Not sure about you gals, but we’re preeeetty obsessed with Women’s AFL here at WF HQ – and pretty dang inspired by the women on the forefront of the femme revolution in sport. We chatted to Abbey Holmes, Adelaide Crows AFLW player and Team XBlades Athlete, about all things footy, inspo, training and side gigs.  Did we mention she’s also also the queen of babetown?

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Family footy

Abbey has been around footy since she was a little girl – her dad was the president of her local football club, so she’d spend every weekend there running amuck with the other kids. “When I was younger, there wasn’t a pathway for girls to play footy and there certainly wasn’t an elite level to strive for, so I pursued netball as my number one sport,” says Abbey.

Abbey loves netball – and was lucky enough to achieve some serious success with the sport over the years, representing Australia at a junior level and playing for South Australia and later the Northern Territory for many years. When she moved to Darwin was when she played her first full season of competitive football in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL).

“It was brilliant,” Abbey says, “I immediately loved it and have hardly taken off my XBlades or put down a Sherrin since! I love netball, don’t get me wrong, and I’m so grateful for everything I have achieved in that space, however if there was the opportunity and a pathway to the elite level of the AFLW when I was young, I probably would have followed that avenue!”

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Influences along the way

“My parents have always been a huge influence on my sporting career and I have loved having them on the journey with me,” Abbey tells us. “Peta Schultz was also a large influencer on my netball career and somebody I idolised from a young age. I used to love watching her play, and every time I had the opportunity to play against her, I would always play my absolute best as I knew I had to bring my A game against an ex Australian Player and Adelaide Thunderbirds legend!”

“For my football, Andrew McLeod has been somebody that I grew up idolising. He is now one of our assistant coaches at the Adelaide Football Club, and I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to pick the brains of a dual Norm Smith Medalist and club legend!” Abbey says.

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Training hard

 We have a pretty structured training schedule which changes depending on whether we are in season (competition time), pre-season, or off season,” says Abbey. “We look to mainly build on and improve our fitness/strength levels during the pre-season months, which consists of 3 main skill sessions with conditioning, and 3 weights sessions per week. Everyone is always aiming to improve and I love being in the environment where the competition is so healthy and we are all trying to push make each other better!”

Abbey trains for 9 hours a week as part of the AFLW, but trains outside the club environment as well for about another 5 or so hours per week – with sessions like yoga, walking, cycling,  F45, or boxing. “I like to mix up my training to keep things interesting!” Abbey tells us.

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Side gig(s) 

Abbey certainly has a lot on her plate – and puts us regular 9-5ers to shame. Aside from being a professional female football player – Abbey is also casually the co-founder of her own activewear label, called Esnetica, works in football broadcasting and is also the host of a new TV show airing in 2018 – “Living the Dream with Abbey Holmes”. Alright, over-achiever, we hear you. 😉

We came up with the concept of Esnetica in 2014, released our first range in December 2015 and things have been crazy ever since. As an athlete, I know just how important it is to be comfortable and confident whilst training so we really tried to include my sporting background and knowledge on sought after garments (by athletes) into every single design that we produce.”

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Switching off

Before a game, Abbey switches off by listening to music – “I’m an RnB kinda gal,” Abbey laughs, “or I put on a movie so that I can really switch off and not think about the game too much before I have to!”

Her final piece of advice for those of us who wanna make the big league? “Work hard and make the most of every single opportunity that presents itself. I would also advise to get to know your strengths and your weaknesses and continually build on both of these areas. One is your weapon that you always need to rely on but still improve, and the others are your areas of improvement.”

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