Renee Forth still has a lot more to give as she makes GNWFL debut

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Renee Forth will be making her GNWFL debut.
Camera IconRenee Forth will be making her GNWFL debut. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

The Big Freeze in the Valley will see plenty of fun and fanfare but for Geraldton AFLW premiership player Renee Forth it could kickstart her final foray into footy.

Forth, originally from Buller River, was an inaugural AFLW marquee player signing for Greater Western Sydney before she became Adelaide’s first women’s trade, joining the team in 2019 and helping the Crows go on to win the premiership.

However, this weekend will represent a debut for Forth in the local competition with the GNWFL not in existence before she went over east.

“I’ve never played in it, I have seen it a couple of years ago went down to another Chapman Valley women’s game but I know that it would have grown a lot since then,” she said.

“I feel like the team will go pretty well we’ve had a lot of girls out sick and unable to train but a lot should be back this week and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Forth said the development of the women’s game across-the-board had grown exponentially since the AFLW started.

“I started footy around 2011 and played in a few exhibition games in anticipation of AFLW originally being scheduled for 2020 but obviously they brought it forward to 2016,” she said.

“Even back then the main focus was on funding and developing grassroots because they knew if they just utilised everyone who was playing at that time, we would have all been old so quickly, they needed to make sure that the depth was coming through.

“Watching the young girls that are coming there are players who are like 20 years younger than me they’ve played for longer than I have seasonal-wise.

“You’re not only getting athletic players, you’re getting smart players which is what we needed a lot more of in the AFLW. We’ve got a lot of footy heads coming through, which is awesome because then you just get the fitness in them, and every season is only going to make you better so yet the girls that are coming through are unreal.”

At 36 and returning for her first game in 15 months after an ACL injury, Forth has been considering her playing future.

“It feels weird finishing rehab, and then being like, OK, you’re done. I wanted to have that reward of playing and being like, you’ve been through the hard and now you get to come back it just makes it all kind of with the low times that you go through in the tough times it goes through worth it,” she said.

“I still have that itch to want to play, I’ve committed a fair bit of my time to footy and it hasn’t been my only full-time job. I’ve worked full-time and also committed a fair bit of time on top of that.

“So it’s how much do I want to commit and I know that being older I have to commit to gym and rehab, prehab just making sure my body’s right otherwise, I will end up back in rehab and I don’t want to be there because that’s draining so that’s something that I need to figure out, do I still scratch that itch?”

But Forth feels she’s got plenty to offer to the next generation.

“The team that I’m playing with back in SA there’s, we’ve got a lot of young players, so I can see how playing with them, I’d be able to assist them and give back and to take on that mentorship role,” she said.

“So there’s a place for me in that team if I really want to do it I just need to make sure that I can be ready for that challenge.”

Chapman Valley’s women will take on the Blues from 1pm at Mazzuchelli Oval.

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