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Juggling act for dual Kearney

January 12, 2018 10:25 AM

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 20: Emma Kearney during the Western Bulldogs AFLW training session at Whitten Oval on December 20, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour /AFL Media) - Emma Kearney

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 20: Emma Kearney during the Western Bulldogs AFLW training session at Whitten Oval on December 20, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour /AFL Media)

Emma Kearney missed some of the Bulldogs’ inaugural AFLW pre-season opening the bowling for the Melbourne Stars in the Women’s Big Bash League, but a delayed start did not hold her back.

The 28-year-old school teacher was the joint winner of the club’s 2017 Best and Fairest, sharing the award with good friend and fellow midfielder Ellie Blackburn.

“It’s a bit of a juggling act and quite challenging at times, but, I guess for me, I’m quite lucky that I get to do both,” Kearney told SEN on Thursday.

“When I’m away I’ll do my running sessions and a few skills sessions as well in between so I’m not losing out on too much of my skills and fitness.

“The Bulldogs have been really supportive over the last two seasons. I guess the AFLW isn’t really in the position to have athletes full time and until that day comes, I’ll still be able to do both.”   

Kearney is a stoppage specialist who is tough, skilled and works hard. She averaged 21 disposals and two tackles across seven matches in the inaugural AFLW season.

“It was a great honour to win the first Best and Fairest for the Bulldogs but to share it with one of my good friend’s in Ellie Blackburn was fantastic,” she said.

“We love playing together. We played together at Melbourne Uni, we’ve got a real connection and seem to find each other pretty easily on the field.

“I’m looking forward to playing with her in the midfield again.”

Kearney said the support for the AFLW’s first season was overwhelming and she was confident that interest in the competition, now in its second season, would only increase.

“To get 24,000 people at the first game was incredible,” she said.

“The support that we had throughout the year was amazing.”