Premiership Window open for Piper’s Bays

HAVING won a flag in her debut season and then a national championship title last year, Glenelg’s Piper Window is keen for more success in 2022. The South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s young gun has already shown plenty of promising signs over her first two years in the league, and progressed to national level as a bottom-ager.

The Morphettville Park junior has come a long way since first touching a football in Under 16s, becoming one of her state’s most promising juniors and playing a key role in the Bays’ first women’s flag in 2021.

“I just started playing club at ‘Morphys’, played there for a season,” Window said. “Then my coach just said ‘you know they’ve got the Under 16s trials, you should go out and give it a shot, just try’. I went out there, didn’t get in, which I didn’t really expect to get in because I’d only been playing for season, never really even touched a footy before.

“Not long after that, I just went out and trialled for the women’s team which I got into that, so I was quite surprised, but also thrilled. Then just played Glenelg after those seasons finished, went back to Morphys for a couple of extra years. Then just recently after last Glenelg season, I went back and played at Uraidla. I played there just because they didn’t have a junior team at Morphys and I couldn’t play women’s there just because of the SANFL rules.”

Window featured in 11 of Glenelg’s SANFL Women’s games in 2021, becoming a hard-running winger who averaged 10.1 disposals, 2.8 tackles, 2.8 inside 50s and 1.9 marks. Her team went all the way through the finals series to lift the premiership cup aloft, something the then 15-year-old descried as an “unreal experience”.

“That was something I never really expected to happen, (in my) first season playing SANFL,” Window said. “Only been playing footy for two seasons really. Winning the premiership, I didn’t think I ever expected it to happen, especially so quickly.”

The former netballer and current surf lifesaver is one of the fittest juniors out there, with an athletic profile that includes a high endurance base, explosive speed, and strong lateral movement. It seemed clear that a move inside – as she did for Glenelg in 2022 – was inevitable, with the tough midfielder sharing a clearance role with stints up forward.

“It was interesting, I started on the wing for my first season, which made me get more comfortable in and around the footy,” Window said. “Then went into the midfield, then went forward. Going forward I was a bit nervous at times when the ball came in, I was like ‘oh gosh I could actually get goals here so I actually have to be on my game really’. It was really good, I really liked going forward and mid combo.”

Window’s close friendship with Glenelg ruck Matilda Scholz has helped her settle into the inside midfield role, and it has fast become her favourite position on the ground.

“I find I have a good connection with the rucks, obviously Matilda is one of my good friends so she and I just play really well together,” Window said. “She can just tap it and I can just get it and go. I find that definitely my best position.”

Window’s overall game is one that has plenty of promising traits, with her strength, clean hands at ground level and her contested work among the best in the draft crop, though her kicking is still a work in process.

“Really trying to improve that,” she said. “Even just practicing my goalkicking just for accuracy, just trying to get a bigger kick for when I get it out of the mid I can just get it down it far as I can or more accuracy as well, just those short targets, just try and get them up,” Window said.

Though a strong performer in the SANFL Women’s, Window’s success at state level with the Croweaters saw her recognised externally, earning a spot in the AFL Women’s Academy for 2023.

“Getting that call from Tarkyn (Lockyer, National Academy Manager) I was really happy,” Window said. “I was trying not to sound too excited over the phone but I was very excited for that. Can’t wait for that to get started, should be good. Something never thought I’d really get into after playing footy for only, three, four seasons, so very excited about that.”

The 2023 SANFL Women’s season is just around the corner, and Window is looking forward to the year ahead. A top-age AFL Women’s draft prospect, Window has set herself goals for the year ahead, keeping it simple to become the best footballer she can be.

“Honestly I’m just trying to improve my game wherever it takes me,” Window said. “Just continue working my way up. I would love to play AFL so if I can get there, it would amazing, but just continue improving my game, working on my skills and hopefully can take me somewhere with that.”

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