The Co-Captain of the Adelaide Crows is trying her hand at coaching in 2020, having being sidelined since late last year after rupturing her ACL during pre-season training in November.
Chelsea Randall had surgery a month ago to repair her knee and rehab is progressing well.
“I am now on a stationary bike and moving around with not too much pain, which is great. It can be a frustrating injury but it’s good to be around the group and not be isolated,” the 28-year-old said.
Following conversations with the Crows Coaching team including head coach Matthew Clarke, Peter Caven, Andrew McLeod and Narelle Smith, Randall will step into the coaches’ box this season facilitating the opportunity to develop a different skill-set.
“Those guys have been fantastic and there was an opportunity to be an assistant midfield coach with Andrew McLeod and I thought he’s not bad person to learn off. I took the opportunity with both hands and it means I can also still stay engaged and involved in the team,” Randall said.
“They are incredible coaches and hopefully I can continue to add value, continue to learn and grow in a different space.”
For the fourth consecutive year, Randall was named co-captain of the Adelaide Crows with Erin Phillips, who coincidentally ruptured her ACL in last season’s grand final. Randall is grateful to Phillips for her support.
“Erin has been amazing. She is a champion of the game on and off the field. She is a great friend of mine and she’s been very supportive. The advice was to not compare yourself to others or their recovery, how slow or how fast they are progressing, because everyone’s journey is completely different from the next.”
The 2020 AFLW competition has expanded and as the reigning premiers Randall admits the team is being chased down. That however is motivation for the Crows women to improve.
“Any team’s absolute dream is to go back to back, it’s the ultimate goal, premierships are hard to come by and you want to savour every single moment towards that goal,” the 2017 AFLW’s most courageous player as voted by her peers said.
“I have such belief in our girls, they are more than capable of achieving great things. As much as people say we were a great team last year and had some really good team success, we just have to continue to another level because everyone’s catching up and coming hard and fast.”
Off the field, the midfield star will hold her first Chelsea Randall Academy on January 22 at the AFL Max facility in Adelaide. “I want to give girls a fun, safe and engaging program they can enjoy and excel in their skills as well,” Randall said.
“I am really passionate about delivering female footy programs. I have worked in the AFL industry for over 11 years, in WA and at the Crows in my community role. Game development is the space where I have worked the most. I am just really passionate about giving more young girls the opportunity that I never had and I want to help them fast track their talent and skills. They are the future of the AFLW competition.”
Seeing more females involved in football brings a smile to Randall’s face. “It’s great to see more and more girls involved in what I think is the greatest game and just seeing their confidence grow as they join in the coaching sessions.”
“Here in South Australia before AFLW, we had 16 girls teams across the state. Within a matter of months after the first AFLW season the number of teams jumped to 67 and we are over 200 teams after three years.”
With role models such as Randall, it is easy to see why girls are inspired to pull on the boots and kick a footy.
Story by Daniel Hill