This weekend will mark an important achievement for Eastlake Demons player Karina Demant as she enters the League of Legends. When she lines up for Eastlake against the Queanbeyan Tigers in AFL’s freshman women’s competition Canberra on Saturday, July 10, she will score 100 games for the club.
Born and raised with football, Karina first ran on the field to play Auskick in 1998, then played junior football before joining the women’s league for Ainslie in 2003. She made the jump to Eastlake in 2013, stating that his time in Ainslie had been fantastic, but that it was the end of an era.
“My dad got me in because we always watched soccer together, and I approached him to tell him that I would really like to play, but I wasn’t sure I could because I didn’t know if he there were “team” girls, explains Karina.
“He was the one who pushed me to try and told me he would accept me to play Auskick.”
Growing up, Karina usually played with boys’ teams, but says that was not a problem.
Having played Australian football for almost a quarter of a century, Karina grew up alongside women’s football and says a tangible ripple effect of her success at the local level is that women’s and men’s competitions are now much more aligned. .
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“The legitimization of women’s sport at the club level has been really noticeable in terms of the healthy respect that the women’s and men’s leagues have for each other,” she says.
“At least in Eastlake we’re all pretty close and you feel like no matter what level you play, we’re all one big family.”
Karina also says that the success of women’s football must be attributed not only to those who play professionally now, but to everyone behind the scenes who have strived to take it forward for at least 25 years.
Along the way, Karina suffered a few significant injuries, most notably in the 2018 grand final when she had to be stretched out of the field. Although she says it was a difficult experience, there was a silver lining in terms of the rehabilitation process that made her stronger.
She says she won’t stop playing soccer until her body gives up on her.
A civil servant by day, Karina admits that cold Canberra nights may not always be the most inviting when it comes to training, but she does it for the sake of the game and the good of the team anyway.
“Nobody wants to be the person to let the team down. If I don’t go to practice my performance is potentially going to drop, so I guess it’s my competitive edge that comes out, ”she said.
“Besides, I love to play soccer.”
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Karina spends around four or five hours in the field each week and has a separate fitness program that adds a few extra hours to her regular involvement in the sport.
“For me, the love of football is really a love of the game and the competition, more than others who play mainly for the social aspect,” she said.
“Obviously the girls I play with are like my family too, so that’s the other big part of that. “
Some of the highlights of Karina’s career include winning three best and fairest medals, rising star of the year, and league top scorer award. In 2011, she was selected for the All-Australian team, and in 2013, was selected for the All-Australian team.
Next year, 2022, will mark an important anniversary for the Eastlake Demons AFL women’s program as it enters its 25th year. Over the past quarter of a century, the women’s team has won nine prime ministerial positions.
The club say they are committed to investing in the continued growth of their women’s football program and will pay renewed attention to this area in the years to come. Currently, 40 percent of senior participants and 61 percent of junior players are women.
For more information, visit the Eastlake Demons Football Club.
You can see Karina Demant in action this weekend: Eastlake Demons vs Queanbeyan Tigers at Aulich Park on Saturday July 10 at 3:45 p.m. ET.