“Uncomfortable to be comfortable” the way for Srhoj

WEST Australian Kaitlyn Srhoj had a lot to weigh up on both sides of the debate when tossing up between nominating state and nationally, but the Peel Thunder midfielder is excited about the possibilities moving states. The GWS Giants recruit was picked with the third selection in last night’s AFL Women’s Draft, opting for the aerial specialist with their first pick.

Srhoj said while the unfamiliarity might pose a challenge for many including herself, she wanted to give herself that feeling of being uncomfortable in order to develop more effectively as a footballer.

“I think for me the reality of playing nationally is that not everyone is going to be comfortable and I think for me, my train of thought was I definitely want to be uncomfortable and be in a new environment to grow and develop not only as a footballer but as a person and I’m really stoked to be going to GWS,” Srhoj said.

“At the start initially it was more just because we got told by Tarks (Tarkyn Lockyer, AFLW Academy head coach) to open our horizons and give ourselves the best opportunity. That was a major factor leading to my decision but I think also for me like I said before I need to be uncomfortable to be comfortable and I think for me I’m not going to develop as well at home, where I know everyone and nothing’s different. I needed a change and I think GWS is the perfect spot for that.”

Srhoj intends to make the move up in February next year as she plans on studying at university. However the Mandurah-based prospect might be needing to refer to the GPS a fair bit when over there.

“I’ve never been to Sydney before so it will be something new and definitely exciting,” Srhoj said. “I’ve been to Blacktown but I’ve been told it’s not really Sydney because it’s an hour out of it.

“I don’t know (what I expect), it’s hard to say I just hope it feels like home and it’s similar to Perth. I just want to be part of the family, and GWS have assured me that I will be so looking forward to it.”

Srhoj’s 2023 season had a rocky start to it when the talented top-ager was concussed and had to be helped off just five minutes into the WAFL Women’s season. Though she was able to return a few weeks later without any major damage, she admits it might have affected the way she played this year.

“I think concussion is very emotional just because it’s not a physical injury in the sense that you’ve got a time frame,” Srhoj said. “It’s really depending on how you’re feeling and that was super hard for me.

“Especially being the first five minutes into the season. It was really frustrating and I think that did affect my season in a way that I wasn’t as a consistent as I’d like to be. I learnt a lot from it so concussion is serious.”

Though the move means Srhoj departs Peel Thunder, the 18-year-old said she enjoyed stepping up as one of the older players in the side.

“I think our team this year was definitely quite young and I found myself even though I was 18 I was one of the oldest,” Srhoj said. “I did have to mature in a sense and put my leadership role on and keep the standard for the team especially being at that higher level with the Academy and State. It was really fun to be that leader and keep that standard the same at Peel.”

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