Christgoergl sets sights on ultimate dream

WESTERN Bulldogs’ VFLW skipper Riley Christgoergl‘s story is one of determination.

After a year marred by concussion, she is coming back stronger than ever in 2022. She comes into 2022 with the hopes of being able to push on into the AFLW system and be drafted.

“Absolutely. It’s the dream isn’t it? I’m working as hard as I can, however far I can,” Christgoergl said. “The sky’s the limit at the moment, and as long as I’m still loving it, I’ll keep doing it.”

Like many other girls her age, Christgoergl did not play footy growing up. Instead she turned to soccer and basketball, and having a fairly high level soccer career. But footy was always her first love, and so in 2017 she joined Old Xavs in the VAFA competition. She made the VAFA’s inaugural women’s Big V side that year.

“I loved footy growing up and I guess I just missed that age group and the opportunity wasn’t there for me, so I went and did a bit of basketball and soccer, and loved every minute of that as well,” Christgoergl said. “But footy was the ultimate love and worked my way back into that eventually.”

Christgoergl then earned her first contract with the Bulldogs in 2019 and has been there ever since. She was named as the Bulldogs’ captain for the 2021 season, but never expected to be the Bulldogs captain. Then, her season got derailed only five matches in.

In that Round 5 match against Geelong, Christgoergl suffered a tackle and suffered a terrible concussion. This concussion ultimately kept her out for the rest of the season, as the lingering effects were worse than standard concussion issues. But she is now fully recovered and looking ahead to the future. She is back at the Bulldogs for 2022 and looking to get drafted in the years to come.

Recovery’s good, I’ve been very fortunate to be fully recovered now,” Christgoergl said. “So I had decent few months off footy and just spent the last three or four months getting my body right again. So it’s full steam ahead for the pre-season and then hopefully a full season this time around.”

She has made a good start to that goal, having played in the Bulldogs AFLW practice match against North Melbourne this month as one of the Bulldog’s top up players alongside Bulldogs VFLW teammates Eliza Morrison and Jemima Woods. Christgoergl described the experience as very different from VFLW.

“It was good, it was definitely very different,” she said. “It’s a whole another jump from VFL, the pace, the strength, but a great learning experience. “Hopefully one of many.”

According to Christgoergl herself, her biggest strength in her game is her ability to read the play, and communication with her teammates. However, she wants to work on her speed and strength, as well as learn more about the technical side of the game.

With hopefully a full VFLW preseason and season ahead of her, she has the time to make herself as draftable as possible. For now, she is just excited to get back to the Kennel where she can suit up alongside her teammates for the upcoming VFL Women’s season, starting on February 12.

“We’ve got a great new coach Kirby Bentley, and a good new group as well,” Christgoergl said. “Some familiar faces and some new up-and-comers and I mean I’m pretty biased, but they’re a really great bunch of personalities and footballers, so we’re really lucky and just really keen for next year.”

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