Duursma thrives off competitive siblings

WHEN you have four siblings who have all represented Victoria in some capacity, and have aspirations to reach the top level, there is always going to be a little bit of healthy competition. For Gippsland Power‘s Yasmin Duursma, the second of four Duursma’s, it has been more of a help than a hindrance. Older brother Xavier achieved his dream of reaching the elite level with Port Adelaide, and now AFL Academy member Zane and youngest sibling Willem (Victorian Under 15s state side) are well on their way to following in his footsteps.

“Yeah our family is definitely extremely competitive,” Duursma said. “Which probably helps in improving for each of us. It definitely helps a lot.”

Though her younger siblings will get their chance over the next couple of years to impress, Yasmin’s top-age year has rolled around in 2022. She was able to represent Vic Country at Under 17s level, showcasing her athleticism and slick left foot both through her Power and Country matches.

“That was pretty cool,” Duursma said of her Country experience. “It was good get to know everybody across Vic Country from all the girls my age, which was really a new experience from me. “That was pretty exciting.”

The talented midfielder averaged 12.5 disposals, 2.5 marks and 3.0 tackles at the AFLW Under 17 Championships, and was a crucial player for the Power in the 2021 NAB League Girls season, managing 14.3 disposals and 5.1 tackles. Despite coming from a footy-mad family, Duursma has not been playing the sport as long as one might think.

“I started footy two years ago from now and I came straight to the Power program,” Duursma said. “Pete Francis got onto my dad and was like ‘bring her along’ so I came along to the preseason trainings and got stuck into the programs from there.”

Duursma started the 2022 year off on the right note, having been named in the Vic Country hub late last year, and spending time at the training camp alongside all the other talented Country hopefuls.

“It was another really good experience,” Duursma said. “It’s helping improve my footy from where I started the year. It’s just another good experience going forward with footy.

“I’ve got lots of girls from Bendigo, I’m pretty close to them and I still talk to them even though we’re not together at Vic Country anymore which is good.”

Despite being a bit of a raw talent, Duursma came on in leaps and bounds last season. Clean with ball-in-hand and a high work rate to run all day, the hard running midfielder is one to watch in the coming season.

“I think endurance is definitely one of my strengths as well as reading the game,” Duursma said. “I can put myself in the right positions, get to where I need to be and things like that.”

Two improvements the Gippsland Power midfielder wants to make are her groundballs and contested marking. But at least she knows there will be no shortage of available talent running around in her literal own backyard.

“It’s definitely helped a fair bit. Obviously if I need help with tips and tricks like Xavier’s always on the phone,” she said. (He says) ‘Here try these drills out’, I get my other brothers out in the backyard. “They’re always supporting me through my improvements which is good.”

In 2022, Duursma hopes to continue playing midfield, but would not mind splitting time between the inside and the wing, or even half-back, just to showcase her natural running ability. Though her goal – like her siblings – remains to reach the top level, she is just focusing on the things she can control.

“The goal is to get drafted, hopefully get onto an AFLW list,” Duursma said. “But I’m just going to work as hard as I can to make that happen, and if not then I’ll keep working hard to see if I can get on a list later on, I’ll see how that goes.”

For Port Adelaide fans who have enjoyed watching her older brother run around in the teal, the Power may have a chance at picking up another Duursma. When asked if she would consider moving to join her brother in South Australia, Yasmin was candid.

“I would not mind moving to Port Adelaide,” she said. “I think that would be the dream situation, but we’ll see how we go.”

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