Hough overcomes “scary” debut to adapt to League footy

STEPPING onto the football field as a 15-year-old, Sturt Women’s Tiah Hough admitted it was “a bit scary”. Luckily for the 158cm teenager, the support of her Double Blues teammates helped get her through a tough initiation in 2020, and then return to play four more games late in the 2021 season. Her journey itself started like many others, transferring from the basketball court to the footy field.

“I used to play basketball and then I had to make the change to footy in 2018,” Hough said. “I wasn’t enjoying basketball so I just decided to swap to footy. “I’d always been around it, and then yeah progressed from my local club through to Sturt and then up into the League team.”

Hough admitted finally running out at SANFL Women’s senior level was certainly a daunting experience, but one she fully enjoyed.

“It was good and everything, like I loved it. It was a whole new experience, I got to meet new people and obviously develop my skills,” Hough said. “It was a bit scary because I was only 15 going into my first League game, but I had the support around me and all the players were getting around me, so it was good.”

The midfielder rates her attack on the ball and burrowing in at packs and extracting it to teammates as strengths. She said she also loved the aggression she could display on the footy field. That aggression is a key reason why she opted for Aussie rules over basketball.

“I think the bigger team, I loved how everyone got around each other (is why I chose footy),” Hough said. “I was always aggressive in basketball, so I think footy was the better decision. “But I always loved the bigger team and the better atmosphere.”

Her favourite position is through the midfield, but said she had to improve her kicking both in accuracy and penetration, admitting it was “a struggle” of hers. It was a key focus for her heading into 2022, as well as becoming more confident and physical.

“Obviously I am confident within myself, but just anyone who is confident in doing anything and taking on more skills and being a more physical person within the midfield,” she said. “I just want to push myself to the furthest I can, and just prove to myself that with hard work you can go places.”

Off the field, Hough is a budding fashion designer who hopes to delve more into formal attire and wedding gowns.

“I’m into fashion design so I’m into that and love making stuff,” Hough said. “I want to do that as my career and do that into wedding dresses and more formal gowns.”

Now entering her top-age year, Hough looms as a player to watch for Sturt, as the Double Blues look to crack into the SANFL Women’s finals series for the first time in the club’s history. For Hough, it is about staying heathy and working hard to see if she can reach the next level.

“I’d love to get drafted that would be amazing but I’ve just got to put in the hard work to get there,” Hough said.

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