The AFLW draft number one will juggle year 12 in Victoria being the face of the Swans season one. She gives an insight into her bulging schedule.
Montana Ham, No.1 draft pick, will commute weekly between Melbourne and Sydney to balance her Year 12 studies with the present and future of the Swans’ AFLW.
The 18-year-old prodigy led the Sydney women’s team to their first training sessions at the SCG on Monday night, with the club’s male footballers on hand for the historic moment.
It came just weeks after the Scott Gowans-trained Swans nicked Ham, a 179cm midfielder who is thriving in the competition, from Victorian rivals with a winning pitch for her to be nominated for the NSW draft pool.
She will return to Melbourne next week and go back and forth throughout the AFLW season, with Sydney’s Round 1 game on August 27 against St Kilda at the North Sydney Oval.
“I have a trainer at home who they give all my programs to, so I’ll do my training down in Melbourne,” Ham told News Corp.
Watch every AFL blockbuster match this weekend live and non-commercially in-game on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
“I fly to Sydney every Friday and train here at the club on Fridays and Saturdays before flying back to school.
“I have a really good support network around me and my school (Overnewton Anglican Community College) turned out great too.
“They helped me find the right balance between football and school and of course school comes first. Scott understands that so much.”
Swan’s recruit Lisa Steane coaxed Ham to the front of the queue as AFLW’s newest squad raced to practice on Monday night, and the teenager said it was something she would “always remember”.
Most notably, ex-giant Steane and former western bulldog Brooke Lochland have taken Ham under their wing since her draft.
Ham, who played for the Western Jets in the NAB League, was a sought-after player after being named Most Valuable Player for Victoria Metro and in the National Academy clash against the Under-23 All-Stars.
Gowan and Sydney AFLW football chief Kate Mahony swept the young gun off her feet when they visited her home in the weeks leading up to the June 29 draft.
The town’s proximity to beaches sealed the deal for Ham.
“There’s something very special about the Bloods culture and what they’ve been through,” Ham said.
“Being part of that first girls’ team and establishing our branding and values as a club has also been very exciting so it’s very special to be a part of it.”
Ham will wear the No. 18 in honor of her late father, Roy, whose birthday was May 18.
She plans to study a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Technology Sydney starting next year
Same captain, new name
– Lauren Wood
Kerryn Peterson was surprised just by the sight of her new name emblazoned on Carlton’s social media pages.
For Carlton captain Peterson – who you may remember better than Harrington – the busiest six months of her life are on the verge of a second crack at AFL Women’s for 2022.
New name, new team, new season.
The 30-year-old could be forgiven for feeling a little exhausted at the prospect.
After Covid ravaged last AFLW season, throwing his game into chaos and forcing players to switch to postponed games and interstate travel at short notice, Peterson was also in full wedding-planning mode when their May nuptials loomed.
The always quiet blues defender wasn’t bothered by the relative chaos that led to her stint at sports broadcaster Beau Joel Peterson, with the couple wed outside of Bendigo.
Then came the trade-off – stay Harrington, at least for AFLW, or take the plunge.
“When I saw the media release (in which I announced my signing), it looked a little strange,” laughed Peterson.
“The (club) media manager even questioned that. It’s more likely other people’s reactions.
“The whole year just flew by. We had the end of the season and then we went straight into wedding mode and didn’t have much time between the end of the season and (this).
“This whole year has been a continuation from one thing to the next.”
The two are also building a house, with border collie Daisy on board for moving day in a few weeks.
“We didn’t do things by halves, but it was fun,” said the blue one.
“People kept asking me if I was stressed but I’m just enjoying what it is and still being able to train for football and being so close to the coming season has me just as much distracted like everything else. It was really fun.”
The marriage fell like no other in the middle of an expansion signing period and a signing and trading period.
As four new teams prepare to enter AFLW, player movement has been forward and forward, with star blue Maddy Prespakis being among the first to make the leap to city rivals Essendon.
Her close friend Georgia Gee joined her.
While Peterson was hoping for a Round 1 clash with her former teammates, she doesn’t have to wait long as a Round 2 clash has been booked for North Port Oval.
Lauren Brazzale, Grace Egan, Courtney Jones, Nicola Stevens and Charlotte Wilson have also joined rival clubs, but Peterson is level-headed about what was viewed from the outside as a series of important departures.
“There’s always more to a story than what’s presented,” she said.
“From our point of view we were really prepared as a playgroup and as a club for what it was going to be like when we had the experience of expansion the last time the league went through it.
“Don’t get me wrong – it’s disappointing when players choose to leave a club where we’ve established the brand of football we played at the end of last season and the level of excitement that our group has surrounded to the front.
“Nobody says here that we are happy to lose players. But on the other hand, when the league is going through an expansion phase and player movements are encouraged in the competition.”
If anything, she said she would “probably be a bit worried if expansion clubs weren’t looking at our players”.
“We are disappointed, but it was inevitable.”
Phoebe McWilliams is from Geelong and the ‘excitement machine’ Amelia Velardo is from Collingwood, and with 23 players newly signed from last season, Peterson is adamant that those who stayed fat are all on a common path are.
“We try to build something together. It gives me great confidence that the players we’ve signed are keen to be a part of what we have,” she said.
“I don’t focus individually on who’s not here – I strive to focus and give everything I have for the players who have chosen to be part of this group and to be part of what we push forward.”
Originally published as AFLW 2022: All the latest from the women’s league
https://www.codesports.com.au/afl/aflw/aflw-2022-all-the-latest-news-out-of-the-womens-league/news-story/630feb5376746f975d1d2a01091e06a6?nk=0cfc49b1e8d2078ca98ef5dd8ab27403-1657665548 AFLW 2022: No. 1 Pick Montana Ham Itinerary, Year 12