When she was growing up, Sunbury’s Maddison Gay was known to take a specky or two on the netball court.
Little did she know that several years later she’d be putting those skills to good use on football fields.
“I grew up playing netball and basketball with a bit of swimming,” she said. “I wished I played football when I was younger.
“My netball style was a bit of a football style. As I was small, I used to leap for the ball and it looked like I was taking a specky.
“Mum used to say, ‘Stop taking speckies’. I didn’t even realise I was doing it.”
Football remained a side issue for Gay as she developed her netball career.
She played most of her netball with Rupertswood before a season with Gisborne. For the past three years she’s been playing in the Victorian Netball League.
This year she decided to take the plunge and try football. She joined St Kilda’s VFL side where she had a few friends already playing.
Gay took to the game with ease and after just two games, she signed with Carlton’s AFLW side as a rookie.
The Blues were one of several Melbourne-based clubs to approach her.
Gay said the sport switch was still sinking in.
“It’s unreal and a bit of a shock … it’s happened so quickly,” she said.
“It’s surreal and it hasn’t hit home. I don’t think it will until we start training.
“I thought Carlton was the best team for me. I spoke with Damian [Keeping, Blues coach] and it seemed like the right club.”
The 20-year-old said the minute she started playing football, she knew it was the game for her.
She said while it was exciting to have her AFLW future settled, there was a lot of hard work ahead.
“I’m looking forward to what happens late in the year, but for now I’m focused on having fun. It’s only just started.
“I have a little security with already having a club, but even if I didn’t it wouldn’t change how I play my football with the Sharks.”
With football at the forefront of her mind, Gay has to step away from netball for the time being.
While some players juggle multiple sports, she’s content to focus on one.
“With football taking off, I’m going down a different path and I’ve quit netball for a while,” she said.
“I’ll always cherish netball, but for now I want to focus on football.”