Forth knows how to find the footy

Matthew WoodleyGeraldton Guardian

Renee Forth was a late starter to football, but she hasn’t let that get in the way of chasing her women’s AFL dream.

The Geraldton-raised midfielder only began playing at 24 when she moved to Perth, but since then she has steadily risen up the ranks to be regarded as one of the code’s best players.

So much so, that Forth was given the honour of captaining the Fremantle women’s side in the one-off Western Derby curtain-raiser against the Eagles recently.

That game was a trial for the State team that will play against the Western Bulldogs side at Etihad Stadium later in the year and while her team might have struggled, Forth did enough to get selected in the squad.

The 2015 WAWFL premiership player said while the final 22 were yet to be selected, she was hopeful of being on the plane over to Victoria in June.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but having said that there’s only seven training sessions before we go away so it’s not long,” she said.

“We’ve had a couple of injuries which are massive outs for WA, but hopefully Hayley Miller — who had a fracture in her leg from that game — will be one who’s good to go.”

Forth said it was an exciting time to be part of women’s football, especially with the introduction of a national women’s league next year, and that she wants to be a part of the inaugural season – even if it means moving from her WA home.

“There’s a lot of talent in WA … so if I was only willing to stay here it would be a bit harder to get in,” she said.

“I’ll still have a good chance, but if I open it up to the whole of Australia there’s enough spots out there that I would feel comfortable to hopefully make a team.”

The 29-year-old’s journey is all the more impressive considering the late start to her career and first experience with competitive football growing up.

“The only footy that I ever played in Geraldton was just kicking at school with the boys,” she said.

“One year we had a Year 7 inter school comp, but I only got on for five minutes and then I broke my wrist,” she said.

“I played pretty much every other sport in Geraldton … (but) I never really played footy until I moved to Perth.”

However, despite the rocky beginning, Forth is determined to continue forging ahead with her career and encouraged people to get out there and support the women’s game.

“Everyone’s jumping on board and there’s massive hype about,” she said.

“It’s something that’s only going to get bigger.”

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