AFLW #28 - Mia Busch

And get stuffed, Hawks!

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A gusty competitor who thrives when the ball is there to be won, Mia Busch is the kind of player you want on your team. The dual Eastern Ranges best and fairest set the bar high coming into her top-age year, but signalled her intent with a record-breaking score of 17.8 in the NAB League Girls preseason yo-yo test. The rest was done on-field.

Having cut her teeth as a speedy half-back with terrific ball retention and rebounding skills, Busch also got her wish of spending more time in midfield this year. Able to play both on the inside or on a wing, the 18-year-old brought her typical competitiveness and combined it with enormous running power to become an apt accumulator, line-breaker, and clearance winner. At 166cm, her best position seems to be behind the ball. As Vic Metro teammate Jasmine Fleming testified, Busch is a nightmare to play against and almost impossible to beat one-on-one. She reads the play well and gets to aggressive positions to intercept, committing herself to the contest either aerially or at ground level.

She has little trouble finding the ball and has the evasive tricks to find exits from congestion, but can become a touch more effective with her disposal. Tending to put boot to ball and compound her metres gained, Busch’s improvement will come from adding polish to those touches under pressure and better utilising her opposite foot to become more efficient.

As an overall package, recruiters will love the character Busch offers as a professional type who seeks to get the best out of herself. Her athletic traits, blending speed and endurance, allow her to get involved wherever the play goes and make her a well-rounded prospect who can be relied upon to perform each week.

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That surname

Seriously?

I think Nino’s referring to this:

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I hope so…

just ban him boomerang man, save yourself some angst.

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I cannot get enough of these videos.

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Then go see the other two angles at

https://www.instagram.com/p/CfY_F5yv5Hz/

(while you can)

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image

Here ya go.

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She’s certainly got a lot of perfection yet to be demonstrated.

By Blake Gaffiero

Playing professional football is a taxing caper on its own, let alone when balancing VCE studies right in the middle of it.

For Essendon defender/winger Mia Busch, 2022 presented this exact challenge, juggling her final year of high school amidst the thrill of being drafted to an AFLW club.

The Ashy Redbacks and Blackburn product initially began her sporting endeavours as a basketballer, before eventually deciding to place her chips on footy through a COVID-impacted 2020 period.

“I was just so competitive and ready to play any sport under the sun, so starting out in the under 15’s as an 11-year-old was my introduction to footy,” Busch said.

“It just blossomed from there and I’ve never looked back. Early on, I only really committed to it because of my friends and how much I loved it for what it was, but it was only through that COVID year that I definitively chose to go all in on footy.”

Come draft night in 2022, Busch found herself on the verge of realising her AFLW dream with the Bombers poised to select her with their fourth selection and 35thoverall.

Busch recalls the night as a rare moment for reflection, with the 19-year-old typically drawn to the next challenge.

“As an athlete and as a perfectionist that I am, you’re always striving for the next best thing and at times it can be hard to just reflect and be happy with where you’ve gotten to,” Busch said.

“When I look back to that night, it’s a bit of a blur. There were a couple of Mia’s in the draft taken before me, so it was just a massive relief to finally have my name called and get to that point of saying ‘I’ve made it’.”

Amidst the excitement of joining the red and black, Busch had to deal with the final run home for her year 12 studies, having her personal pre-season pushed back on account of school commitments.

For a self-proclaimed competitor, the distraction from football initially provided a hurdle for Busch to overcome, but having the support of teammates in a similar position aided her through the debut season.

“I’m an all-in person who hates to half-ass things, I want to do everything I can to improve and the harsh reality was that I couldn’t bring that to footy with my focus on school last year,” Busch said.

“It was hard for me to deal with trying to excel at both and I’d have to miss certain training sessions, which hurt me as a social person. Being able to have conversations with girls like Ash van Loon and Amber Clarke about how they were handling it all was so good for me through the year.”

Relishing the freedom of an uninterrupted pre-season in 2023, Busch has been able to build upon established relationships from last season, as well as creating new ones with six fresh faces on the roster this year.

“Personally for me, this pre-season has been incomparable. I’ve realised just how much I’ve missed connecting with the group and being around everyone,” Busch said.

“At the end of the day, those little things that build to the team connection makes up most of why people play sport in the first place.”

Busch, recruited as a running defender, has started to push up to the wing during training and match simulation, capitalising on her elite endurance to impact on the offensive end.

With the young list growing in experience and gaining traction heading into the season, Busch also believes the identity of the team is starting to take shape.

“I’m looking to build on my strengths such as my running capacity and utilising them where they fit best within the team. I’m finding it suits my game, getting from contest to contest and supporting my mates,” Busch said.

“Our approach to pre-season has been driven by who we want to be as Essendon people. We’ve strayed very far from that idea of being treated as an expansion club, we’re all set on our future and being known as a hard-working, resilient, tough side to play against.”

Just shy of two weeks away from their September 2 start against Hawthorn, the Bombers travel to Perth for a practice match with West Coast this Sunday.

The travel is another element for Busch’s eagerness this year, continuing the group’s bond on the road.

“I’m really excited to travel with everyone, but Sophie Alexander is a pretty awesome character to travel with, I adore her. Mia van Dyke is also the most random person you will ever meet and I absolutely love her to death for it,” Busch said.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of this team and I’m so excited to spend more time travelling with them as we keep building together.”

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