Blue by name but not by nature as Skepper finds joy at Ikon Park

AFTER a star performance last weekend in her side’s win over West Coast, energetic young Blue Keeley Skepper was certainly excited to receive a Rising Star nomination, but certainly was not expecting to receive it.

“Thank you, it’s pretty exciting” she said.

“It’s exciting to get some reward for the hard work I’ve put in in the offseason and to be honest I’m just happy we got the four points.”

“I wasn’t really thinking about it to be honest after the game. I was just so excited that we won… I was more happy that we’d won then thinking about my own performance.”

As a member of the draft class of 2022, Skepper’s first two seasons in the AFL Women’s could not have been more different from each other.

As much as the build up to Season 7 was chaotic for some, it was not for Skeeper.

“Not really to be honest,” she said. “I was just on a high that I got drafted and I was so keen to get out there and keep playing. I had fun in under 18s as well so I think just continuing to have a love for the game as well which is so important, so I was just keen to get out there with the team.”

So far this season she is having a lot of fun.

“I’m having so much fun, I’m loving it,” she said. “There’s a bit more high standards, high performance in the program which is good, and I don’t have to travel from home as much so it’s good. I don’t have to travel so far and do school as well so I think I’m finding more of a balance between getting some good rest and then training as well.”

Home for Skepper is up near Wangaratta, and last year during her debut season, she would drive up and back between there and Melbourne to allow her AFLW career to begin while also completing the end of her schooling.

Now that school is done she has made the move permanently to Melbourne, which has not come without its teething problems.

“I’m definitely a country girl,” she said with a laugh. “I think I’ve realised that I love the country air, I love when I go back home. The air just smells differently I feel like, I’ve settled in Melbourne well. The team has really gotten around me so I get to hang out a lot with them which is good to build that connection. But Melbourne is Melbourne I guess, I still get lost. [but] Google Maps has helped me out.”

There were some big names already at Carlton when Skepper came to the club, including Elise O’Dea, Jess Dal Pos and Darcy Vescio, but she was not intimidated by them when she joined.

“I think it made it more exciting,” she said. “Playing with them, meeting them, you just realise how much of a good person they all are. Darcy’s from where I’m from which is great, so everyone just took me under their wing. June [O’Dea} was so good last year, it was so nice to have her around last year, we still get to keep in touch. I love her work and Dal and Darce have been so good to me since I came to the club.”

Skepper and Vescio share a particularly tight friendship, with the pair both coming from the same area of regional Victoria.

“We’ve actually got quite a funny friendship,” Skepper said.

Harriet [Cordner] always says that she gets stuck in the middle of us. Darce has got me into this new song called ‘Chief O’Kief’, I was doing a silent disco to it on the plane. Darcy’s just an amazing person, I’m so grateful to have such good people around me like Dal, Darce, Abbie around in my locker buddy area and also Dal and Darce have helped me discover myself as a forward which has been great.”

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