Fiegert focused on footy’s “mental” game

PORT Adelaide might be one of the AFL Women’s newest clubs, but one player who has always had her eyes set on running out at Alberton is Woodville-West Torrens’ Marlie Fiegert. The top-age midfielder is the daughter of Nigel Fiegert, a member of the Power’s inaugural side who went on to play 19 games at AFL level. Fast forward 26 years since Fiegert ran out at Football Park for the first time in Round 2 of the 1997 AFL Premiership Season, and the newest Fiegert is hoping her dream can come true.

Fiegert said her father was “very supportive” of her goals, but also allowed her to forge her own path as a tough midfielder who has already cracked in for 15 games at League level.

“He’s always going to support me no matter what,” she said. “Pushes me hard, but doesn’t push me over what I want to be pushed. He’s very mindful it’s my footy career and he doesn’t want to get too involved with it. He’s letting me make my own way. He’s been good.”

Given Australian rules football has run through her blood and Port Adelaide in particular is synonymous with her family name, it should be no surprise the path the younger Fiegert took to get to where she is today.

“I started playing football when I was 12 in Under 12s at Henley Sharks in the first girls team there,” Fiegert said. “Then from there I’ve kept playing Henley Sharks my whole life and got invited out to the Port Next-Generation Academy when I was 14. Played a few games there, got selected in the 17 and a half State Academy.

“We only played two games. “Then from there I got selected in the Under 18s State squad last year and unfortunately didn’t make the cut but ready to go again this year in the squad again. Then I started at Eagles, this is my third season now.”

Over the past two seasons, Fiegert has played the majority of the season in the Eagles’ South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s senior side despite being quite young.

“It was pretty hard, I was probably one of the youngest out there,” Fiegert said. “First year and then still second year being one of the youngest but I try not to think about my age as such, but more like I know I can do it, just got to try and think about it at the time everything’s happening.”

Fiegert describes herself as a tough inside midfielder who loves to attack the ball fiercely and feed it out to her teammates. Along with improving her athletic traits, the young Eagle said she was keen to get on top of her confidence issues.

“I just want to be more confident and know I can do it,” Fiegert said. “Just sometimes I talk myself out of it but now I’ve been really been focusing on the mental side of my footy. Over the preseason I did some sprinting and trying to make myself a bit faster.”

Looking up to tough nut Ebony Marinoff at AFL Women’s level, Fiegert does not only draw parallels on the football field. Like Marinoff, Fiegert has a surf lifesaving background. Though when it comes to personal influences on her career, it was hard for Fiegert to look past her father, and current Eagles coach Narelle Smith.

“He’s just been there for me all the time and helping me whenever I need help,” Fiegert said. “Probably Narelle at the moment, she’s my coach. Last year I didn’t have the best season and she just sat me down talked to me about it, what I needed to improve so over the off-season I’ve just tried my best and working with her now as one of the Under 21 captains, so she’s really pushing me to the max which I love.”

The 2023 SANFL Women’s season is fast approaching with Woodville-West Torrens set for a Round 1 clash up at Elizabeth taking on Central District. For Fiegert, it will be the first step towards her ultimate team goal.

“I want a premiership,” she said. “It would be nice, and a finish in the finals for Eagles. The past two seasons we’ve been towards the bottom of the ladder. I love my team at the moment and I think we can do amazing things. We’ve all worked so hard so a premiership with them would be amazing.”

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