17 April 2023

Big-time goal closer as Griffith's Abby Favell selected in Geelong Cats VFLW leadership group

| Oliver Jacques
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Aussie rules player

Abby Favell dreams of playing in the AFLW. Photo: Arj Giese/Geelong Cats Media.

Griffith’s Abby Favell has been chosen in the five-woman Geelong Cats Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) leadership group in her debut season with the club.

The 20-year-old’s achievement is remarkable given how little top-class Aussie rules she has played. Her early career was hampered by the lack of a regular Aussie rules girls’ team in Griffith, while over the past few seasons, COVID and injury have disrupted her playing schedule.

“There was no opportunity to play footy in my town, we would only play once a year when I was younger,” Favell said. “A lot of the other girls have been playing for more than 10 years, but I only got the chance to play regularly since year 11.”

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She now plays in the second most prestigious women’s league in the country, with the Australian Football League Women (AFLW) her next goal.

“It’s been a dream of mine to play AFLW – if it happens, it happens,” she said.

Favell was born and bred in Griffith, attending St Patrick’s Primary School before completing high school at St Francis in Leeton. She excelled at netball and touch footy and came from a rugby league family, but has always preferred the Victorian code.

“My dad played rugby league for Goolgowi. I found I liked AFL better,” she said.

”My brother played for the Griffith Swans. I was immersed in the culture when I played netball for the club … my love for the sport started in year 5 when I played in the [annual] Paul Kelly Cup. I decided that footy was so much more fun than everything else I play.”

netballers playing

Abby Favell (holding ball) also excelled at netball. Photo: Supplied.

Favell first made it big when she was selected for the Murray Bushrangers representative side in 2019, and credits her parents Mark and Angela for much of her success.

“My parents have gone above and beyond for me, I don’t know how they’ve done it. Mum and Dad would drive me to Wangaratta and Melbourne twice a week, for training and matches. Even through primary school, they would drive me to Sydney for sporting competitions.”

Between 2020 and 2022, Favell played limited matches due to both COVID and a stress fracture to her foot. Nevertheless, she was able to make the Hawthorn VFL side in 2022 before being invited to train with Geelong in this year’s preseason and making her big-match debut in March.

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“Our home ground is at Deakin University in Geelong. It’s as big as the MCG. I was so excited to finally play after such a big preseason but also very nervous.”

Favell plays as a winger and is known for her Adam Saad-like speed around the park. But it was other qualities that saw her picked in the club’s elite leadership ground, which makes her one of four quasi-vice captains.

“We were chosen because we exemplify the spirit of the club. I try to lead by example.”

Row of five AFL women

Abby Favell (second from left) has been named in Geelong’s leadership group. Photo: Geelong Cats Media.

She now lives in Geelong, where she studies occupational therapy at Deakin University, and works two jobs.

As a promising career beckons, she hasn’t forgotten where she came from.

“I would love to thank the whole Griffith community, I appreciate all their support. They’ve always helped in all my achievements.”

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