Zoe and Jasmine blaze a purple and gold trail into the AFLW
Just over a week before the 2022 AFLW draft, Year 12 St Kilda Road student, Zoe Savarirayan, was offered a contract with the North Melbourne AFLW team. On 29 June, her teammate and Year 12 student at the Glen Waverley Campus, Jasmine Fleming, was taken at pick no. 2 by Hawthorn in the official AFLW draft.
Zoe has always been a talented athlete, playing soccer for the Bulleen Lions in the National Premier League and Wesley Firsts in both Volleyball and Soccer. She recently made the transition to AFL selecting this as her school sport for Terms 2 and 3 and her natural kicking style was spotted by Brent Thiele, former Player Development Manager and Head of Player Excellence at the North Melbourne Football Club and current Head of the Wesley College Football Program.
‘After only five games of football as a mid-forward and over a week before the official 2022 AFLW draft, Zoe has been signed as an AFLW player!’ explains Thiele, who had the privilege of sharing the news with the entire Senior Boys and Girls teams. ‘This is an incredible achievement and a real tribute to the coaches, her teammates and the parents who support this program. We are so proud of Zoe and wish her every success for the future.’
‘Everyone was really happy and excited for me,’ said Zoe following the shock announcement. ‘Surprised too, because I haven’t been playing AFLW for that long, but no-one was more surprised than me! I never thought I’d have the chance to pursue a career as a professional athlete,’ she said. ‘This opportunity is all thanks to Brent Thiele and the team at Wesley Football. I am excited but also very nervous and just hope I can make an impact both on and off the field.’
Joining Zoe in the AFLW is Jasmine Fleming, who hails from a line of Australian sporting royalty. A talented junior cricketer, Jasmin was playing both sports before turning her focus fully to football.
‘I am so excited to be a part of the AFLW and am looking forward to hopefully playing against some of the best female athletes in Australia and developing myself as a person and an athlete,’ said Jasmine.
Jasmine fondly recalls being an integral part of the Inaugural Girls Firsts Team and Best and Fairest winner when she was in Year 9. ‘I am very grateful for the opportunity to play football for Wesley. Without the support of the Wesley Football Program, I’m not sure if my pathway into professional football would have been the same,’ she said.
Her advice for young girls hoping to follow in her footsteps? ‘Chase your dreams. Once you start, never let anyone stop you – trust yourself and have fun doing it’, said Jasmine.
‘These are incredible achievements, and we congratulate both girls on their AFLW selections,’ said Wesley College Principal, Nick Evans.
‘Wesley Football has built a program for students across the College that has seen the girls’ program go from strength to strength. These results are testament to the commitment of the coaches and parents who support this program and the hard work and dedication of all of our students. We are so proud of these extraordinary young women and wish them every success in the future.’