Schwerdt enjoys memorable debut season

COMING off a memorable debut SANFL Women’s season, Norwood Women’s Lana Schwerdt is excited about the possibilities that 2022 brings. Having moved from Queensland to South Australia in her youth, and played multiple sports, Schwerdt eventually settled on Australian rules football. It proved a good decision. with the State Under 18s Academy member producing a strong 2021 debut season at senior level.

“I started footy in Year 8 when the school introduced it as a sport and then after that I really loved that,” she said. “So the next year I went out and did some club footy out at Glenunga Rams and I did some of the Under 15s stuff with Norwood. “Then last year I joined the women’s squad and got into that.

“I did a triathlon growing up because I was in the Gold Coast for a few years and that’s been quite big up there. “Netball a big one, and they were the main sports that I did growing up.”

After developing through the juniors, Schwerdt made her debut in Round 2 of last season, and held her place in the senior women’s side. The Norwood midfielder has fond memories of the debut match, and the season as a whole.

“Yeah it (debut) was great. Everyone was so supportive and I had a really good time, and it was exciting,” Schwerdt said. “It was definitely a jump up but it was enjoyable and it felt like I learned a lot. The environment was so supportive, it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was really nice.”

Enjoying playing through the midfield be it onball or across the wing, Schwerdt said she also did not mind pushing into the forward line. The pinnacle of her year from an individual perspective came when she was awarded the Ellen Maple Medal during Norwood’s win against Sturt.

The introduction of the Ellen Maple Medal was an initiative of both Norwood and Sturt, to honour the memory of former women’s player Ellen Maple who tragically lost her life in a car accident in 2018. The medal is awarded to the player who showcases the most courage and determination in the match. Schwerdt collected 12 disposals and was active around the ground in the nail-biting two-point win.

“I was surprised. That was really enjoyable, I thought very honoured to get that and have Tess Maple present that to me being part of her team,” Schwerdt said. “I was very excited to get that.”

Despite suffering what she describes as a “mild ankle sprain” a couple of days prior to the SANFL Women’s Preseason Testing Day, Schwerdt said she has enjoyed the preseason.

“It’s been tough, but I’ve felt good out there,” she said. “It’s a really great bunch of girls and I think we’re looking good out there.”

Norwood has traditionally been a strong side throughout the regular season, but often fallen short of a flag. Schwerdt admitted that perhaps the occasion “got a little bit in our heads”, but she believes the Redlegs had “learnt our lesson” heading into 2022.

Schwerdt described her running and strength inside as a couple of her key traits, whilst she was hoping to improve her kicking skills and speed. Looking to this year, Schwerdt said she was looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of the State Under 18s Academy.

“I was very excited to hear that. “Robbie (Neill, SANFL Talent Manager – Female Programs) is great out there, and all the coaches, very excited to be part of that.”

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