, but probably a little bit smaller clubs, um, chatting to me. Um, but yeah, so I always want it to work within AFL and within sport. I love it. It’s my passion. It’s what I do on weekends. I just sit there and watch my sport. I love it. Um, so yeah, I’ve been really, really blessed when I was playing hockey. People seem to want to help you out a lot when you’re an Olympian. And when you, um, representing your country. So while I was playing hockey, I did a lot of work experience within the radio and TV realm. Um, you know, I was writing for, um, things like the Messenger. I don’t even know if the Messengers still exist, but I was writing for the Adelaide Messenger, the community paper there. I was writing a monthly columns, but then just to kind of leverage off of the hardware work I had done with sport, um, and then be using my degree into, you know, something that I love as well. So I did all that kind of work experience going through. And then, um, you know, when I finished playing footy, I was mad at, you know, had those connections that really helped me, you know, get on, um, on, on, uh, seven VFL broadcasts and AFLW broadcasting. I was working with ABC, ABC for, um, boundary riding for the AFL as well. And, um, it helps when you’ve got, when you’re Mike’s with people like Andy Maher. So, he put me on the front bar, which was awesome. Um, I’ve been really, really blessed with those opportunities, but you know, I, I do want to stress that I did work really hard to be able to forge those connections. And, um, it’s nice to be able to show something because when you, when you’re playing sport and you know, I was coming out of that at 30 and I’d never worked a real job before in my life and it’s quite daunting, but you have to remind yourself that you actually have been taking steps while you’re playing sport. Um, and you know, I was probably in a better position than many male athletes because I have to start planning for that the entire time, knowing that I don’t have this big bank account that’s full, um, after my sports. So I worked as hard as I could while I was playing to, to give me the best options possible when I do finish. Um, and I love it. I love working in that environment because it’s every week’s different. Um, it’s exciting. It’s, um, what I love doing what I love watching, I’ve combined everything altogether. It’s really fun. And I love that, you know, there’s, there’s no ceiling really, especially now where there’s more and more opportunities coming, you know, COVID clearly affected things. I was going to be working on the broadcast for the Olympics. So that was really annoying that, um, that came in just at a time that I was, you know, really starting to settle in and, um, feel comfortable in what I was doing. And it wasn’t so, um, nervous nerve wracking and anxiety riddling going on live TV by this stage. But, um, yeah, you know, that’s just is what it is and you take it as it comes. So see how many more cliches I can rattle off now, but, you know….
I’ve seen you on, um, on the, I think it was the footie coverage and yeah, you did seem really good and natural on camera. And, um, especially that what you said resonated about, you know, the male athletes who may be don’t need to prepare for that. Um, which is a shame of course, but, and an example of that, and again, this is no slight because I love Archie Thompson. I’ve got his Jersey hanging up in my, uh, his key hanging up in my closet. It’s taken him a while to become really comfortable on a football coverage. You know, there’s a legend of the game in Australia. I know what you mean. You have to put in the work to kind of take advantage of the opportunities.
It a hundred percent, it’s flying hours and it’s time in front of the camera and it’s time, um, being able to work. It’s a new craft. You’ve got to learn. We actually had Archie Thompson on my podcast. I’ve got a podcast called That’s What She Said. And we had, um, one of the, um, athletes is Mel Barbieri, the former Matildas captain. And we had Archie Thompson on and he speaks some really funny story, especially when he keeps so many goals in that game. And very, he’s kind of embarrassed about it. So he says some good yarns in there. So a little plug for my little podcast.
Yeah. He, I mean, he’s, that’s his greatest chatting off the cuff about stories and, and stuff like that. And that would be, I’m going to listen to that episode actually. Cause I love Archie. And I guess I did have one question specifically, you mentioned Andy and the Front Bar. This is what I’ve always wondered when they have the beer sitting there, do they actually drink them?
Do you know what, um, Malloy drinks him cause he loves it. I was too nervous to drink, to drink it. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to, they’re allowed to drink kits, um, in any section other than the, the betting section, because you don’t want to be promoting alcohol with, with gambling. Cause you should be always making sure you’re cohesive with your thoughts when you’re, um, gambling. So there are a lot of drinking, any other segments, but um, Malloy though, he happily, you know, drink and the next time you watch it, you will notice his beer is nearly finished by the end of the show. And the rest of them only have a couple of sips.
Well, that’s why I asked because I’m trying to wrap my head like, remember back, I’m thinking of saying the beers could go down, but I can’t remember them drinking, but maybe they do take cheeky sips here and there.
Yeah. I was too nervous to drink, drink any beer, but they have a couple.
Yeah, I would be the same. I know exactly what you mean. Well, um, before we go, I did want to ask you quickly, you know, we may have covered it already, but can you tell us something that inspires you personally, Georgia, we were on this brilliant, I’ll try that again. We’re in the inspiration of Australians podcast. So what inspires you?
I think you’ve got to look for inspiration in, in a lot of things you do. And I think you kind of pigeonhole yourself if you only look at one thing to inspire you, um, because you can literally find it anywhere. And I think that’s kind of what makes you quite a rounded person? You know, I mean, for example, my sister is an absolute battler when it comes to exercise, she’s not at all athletic, not at all coordinated yet, the other day I was in bed and I was thinking, Oh, I really don’t want to go to the gym today. The day before my sister completed her first ever five kilometer run. And that inspired me that day to go from my exercise. So I think that if you can literally find inspiration in anything and anyone just the same way that any single person in this world, whether you’re three or whether you’re a hundred, has something to teach you. Um, a three-year-old knows things that I don’t know. I’m just like, I know much a lot that they don’t know. So I think that if you find knowledge and inspiration, anything you do, you’re going to be quite a rounded person. And um, in the end, like I don’t particularly want to be probably quite contradictory, but you know, I just want to be a quite a normal person. That’s really happy in everything that I do, but takes pride in anything I do. And that’s why I’m talking about being around a person and it’s okay to not be Serena Williams, but it is, you know, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be continually get better at what you’re doing. And that’s by finding those little bits of inspiration, whatever you’re doing every day.
I love that we can’t all be the goat, but we can kind of do what, you know, do what we can
Improving and in everything you do and be a good person. And that’s more important.
And thank you for the inspiration because, um, if an Olympian struggles with going to the gym, occasionally I’d have to say that.
Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. Then I told her and she goes, what? I inspired you. Wow. Like she was so I could never hear the end. I want your right.
That’s great. And so you mentioned your podcast, where can people find that they want to hear more Georgie?
Yeah. You can find that on Spotify and iTunes just called That’s What She said. Just type that in. And then you’ll see my head popping up there with Mel Barbieri and Ashley Nelson, who is a superstar hockey player that I played with, um, played over 200 games for Australia. So she is an absolute star as well. So it’s quite a fun, really lighthearted, um, and plenty of good guests on there as well as absolute chatter about nothing. So defendant forty-five minutes, 60 minutes of absolute junk. It’s a good one to listen to.
Yeah, I love it. Um, so, and people can connect with you on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We’ll put the links to that in our show notes and uh, yeah. Thanks so much for taking the time to come on today, Georgie. I appreciate it.
Thanks for having me, loved it
I hope you enjoyed that interview. If you liked it or any of our other episodes, it would be great. If you can rate and review the inspirational Australians podcasts, it really helps us out. If someone, you know, needs a little dose of inspiration, why not let them know about this podcast? And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribed so that you won’t miss an episode, join us each week. As we talk with ordinary Australians, achieving extraordinary things, you can always head through our website at awardsaustralia.com/podcast, for more information and details on each guest. Now, before we go, I’d like to thank Annette, our producer. Here’s a fun fact, Annette is my mum and our other hosts Geoff is my dad. This podcast is brought to you by Awards Australia, a family-owned business that proudly uncovers the stories of people who make a difference for others. We can only do this with the support of our corporate and not-for-profit partners as they make our awards programs possible. So, do you know someone making a difference? If you’d like to recommend someone to be guests on the podcast, get in touch through our Instagram page, Inspirational.Australians, or maybe your business might like to sponsor the podcast or get involved with the awards. We run head to our website, awardsaustralia.com for more details until next week, stay safe and remember, together we make a difference.
Thanks for joining us today on the inspirational Australians podcast, we hope you enjoyed listening and have been inspired by ordinary Australians, achieving extraordinary things. So, it’s goodbye for another week. Remember, together we make a difference.