Official. Collingwood forward Sophie Alexander… who is an Essendon supporter… tells the filth, she’s leaving for her true home, Bomberland
From the club…
Essendon’s AFLW list build continues to make great strides, with Collingwood AFLW player Sophie Alexander committing to signing with the Bombers.
The club will now work with Alexander, her management and the AFL to facilitate this request once the AFLW Sign and Trade Period opens, with the timing yet to be confirmed by the AFL.
Alexander transitioned from basketball to football in 2017, and after a successful season with the Eastern Devils, joined Collingwood’s inaugural VFLW side.
After impressing at VFLW level, Alexander was elevated to the Pies’ AFLW list and went on to play 31 games across her four years at the club.
Sophie Alexander will arrive at Essendon after 31 AFLW games at Collingwood. (Photo: AFL Photos)
Alexander will be a utility for the Bombers with strong hands and a long, accurate kick.
Across her 31-game career, she has kicked 16 goals and averaged 5.9 disposals a game.
Essendon general manager of football Josh Mahoney said Alexander’s experience and football journey would make her a great addition to the Bombers.
“Sophie is another great addition to our AFLW side. Since swapping over from basketball, she has worked hard to develop her game, which reflects her strong work ethic and determination to improve,” Mahoney said.
“She will be a great asset and will contribute to our club standards on and off the field.”
Essendon AFLW player contract manager Georgia Harvey said Alexander would become an important part of the Bombers’ line-up.
“Coming from a basketball background, Sophie’s journey to the AFLW has been unique and she brings a different perspective to the game,” Harvey said.
“At 178cm, Sophie provides flexibility at either end and will bring a lot of experience to our inaugural AFLW team.
“Sophie is a lifelong Bombers supporter and we look forward to seeing her in the red and black.”
Alexander’s commitment to Essendon’s inaugural AFLW side follows those of VFLW Bombers co-captain Georgia Nanscawen , Carlton duo Maddy Prespakis and Georgia Gee , Western Bulldogs forward Bonnie Toogood, Fremantle midfielder Stephanie Cain and Western Jets forward Caitlin Sargent.
SAY NO MORE.
I was more wondering about the fact that she transitioned.
Is that stat of average 6 disposals a game correct?
There’s a video at the site which covers much of the same quotes (a few differences).
As a young girl, Sophie Alexander’s nickname was Bomber and she would sleep with her footy tucked under one arm and her teddy in the other.
She dreamt of playing footy and would often be found in the backyard in Horsham, in regional Victoria, kicking the ball around.
As well as her fanatic love of footy, Alexander was also curious about medicine and helping people as she watched her mum Mandy work as a midwife.
Now, the 29-year-old is following her two passions: playing football at Essendon and helping others as a paramedic with Ambulance Victoria.
“I’m just about to finish my graduate year at Ambulance Victoria,” Alexander said.
Working as a paramedic for a year, she entered the profession at a time when the pandemic placed a huge surge on the workload of our frontline health workers, and ambulance ramping at hospitals has been common.
“With Covid, I’ve come in at the worst time. It’s good that in a way, things can only get better and there are a lot of things that have been put in place to improve paramedic conditions, but coming in around Covid has been very difficult.”
Sophie Alexander works night shifts at a paramedic in addition to playing for the new AFLW expansion club. Picture: Essendon Football Club.
Alexander often trains for football in the evening before heading to a night shift.
“On its own, it’s a very challenging job. Mix it with footy and things get a little bit hectic – working night shifts every week and trying to balance training,” she said.
“But both parties have been incredible helping me out with that. I’m doing both my dream careers at the same time, so it’s pretty insane.”
When the seventh AFLW season kicks off on August 25, Alexander will take to the field in the red and black after she switched from Collingwood to expansion club Essendon.
“I’m a very loyal person and I was very torn choosing to leave Collingwood,” Alexander said.
“[But] growing up an Essendon supporter, it was a very hard deal to say no to. The club and the way they put things forward was a really positive environment, and it was a very exciting opportunity.”
Alexander is keen to see the fans at the grounds when Essendon makes its debut in the competition.
“The perception of women in sport has changed and I think a lot more people take us seriously now,” she said.
“When people find out that I play footy, I’m met with excitement and everyone is really proud, whereas a few years ago that might have been a different story. It’s been an important change in culture and people are so excited for us and happy to see us play.”
Ooh, actual reporting by someone at the game and not just looking at stats!
by Gemma Bastiani
IN ESSENDON’S triumphant return to Windy Hill on Sunday, several of the club’s big-name inaugural recruits rightly earned praise in the gritty win. But it was a lesser-discussed Bomber who quietly played an important role.
Sophie Alexander’s presence not only in the forward line but also pressing higher up the field provided a crucial link into attack for Essendon, especially in the face of St Kilda’s pressure.
While co-captain Bonnie Toogood found herself in a frustrating position for the first half, regularly being double-teamed by the Saints, Alexander saw that attention as an opportunity to get into space and become really damaging.
In the process she won a career-high 19 disposals and 10 contested possessions.
Sophie Alexander’s breakout game
|Disposals||Marks||Inside 50s||Metres Gained||Score Involvements|
|2022 S7 (avg)||8.0||1.5||1.7||132.4||2.4|
|2022 S6 (avg)||5.6||1.8||1.2||98.2||1.8|
As a 178cm tall key forward, on the surface it seems that Alexander’s output of just six goals in 12 games for Essendon is below expectations, but her ability to connect the forward line with quick hands out of stoppages and a strong presence in forward 50 ruck contests allows teammates to get the most out of themselves.
Although just one goal this season has come from Alexander’s boot, she has registered 10 score involvements – the most at the Bombers and the seventh-highest in the competition of those who are yet to kick multiple goals.
Much of that is by virtue of her workrate from contest to contest and intelligence to find space away from any direct opponent.
Alexander’s repeat involvement in the passage of play to set up Georgia Gee’s first-quarter goal in Sunday’s win is the perfect encapsulation of her impact.
Initially part of the contest on the defensive side of the wing, Alexander gets a quick handball receive and gets it back to a running Gee, who doesn’t need to break stride to cleanly take it.
Once Gee has the ball in hand she breaks away and kicks forward to Paige Scott on the half forward flank. Alexander, who hasn’t stopped running into attack, realises that she doesn’t have an opponent tracking her and finds space at the top of the 50m arc to become a target for Scott.
Once Alexander has the ball in hand, she is able to take a moment to assess her options and send the ball to the top of the goalsquare. While it doesn’t result in a mark in front of goal, her teammates are able to bring it to ground and create a goal off Gee’s boot.
For opposition defences the desire to shut Toogood, Scott and last season’s leading goalkicker Daria Bannister out of the game is great given their power and ability to hit the scoreboard, but allow Alexander space at your own peril.
While others might be kicking the goals, more often than not Alexander has had a hand in their scores, offering a neat link between lines.
Is leading the league for Goal Assists, according to the Credit to the Girls podcast.
AN IRON infusion has done wonders for in-form Bomber Sophie Alexander.
The 30-year-old is leading the competition for goal assists and averaging a career-high 12.5 disposals and 3.3 marks, forming a powerful combination with co-captain Bonnie Toogood in the forward line.
“I’m almost going to channel Darcy Vescio here, who mentioned they’d had an iron infusion in pre-season – I also had an iron infusion,” Alexander told Credit to the Girls podcast.
Sophie Alexander celebrates a goal during the AFLW R1 match between Essendon and Hawthorn at Kinetic Stadium on September 2, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos
"Here’s a plug, check your iron.
"We do routine bloods, and the doctor was like, that’s a bit low, need to top that up.
"I just thought it was normal to be low on energy, and suddenly, that’s no longer a thing. I don’t need two coffees a day and a nap.
"It definitely helps having people like Bonnie Toogood and Daria Bannister, who have come from other clubs, and bring a wealth of experience – to play with them, the synergy within the group is really clicking. The younger girls coming through are adapting to their expertise and I’m counting myself as a younger girl.”
Toogood is having a career-best season, sitting equal-third in the AFLCA votes as a key forward who roams high up the ground and drops behind the ball when required.
"She’s incredible. Similar to Georgia (Nanscawen), she leads by example. You can see even in the first session of pre-season, she had this look in her eye, and it was like, 'she’s on a mission, she’s coming’.
"She’s really living by it and she’s doing all the things she’s asking of us, so she’s a great leader in that sense.”
1.25 – Sophie Alexander joins the show
2.03 – The benefits of iron infusions
3.54 – The building of the Bombers
6.16 – Beating the Cats
8.45 – The impact of Georgia Nanscawen
10.15 – Dreamtime at Ikon Park
12.52 – Coach Natalie Wood’s freedom within structure
15.10 – Facing Richmond on Saturday night