NEARLY one month on from the moment Poppy Schaap became a Game Changer, the Geelong Falcons graduate couldn’t be happier to have found her way to IKON Park.
“Coming in a bit later, it’s been different for me but everyone here has been so welcoming from the start,” Schapp said.
“I’m getting jokes thrown at me left, right and centre.
“Everyone’s always got a smile on their face, always willing to help me out in the gym or if I’m not understanding a drill.”
After finishing up her exams, Schapp is now training with the Game Changers full-time – a stark contrast from where she thought she would be following the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft.
With the stage set on draft day – which was also Schaap’s 18th birthday – celebrations didn’t quite go to plan.
The exciting small forward was surprisingly overlooked in spite of an impressive campaign with the Geelong Falcons, and selections in the 2021 NAB League team and the Vic Country side that won National Championships.
While her path may not have taken the route she had initially hoped, Schapp’s vision of making an AFLW list never faltered.
Schapp made the call to Carlton’s AFLW Recruiting Manager Josh Hare, seeking feedback on how she could improve and take the next step – a move which made an impression on the Blues that they didn’t soon forget.
After beginning the pre-season as a train-on player with the AFLW Cats, Schaap would soon be heading down the highway.
“I was ecstatic, lost for words,” Schaap said of the emotion she felt when she received the call to notify her that she had been elevated to the Blues’ list.
“It was like everything had just led up to that moment and my life had changed.”
From the moment Schaap dialled into her first official team meeting via Zoom, she knew she was about to become a part of something special.
“To see that excitement and how willing they were to welcome me to the club, I knew it was a really good group.”
Transitioning to the faster pace and increased physicality of AFLW, Schaap hasn’t been short of role models at the Game Changers, but has continued to look up to former Geelong Falcons teammate, Lucy McEvoy.
For Schaap, it was players like McEvoy who paved the way.
“To be able to model your next few years and to be able to see others reach their potential, it’s just awesome.”