WHILE the AFLW competition was cut short this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with no premiership contested, there was still something to crow about for Limestone Coast supporters.
Adelaide Crows player Sarah Allan was rewarded for her hard work throughout the season with All-Australian selection as a defender.
It was a welcome result for Allan, who had reached the All-Australian squad the last two seasons, but had not made final cut.
Allan was told of her selection via a video call with coach Matthew Clarke, with no awards night held due to the coronavirus.
The Crows struggled this season and did not make the finals, but the whole team was buoyed by Allan’s selection, along with team mate Anne Hatchard.
Allan said she was surprised to see her name on the final list.
“I have been selected in the squad for the past two years and I was a bit worried it would be my third time in the squad and not making the team,” she said.
“But I got in and it’s a great end to a disappointing season with it being cut short.
“I guess I can still look back on 2020 and be happy with the season.”
Allan made the final team due to her efforts in defence, a position she has grown into since being with the Crows.
“I did not play a lot of defence growing up,” she said.
“I got moved there in my first few seasons and ended up finding a spot at full back.
“It is not the easiest job and definitely tough every week to try to be that rock in defence.
“I like it because I know I have a job to do and we have a really good group in defence.
“We work hard together, try to work well as a unit and get the job done as a team.”
Allan said her family was “thrilled” with the announcement.
“I have been trying to get in the team for the past three years so everyone was really excited,” she said.
“I made a few phone calls and rang dad first to tell him the good news – he was really excited.
“I had phone calls with mum, my sisters and my grand parents, but there is a lot on social media so everyone finds out anyway.”
Allan had plenty of opportunity to ply her defensive trade this season, with the Crows’ defensive unit under a lot of pressure.
She said the side struggled for various reasons, but she was not making excuses.
“We were a younger inexperienced team due to injury, but you cannot always blame the injuries,” Allan said.
“We had enough talent, but just struggled.
“It was a tough season, but I’m sure we will move on, learn from it and be better next season.”
Looking back on her time with the Crows Allan said it had been a huge learning curve from her early days with Hatherleigh as a junior just wanting to play football.
“The game has evolved massively,” she said.
“I think with the time and effort every team has put in it has changed the competition dramatically.
“It will help the overall development grow because now young girls are playing footy from a young age.
“They are watching it on TV and that will help the league in the future.
“Girls will come in who have been kicking the football their whole life and that will dramatically change the competition.
“It is a really high standard competition now.”
Over the journey Allan has had the opportunity to take the field with some high-calibre players, with Erin Phillips one of the best.
“It was pretty amazing getting to play with Erin Phillips, after growing up watching her play for Australia in the basketball,” she said.
“To be able to be her team mate was really cool, to learn from her experiences.
“You just take note of the little things players like her do and the way they go about their game and it really helps shape how you want to play.
“Overall it has just been a great experience at the Crows.”
Allan said her latest honour could not have come was it not for the support she received in the early days.
“It took a lot to get me to that point,” she said.
“I had a lot of community support behind me growing up.
“I played Junior Colts for Hatherleigh and did a bit of training with Millicent.
“There were a lot of people behind me which was nice.
“Back then there were not as many girls who wanted to play football as there is now.
“All that support helped me.”
Allan said while the season cut short was a disappointment when it was announced, she saw it coming.
“We were in talks with the AFL and it was a bit easier for us because of the position we were in,” she said.
“If you were a top-four team it would have been a lot harder to give up.
“But it is good that we can look back and still have a couple of us in the All-Australian team.
“It was a good reward for our whole team because it takes everyone for individual players to flourish.
“I could not do it without my other defenders.”
Allan was earlier named in the AFL Players’ Association inaugural 22under22 team.