Player Diary: Anjelique Raison’s story – Part III

EAST Fremantle tall Anjelique Raison is an AFL Women’s draft hopeful for 2023, having forged a promising career over the last few seasons. Having represented not only her club at WAFL Women’s level, but also her state at national level, Raison is one to watch this year. Providing a special insight into her journey so far and looking ahead to 2023 where she is completing her last year of school and preparing for her top-age football season.




Friday, April 21

Since my last diary post, the WAFLW season has kicked off. East Freo have started pretty well, we’ve only lost Round 1 in the GF rematch by a goal, but we are still improving each week. We had quite a bit of change over the off season with new players, a new coach and the fact we don’t have a home ground this year, but it feels like we are now settling into a groove and are pretty confident that our best is still ahead of us.

We are looking forward to one of our few ‘home’ games of the season next month when we play at the WACA which I think will be the first time a WAFL Women’s game will be played there. Also a big shout out to my teammates Jae Flynn and Emmelie Fiedler for getting drafted, they are both great people and everyone at East Freo is really excited for them. We have some girls at East Freo who were unlucky to miss out this time, but if it means we get to have them play with us every week, then that’s a win for us!

The first leg of the national 18s carnival is coming up pretty soon. It has been a long lead up, but we can’t wait to get into it again.

Our lead up this year started before Christmas and went through the summer. At the end of our summer program the squad received some pretty strong feedback about some of the standards in the group from our coach Beau McDonald, and the squad was almost cut in half as a message about the expectations on standards.

Thankfully I wasn’t one of those who was cut, but it was a great shake up for everyone and a reminder that everyone still has a lot we can improve on. Having been someone who’s missed out plenty in the past, I know that when you do make it, you owe it to those weren’t as lucky to do everything you can to take advantage of the opportunity.

I think for us top-agers, we also realised we need to be a bit stronger with our leadership and the example for team culture, because no one should take being in a state program for granted.

I know the impact good leadership can have, because I have been so lucky at East Freo to be surrounded by great leaders and mentors. Ashleigh Gomes is just an awesome captain, human being and role model for me. She has always set the example for work rate and standards at the club, while still being able to connect with everyone.

She is loved and respected not only by everyone at our club, but the whole competition. She was the first person to put her arm around me when I came into the League team a couple of years ago, and is always checking in on me and making sure I am doing ok. I owe so much to ‘Gomesy’ and know I am really lucky to have someone like her around me.

Anjelique Raison (right) is presented with her Western Australia jumper by her East Fremantle captain, Ashleigh Gomes. | Image credit: Supplied.

At East Freo I’ve also had great support from Laura McClelland, Larissa Versaci, and in my first season Sara Lewis was just amazing. This year, Alex Williams has moved out of playing and into coaching, and I’ve formed a great relationship with her as our forwards coach.

She’s really helped me improve on some stuff I set myself at the end of last season, and is always there to bounce things off or to do some one-on-one work before training. Having such a big group of good leaders is a big part of East Freo’s success and I think hopefully we can copy that with our state 18s team by more of us stepping up, particularly now we have such a young squad.

Our state group wants to do better than last year.  Those of us played last year remember the smashing we got in game 1 from SA. SA were really good, but we weren’t great as well. I could make some excuses for us, but nothing would change that we were embarrassed in that game and are focused on putting in a really strong performance this time around. We know SA will be really good again, but we also think we have improved a lot from last year so are looking forward to the challenge.

This year our team feels like it is a tighter group this year and we also think we have improved in a number of areas. I think those that see us for the first time will notice that this team is deeper with talent and we can move the ball pretty well, so it’s a fun team to play with.

We had a practice game recently against the WAFLW All-Stars, which was great to be able to play together and build a bit of chemistry. The All-Stars just pipped us with a kick after the siren, but Beau wasn’t too worried about the score board and was getting a look at a few different things in the last quarter.

The second half of the 18s carnival isn’t until August, but this game vs SA is one that a few of us have had our eye on for a while, so I’m glad it is early, because we really want to see where we’re at against the best and hopefully surprise a few people.

Let’s go the Sharks and the Black Ducks!

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