On Monday night, Darebin Falcons midfielder, Daisy Pearce, claimed the inaugural VFL Women’s Best & Fairest Award. The win takes her career league best and fairest tally to an incredible seven, having previously won the VWFL’s Helen Lambert Medal a record-breaking six times.
With the rapid rise of women’s football over the last 12 months, Pearce has found herself firmly in the public eye. However, her on-field exploits and her confidence off it only tell a portion of Daisy’s story. We spoke to her coach and some teammates from the Darebin Falcons, to get some insight into Daisy Pearce the footballer.
Jane Lange - coach:
“Daisy and I have always had a really great working relationship in regards to football. We’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking to each other about aspects of the game that we might modify and that hasn’t changed at all since I’ve become coach. I still take the opportunity to ask her ‘What do you think?’ or ‘What are your thoughts on how this is going?’ or even something as simple as ‘Tell me what you thought of that drill?’ because she’s always going to give you genuine feedback.
Daisy’s impact on the team has a lot to do with who she is and how she goes about it. Every time there is a training session, she is at the front of whatever drill it is. She is the one creating the energy and that drags everybody else along. On game day, if she’s playing in the midfield, she motivates our team by going in and doing all the small things. She tackles, she smothers, she shepherds, and she does all of those things for the better of the team.
I think the other thing as well; she is a leader on the field and off the field. I don’t think I’ve met anybody else who speaks as well and I think more people are getting to see that now. On Channel 7’s ‘Gameday’, she’s entered a field that is really male-dominated and she’s holding her own. She is such a great role model for young girls and women of all ages really. I probably couldn’t think of enough good things to say about Daisy to be honest, it just doesn’t do her justice.”
Darcy Vescio - teammate:
“Daisy is the kind of teammate who pours her time into making her teammates feel and perform their best. Her influence on me over the past five years is immeasurable.
On field she guides through her own actions, yet it’s probably her vocal presence that makes her the most influential player in the league. She encourages, directs and uplifts each and every team member. Off field she’s a dead set legend and someone you can always have a good chat with.”
Karen Paxman - teammate:
“Daisy in the most determined and competitive beast I've ever played with or against. She’s ever reliable and delivers for the team 100% of the time, not only through her on field ball winning magic, but also through the way she leads and brings her teammates together.
Her competitive attitude has always been something I've really admired and it has definitely at times ignited the fire in my belly to rise to the occasion and leave nothing in the tank.”
Lauren Arnell - teammate:
“Daisy and I started playing footy in the same year; we played in the 2005 U19 team together. We’ve definitely both grown up through footy alongside each other. There have been a lot of ups and downs through there and I guess it’s just been a constant.
I would say Daisy is extremely motivated, she’s very driven and the more her career goes on the higher standards she sets not only for herself but also her teammates. She stands up when it matters and sometimes when it feels like it might not matter, she’s always at the front. What I really like about Daisy is she carries a lot of confidence within her own ability too and so you know that there’s never any self doubt within what she knows she can do in a game. But if there’s time to sacrifice what she does to better the team then she’s prepared to do that as well.”
Melissa Hickey - teammate:
“Daisy is a fantastic leader and leads by example both on and off the field. Daisy is the complete package of a footballer and when she is going in at the bottom of the packs and taking match saving marks the whole team can't help but lift. I have learnt a lot about how to conduct myself on and off the field from Daisy and she has been a great role model for me.”
Katie Brennan - teammate:
"Daisy is the definition of a complete footballer and an even better leader. The standards she sets for herself as an athlete, teammate and professional are far beyond what I have ever witnessed, but the incredible thing is she delivers in all areas. Daisy is truly inspiring.
She is in and under, she is outside, she can hit-up on her left, take a contested overhead mark and she can snap a goal from the pocket. However, most importantly, she can bring her teammates together and make them feel valued and encourage them to work towards one common goal.
Daisy is the ultimate role model and it's an honour to call her a teammate and friend."
(Photos: Cameron Grimes Photography)