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West Coast Eagles

AFLW: Dana's diary - A new beginning

Dana Hooker says she's loving life at the West Coast Eagles

Starting a new job can be stressful, particularly when you’re spread across three separate departments and challenging yourself to develop new and unexplored skill sets.

I’m now almost one month into this next chapter of my playing and working career at the West Coast Eagles. While I have been in the AFL system for three seasons as an AFLW player and have worked at a club, this is all new to me.

So, if you’re wondering why my face is now appearing in many and varying places in the royal blue and gold, this is the reason.

In my first month at the Eagles, I’ve been inducted into the workplace, meeting nearly 200 staff and players. I have been welcomed with open arms to the West Coast family.

It’s an exciting time, especially with our imminent move to our new home at Mineral Resources Park. There is a genuine buzz around the club but, more importantly, a strong sense of purpose. The club has expanded from one football team to three in the past six months and a fresh new home awaits us.

My primary role at the club is, of course, playing to the highest standard possible for the AFLW team and helping lay the foundations for our inaugural women’s team. I will draw on my experience to help the many young players who will soon come on board and earn their opportunity to play in our inaugural team.

However, my move to West Coast was not solely about playing in the club’s first AFLW season, although that was clearly at the core of the decision. That is what drives me, but my professional development in an off-field sense was also an important factor.

I split my time between the communications, community and AFLW departments. Each department offers different challenges and insights, so the last month has been most interesting.

I pinch myself from time to time at the opportunities the football industry and West Coast have provided me and I’m embracing the new challenges that will and lead to growth, both on the football field.

I have already travelled to Kalgoorlie to conduct clinics and provide education to schools and football clubs, worked as the boundary rider for the WAFL Eagles’ live stream and developed my AFL match day role under the direction of Ross Glendinning, Tyson Beattie and Tim Gossage.

We also had a video shoot emphasising the support of BHP for our AFLW program.

And I must admit, writing a blog is a first in my career!

If I had been asked three years ago to project where I would be today, I would not have envisaged this scenario. It’s a long way from my career as a paediatric occupational therapist (a job that I was incredibly passionate about), but I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be at this exciting time.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you as we take on the challenge of establishing our inaugural women’s team!