Isabel Huntington (OM 2017) was drafted by the Western Bulldogs with the first overall selection in the 2017 AFLW draft, while she was Co-Captain of St Michael’s. Since then, Izzy has bounced back from multiple injuries and moved from the forward line into defence. She was one of five defenders to be named in the 2020 Team of the Year and became the Western Bulldogs’ first ever Rising Star award winner. On top of her dazzling football career, Izzy is also completing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne, with the goal of working in medicine.
Despite a career defining AFLW season being cut short this year, Izzy Huntington considers herself fortunate. During the lockdown period, Izzy’s training commitments have helped her to maintain a balanced lifestyle. “I’m a big advocate for finding a balance to support your mental health. To be able to get outdoors and do my program has been beneficial and a good outlet.”
Izzy credits her club in prescribing supportive programs based on different players’ needs. However, training from home does not come without its challenges. “We’ve had to adapt. You have to find things around the house to use as weights and get a bit creative”.
While Izzy is now in possession of a Rising Star award, she still names her debut game in 2018 as her career highlight. “The first time I got to run out on that field, it was an incredible atmosphere. We got the win, and it was the realisation of a dream that I’d had for a really long time. It was quite surreal, because I never thought that it would happen”.
More than her love of the game, what makes the AFLW special to Izzy is its societal and cultural impact. “I think we’ll be able to look back in 10- or 15-years’ time and see the significant impact in inviting women into a world that they’ve been shut out of for a long time”.
Since her St Michael’s days, Izzy has been a strong advocate for equity in women’s sport. “We would love to have the opportunity to play full time. The ideal goal is to have the exact same opportunities as a male player”.
Izzy is spurred on by the uplifting letters she receives from young players who see her as a role model and star.
It’s very heart-warming when you get letters from young girls and boys, and hear the things that they say at games. It shows their love of the game and just how much of an impact the AFLW is having.Isabel Huntington (OM 2017)
To any St Michael’s students looking to follow in Izzy’s footsteps, her advice is to “take every opportunity as it comes, follow your instincts, and if you love something, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it”.
Isabel Huntington was recently featured on Stories from the Crest, St Michael’s new podcast.
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