Canberra pair feeling at home in Sydney’s West
Relocating from Canberra to Sydney was always going to be a challenge for Tarni Evans, but three months on the GIANTS draftee could not be happier with life at the elite level.
After finishing second in their conference and appearing in their first AFLW finals campaign last season, the GIANTS secured Evans with pick 9 in last year’s NAB AFLW draft.
Considered one of the AFLW’s leading draft prospects, Evans is no stranger to making sacrifices in pursuit of her football dream.
The 18-year-old moved from her hometown of Tathra on the NSW South Coast to Canberra when she was 17, developing her craft with the Queanbeyan Tigers before being drafted last year.
Evans’ transition to life in Sydney was made easier when the GIANTS selected fellow Canberra product Emily Pease, who spent a week alongside Evans at the GIANTS in January last year, learning and training alongside some of the competition’s best.
“To be drafted alongside one of my best friends was a pretty special moment,” Evans said.
“We have known each other for so long so it has made the transition a lot easier.”
“Having Tarni alongside me has been great, she is always cracking a laugh, smiling and having fun,” fellow draftee Emily Pease told aflnswact.com.au.
“The three months we have been with the GIANTS has been so much fun and we have both learned so much.
“All the girls have been beyond supportive, it is just a great environment to be around.”
The GIANTS will return to Manuka Oval in Canberra on March 6 following an absence in 2020 after the Cricket World Cup and COVID-19 saw the ACT unable to host GIANTS games last year.
Not only will the match be part of a blockbuster weekend of GIANTS games in the nation’s capital with a men’s pre-season game to also be scheduled on the same weekend, but the fixture will provide both Evans and Pease with the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd.
“To run out together at Manuka Oval would be amazing,” Evans said.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us until then, but no doubt it would a dream come true for us both.”
Having commenced training with the GIANTS in October last year, Evans admits the experience has opened her eyes to the demands of an AFLW career.
“I don’t think anything really prepares you for a proper AFL pre-season, the training has been demanding but I’m still getting through and loving every second of the experience so it has been good,” Evans said.
The GIANTS’ AFLW team has temporarily relocated to Albury in Southern NSW to ensure the 2021 AFLW competition can begin as scheduled later this month.
With state borders closed to Greater Sydney residents due to a Covid-19 cluster in the state’s Northern Beaches region, the GIANTS are currently unable to travel interstate, potentially impacting the start of their 2021 AFL Women’s season.
The GIANTS’ first game of the season is scheduled against the Fremantle Dockers at Fremantle Oval on January 31.