Club News

Retiring SANFLW Captain Alison Ferrall reflecting on her career

Norwood SANFLW Captain Alison Ferrall has decided to hang up the boots following a six-season, 57-game career with the Redlegs.

The 33-year-old was chaired off following Norwood’s Preliminary Final loss to eventual SANFLW Premiers Central District earlier this month.

While it wasn’t the result Norwood was after (a 40-point loss to the Dogs), the usual key defender was swung forward late in the game and booted the last goal of the season, after the final siren.

With Redlegs teammates knowing it was Ferrall’s last kick in SANFLW football, it created interesting scenes with both teams celebrating on the final siren (Centrals the win, and Norwood their captain’s final goal).

“It was a big build up to the final game, I didn’t want it to be too focussed on my retirement – I wanted to focus on finals,” Ferrall said.

“But going through the motions of knowing it was going to be my last game that was big. I managed to contain (the emotions) throughout, but when I kicked that last goal and the girls got around me, embraced me, that’s when it sunk in and emotions got the best of me.

“It was special, and special to be chaired off the ground, I will reflect on that one day and be a memory that I won’t forget.”

Ferrall notified the Norwood playing squad prior to the final game of the home and away season that it was going to be her final campaign.

“I met with our coach Brad Snell and broke the news about retiring, and there was a lot of emotion involved with that – I think I got all of the tears out of the way then,” she said.

“It was cool to be able to thank the players and coaches that have done so much for me.”

Ferrall was proud of her team to make a Preliminary Final in 2023, having finished fifth in 2022, and starting this season 0-3.

“I am proud of all the girls, coaches and everyone involved,” she said.

“It is an improvement – we didn’t make finals last year and that was the first year that we hadn’t made it.

“Finals was the goal, and we ticked that off. Yes we would have loved to go through to the big dance, but when you reflect on the season we tick it off as a success.

“We have such a young list, so many new players and with the new coach (Snell) coming in and creating this awesome coaching group who have created a welcoming, strong, safe environment to play our best footy.”

Debuting in Round 4 of 2018 (a win over West Adelaide) Ferrall described her career as a “ride” that has included an abundance of happy memories, amongst several serious and long term injuries.

“It won’t feel real (retirement) until the girls are pulling the guernsey on in Round 1 next year,” she said.

“When I reflect on my time at the club I am proud to have been captain, that is such an honour and I have embraced and loved that role.

“There have been so many special moments, it’s so hard to nail down one moment that stands out above the rest – we had the chance to go to Croatia as a club, and I have loved watching girls that I have played with go on and get drafted into the AFLW. Sharing those times with them is special.”

Ferrall has had three knee reconstructions and broke her arm last year. She said now was the right time to hang up the boots.

“I am ready, I was just crawling over the line at the end,” she said.

“I will save the club a bit of money in strapping tape, and my physio and surgeon will also be happy because they told me to retire years ago.

“I am not sad about finishing my career because I am really excited for the future and whatever that holds.

“I am really passionate about coaching, the girls coming through are amazing and I am so pleased to be a part of that, and hopefully my husband (Brad Farrall) and I will be able to start a family.”

Not being able to commence her football career as early as girls coming through now, Ferrall said that she had dreamt of playing for her beloved Geelong Cats from a young age.

“That was my dream (playing for Geelong),” she said.

“I couldn’t comprehend that women couldn’t play when I was young because I thought I was going to play alongside Gary Ablett and Jimmy Bartel.

“I went and played other sport, but as soon as the opportunity to start playing footy came I went out to Morphettville Park Football Club.

“I had a really strong first season there and then came out to Norwood which was really special being a Norwood fan growing up, it was a huge honour to get the call up.”

“It is an honour to Captain this club, given the history that it holds and to play 57 games is really special – I had a lot of injuries along the way, but that’s footy. I am just privileged to have been able to play, because there are a lot of women that haven’t had the chance.”

Ferrall said she was hoping to continue on in a coaching role next season, and was also hinting at completing the pre-season with the squad.

By Josh Teakle, NFC