Locke it in, Sophie is going places
AFTER missing out on an AFL Women’s opportunity for a number of years now, rising Port Melbourne star forward Sophie Locke has now finally got her chance, after becoming Hawthorn’s third AFLW signing, which was announced late last week.
She has been delighting crowds for the Borough for a few years now, but will be an exciting forward option for the Hawks in their debut season.
Her footy journey though began much later in life then many of her VFLW and now AFLW counterparts. She played many other sports before picking up the football as a teenager.
“I pretty much did every other sport other than football before NAB League,” Locke said. “I did tennis, netball, swimming, Little Athletics, so it was definitely not your normal Auskick and junior football league. “But I think also those different sports did help before coming into NAB League but yeah finally picked it up when I was 16.
“Just kicking the footy halftime of the men’s game, a local scout who’s done coaching with my Dad told [him] “You need to get your daughter playing football” and he’s like “you don’t need to convince me, you need to convince [Sophie’s] mum”. So, finally starting playing at 16 at local Euroa Football Club, and then two years later my Dad and a couple of locals started a team at Seymour in my hometown.”
She then moved on to the NAB League, where she played for the Murray Bushrangers.
“I made the team a lot quicker than some of my male mates have, but I was very fortunate that I had such really good coaches at Murray Bushrangers in the NAB League, and I enjoyed every bit of it,” Locke said. “First year I only played about two games, but I was training on the likes of Rebecca Webster and Millie Brown, all these girls who are now in the AFLW, so I was fortunate to be amongst a talented group of girls.”
After her NAB League days ended, she was going to play for Richmond but Covid meant that it would be Port that she ended up signing with.
“I was invited to train with the Richmond VFLW towards the end of 2019 and the start of 2020,” Locke said. “Then Covid hit, and Richmond pulled their women’s side out and said Port Melbourne is starting a team down the road, who wants to come across? And I chucked my hand up and thought ‘why not?’ Be a part of a new team in the league and yeah, came on down the road and have stayed.”
Speaking of Covid, due to some player number issues Locke got called up to the Richmond AFLW side to play in their practice match earlier this year against Geelong. She described the experience as “nerve wracking”.
“I think also I was playing a bit out of position, playing in the backline for them, I was very much like “What do I do?” Locke said. “Normally I’m the one running away from the defender, but it ended up being a really good experience. “I had the likes of Rebecca Miller, who took me under her wing in the backline at Richmond, and yelled at me to go all different directions and help me keep in line. “It was definitely a very good learning experience, and yeah grateful for the opportunity that Richmond gave me. “But yeah, definitely very nerve racking leading up to it.”
Then, the process that would change her life – getting signed by Hawthorn.
The process began only three weeks ago, where she got a message from Abbey Holmes at Hawthorn saying that the Hawks wanted to have a meeting with her and she got asked to pass on her contact details.
The meeting was then had at the Hawks with list manager Mitchell Cashion, but Locke was not expecting much to come out of the meeting. Then, she got surprised at her local club Seymour with the announcement that she would be signed as a Hawk.
This is just too good. ? https://t.co/jnfpJmYcjo— hawthornfc.womens (@hawthornwomens) March 31, 2022
As for the rest of this VFLW season, she will play one last game with the Borough this weekend before beginning her transition across to the Hawks.
She does not expect to play a game for the VFLW side, but will train with them until there is more players signed to the Hawks AFLW list and they are actually able to run proper sessions.
So get excited Hawks fans, because you can Lock-e it in, Sophie will be one to watch in season 7 of the AFLW.