Q&A: Grace Belloni (Eastern Ranges)

EASTERN Ranges top-ager Grace Belloni is one of a number of draft hopefuls coming out of the metropolitan region, with the forward-midfielder consistently impacting games, particularly in the latter role this season.

The 174cm utility averaged 15.8 disposals, 2.5 marks and 2.7 tackles last season, booting 11 goals in 16 games. She started as a key forward and moved into a midfield role, but has predominantly spent her time on-ball this season and more resting forward.

In her five games thus far, Belloni has picked up no less than 19 disposals, with 25 or more in three of her past four outings. Her season-high of 31 disposals against the Oakleigh Chargers in Round 3 was a highlight, while for the year she is putting up numbers of 24.6 disposals, 3.2 marks and 4.0 tackles, noticeable lifts across all areas.

We spoke to Belloni at the Coates Talent League Girls Preseason Testing Day about her journey into football, why she supports two clubs and some of the players she looks up to at the elite level.

Q: Grace, tell us about your footy journey?

GB: “I started playing when I was about nine years-old. My brother always played footy along with my two older cousins and my uncle was a big footy head so he was kind of always in the family. I started playing for the under 10 boys team for Olinda Ferny Creek, and then I started playing for the girls when they opened up a girls side and I’ve been playing ever since.”

Q: Do you watch a lot of footy?

GB: “I wouldn’t say I’m actually the biggest footy head, but when I can watch it, I will definitely.”

Q: Who do you support?

GB: “I support the Brisbane Lions for the men’s and Carlton for the women’s.”

Q: Any reason?

GB: “Brisbane Lions I copied my brother when I was younger, so I just stuck with that. Then Carlton for the women’s I went to the first ever AFLW game and decided I wanted to go for Carlton as I was obsessed with Darcy Vescio. Then my friend Charlotte Wilson got drafted there.”

Q: In terms of your own game where do you anticipate you will play this year, and where do you feel you play your best footy?

GB: “Last year I played a key forward role which I’ll continue into this year as well as a bit of a mid rotation. Bit of back and forth there.”

Q: What are you strengths and improvements?

GB: “My strengths are probably my physical strength and my attack at contest, which is also something that I want to improve on this year and take to another level. Definitely just my running work at the stoppages I want to work on this year.”

Q: Are there any players you look at to mould your own game on?

GB: “Definitely Bri Davey is one. I love just her attack at the footy, her strength and how she goes about every contest. Just her one percenters.”

Q: What kind of goals have you set up for the year?

GB: “Definitely just playing the best footy I can, most consistent footy I can and just taking all my strengths and attributes that I learnt from last year into this year’s game.”

Q: Have you had any real mentors who have helped you along the way?

GB: “Definitely my dad has been a big mentor for me. He’s American originally, and doesn’t know lots about footy, but he was always there for me and supporting me in anyway he can. My brother definitely as well. He’s such a hard worker, probably the hardest worker I know. He’s definitely someone who has pushed me to be my best.”

Q: If you do get drafted, are you happy to go anywhere?

GB: “Oh yeah, absolutely.”

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