Kate Shierlaw could not have been further from the AFL scene 12 months ago. The South Australian was living in London when she was invited to join the Wimbledon Hawks and promptly fell in love with playing the game.
A lifelong Carlton supporter, Shierlaw had planned on staying on the other side of the world for another year, before Blues assistant coach Graham Burgan came knocking.
"Burgan was in contact with (Western Bulldogs player) Lauren Spark, who was a good friend and teammate of mine in London," Shierlaw said.
"She told him about me and it went from there."
The 27-year-old made her NAB AFL Women’s competition debut for the Blues against Greater Western Sydney at Ikon Park, collecting eight disposals and taking three marks.
Kate Shierlaw is soaked in Gatorade after her first win in the navy blue. (Photo: AFL Media)
At 186cm, Shierlaw is one of the tallest players in the competition and believes her strength is in creating a contest up forward.
"I’ll try and get my hands up and clunk a few. If I don’t mark it, I’ll at least bring it down for the rest of the forwards," she said.
Signed as a rookie, Shierlaw had never played footy outside of the backyard before 2016, but coach Damien Keeping believes she’s come a long way since joining the club.
"There’s some real upside to Kate’s game and as she learns more, she’s going to become even more of a powerful option for us to go to," Keeping said.
The Blues take on the Crows in a top-of-the-ladder clash in Adelaide on Sunday and Shierlaw is looking forward to her homecoming.
"Hopefully we get a win over the Crows - I wasn’t the biggest fan of them growing up," Shierlaw told carltonfc.com.au.
"I cop a lot of slack from my Adelaide-supporting friends, but I’m really looking forward to getting back home in front of family and friends and having a crack at the Crows."