AFLW Round 4 – Melbourne v Collingwood: A Family Affair. Go Anna!

In Grade 4, aged 9, little Auskicker Anna Teague had her first taste of footy. At the MCG, mind you, in front of thousands, during the half time break.

Then, a year later, it all began in earnest. She was to play in the local Ocean Grove team, as the only girl. She proudly pulled on her brand new footy boots, her guernsey, shorts and socks, and out she ran, alongside her team mates, hoping to celebrate a momentous occasion.

It was certainly momentous. She was constantly bullied by the boys and pleaded with her Mum and Dad to be able to finish her short footy career. Encouraged by her parents to keep going, to be proud of what she was achieving and to stand up for herself, she did just that, and stuck it out for the remainder of the season.

Perhaps that year of footy stood Anna in good stead for her future sporting career, and perhaps the subsequent apology from one of those boys – many years later – helped to restore some sort of balance in the minds of those men who don’t believe women can do as they do.

Like most of the women now playing footy in the AFLW, Anna has come to it via other sporting codes; in her case basketball. And then a year with Geelong in the VFLW side in 2017.

When still at school, she also excelled at rowing, and in years 11 and 12, became an Australian Champion as part of a winning team in the Australian Schools’ Championships.

Her illustrious basketball career spanned 18 years.

Starting in Grade 5 at school, her talent became obvious and she soon graduated to the Ocean Grove Breakers when she was 11. She represented the Bellarine Storm as a junior and worked her way through the local Ocean Grove leagues to the Geelong under 16’s, and eventually into the Victorian squad of the Geelong under 18’s State team.

While still a junior, playing in the finals for her local team, her mother and father overheard a couple of senior Geelong players comment on Anna’s ability, “Wow, that Anna Teague, she should be playing for the Geelong team”.

After stepping up into the Geelong squad, she continued with them for a while before heading off to Bendigo to study at Latrobe University. She played with the Bendigo Braves in the SEABL competition, and eventually joined Bendigo Spirit in the WNBL.

After graduating from university as a teacher, she returned to Geelong and played in the BigV that year, being part of their championship winning team.

The final four years of her basketball career were then spent with the Geelong Super Cats in the SEABL competition, successfully captaining them for several of those years.

Anna in her basketball days with the Super Cats


Then, when Women’s footy became a possibility in 2017, this determined young woman approached Geelong in the VFLW, and she was soon running out onto the field in the famous blue and white hoops. Playing as a defender, her outstanding season resulted in a third-place finish in the Geelong best-and-fairest.


And now to today’s game, with Anna Teague playing as a defender for the Melbourne footy club.

In October last year, she received a phone call from the Demons AFLW talent manager Todd Patterson, offering her a prized AFLW rookie contract. He said she had done a great job transitioning to football for Geelong in just one year, and commented that “she was rarely beaten as a key defender…” He also said “we see Anna as someone who can add plenty as a rookie, particularly with her leadership. Anna is a teacher by profession.”

The Ocean Grove Voice, in October 2017, told us that Anna was the first Ocean Grove-raised female footballer to be drafted into an AFLW team: “Teague, 29, said it was an honour to be drafted as the first AFLW player from Ocean Grove.”

“I hadn’t thought of it in that sense – that I am the first Ocean Grove AFLW female footballer,” Teague told the Voice. “Now that you verbalise it, it feels pretty damn special – it is quite an honour now that there is going to be a senior Ocean Grove women’s team coming up next season.” She added “He [Todd] just said to me “Welcome to the Melbourne Footy Club” and I was in shock and shaking.”

Now, as my niece Anna runs onto the field for the first time in the red and blue of her new club (she has been injured these past three weeks), I find myself barracking for family, instead of a team. Go Anna!


Having just watched my AFLW team, the Lions, slog it out in Brisbane in pretty appalling conditions – rain, yet high humidity – and come away with a win, the weather, again, might well have an effect on this game in Alice Springs. 37 degrees is the expected temperature when the game is to commence late afternoon.

I know it’s been said before, but subjecting people to play footy in that temperature, is simply plain stupidity. Footy is a winter game, and somehow the AFL needs to find a way for the women’s game to also be played at that time.

The weather didn’t seem to worry Collingwood tonight, mind you. They had ice vests on the ready, and each time an interchange took place, their players seemed to relish the relief from the heat. In retrospect, perhaps Melbourne should have followed suit.

Despite the first quarter dominance by Melbourne, leaving their opposition scoreless at the end of the 15 minutes, Collingwood certainly had their chances, especially with the ball in their forward line for the first ten minutes, so Melbourne’s 2.2 seemed a handy lead at the end of the quarter.

Anna had started the game on the bench, and as a centre half back/full back, I assumed at some point she would playing on Moana Hope. I then see her popping up on the TV screen in her number 40 guernsey, taking a pass on the half back flank, being tackled around the neck, and awarded a free. Wiping the sweat from her brow, she delivers her 30 metre kick perfectly into the hands of a team mate on the wing. Phew! Relief! Her first touch, first kick, successful!

Back on the bench at the start of the second quarter, next to Daisy Pearce, she is soon back into the fray. Deep in the back line, now on Moana, she just gets a handball away before being tackled by the Collingwood champ. The scores are level at this stage, and when the very same Moana kicks two quick consecutive goals, Collingwood goes into the main break ahead for the first time – by 6 points.

The second half is all Collingwood and they carry that momentum through until the final siren.

Perhaps, having been on the road – to Perth and Alice Springs – in two consecutive weeks, didn’t do Melbourne any favours tonight. And the heat, in both these places, was extreme. The players looked tired, exhausted at times, and had no real answer to Collingwood’s determination to not only win its first game for the season, but to put the early season favourites for the flag in a slightly vulnerable position with just three matches to be played.

As the Melbourne players trudge off the ground, exhausted and dejected, I feel for my niece. I wondered how she was feeling. I wondered how she felt she went in her very first AFLW game. I know how she felt being on a losing side.

I also wondered how her Mum – Marie (my sister), her Dad – Nicky, and her partner Seb were feeling, having made the long journey from Ocean Grove up to Alice to be there for their beloved Anna. They would have been so proud.

Anna too should be proud. Proud of her wonderful achievement in reaching this AFLW level, and especially with just one year of footy under her belt.

Congratulations Anna!

I will be watching her next week against my AFLW team, Brisbane. Not so sure of my team/family loyalties then mind you, but my emotions will surely sway me in the right direction!

Melbourne 2.2 2.2 3.4 3.6 (24)
Collingwood 0.0 3.2 6.4 9.4 (58)
Melbourne: Hore, Mifsud, O’Dea
Collingwood: Hope 2, Edwards 2, Bernardi, Barden, Chiocci, Hutchins, Kuys
Melbourne: Paxman, Downie, O’Dea, Cunningham, Jakobsson
Collingwood: Bernardi, Lambert, Chiocci, Bonnici, Hope, King
Melbourne: Smith (concussion), Cranston (hand)
Collingwood: Nil
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Galbraith, Crosby, Broadbent
Crowd: 2,000

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016.


  1. Well well – the amazing Anna Teague – Good on you Jan for such a wonderful story and so well written – as always.

    CONGRATULATIONS to my niece Anna! I am sure I had everything to do with your inherent talent, skills, determination, prowess, grit, athleticism, cleverness and just sheer brilliance really!

    Onya girlie. Well done!

    La Zia Jude

  2. Marie Teague says

    What a great article Jan. How lucky is Anna to have a great Aunty like you to say such nice things. I’m just a little biased, being Anna’s mum and all, but Anna is pretty good! It must be the great Courtin genes, with a little help from the Teague’s genes!!

    Marie Teague.

  3. Thank you lovely sisters, Jude and Marie.

    Why wouldn’t an aunt say lovely things about her niece, especially when she is such a lovely one at that!

    Jan x

  4. Yvette Wroby says

    OK, I am not an aunty but I say well done all Courtins and Teagues. It’s so good hearing the stories of the women’s backgrounds and how they came to footy, and this one of Anna is a beauty. I am sure she’ll have a better week this week but no game is a certainty. At least they are playing at home, and it is a night game. It is hard to know who to barrack for so I will barrack for the Courtins and Teagues!

    Good article Jan

  5. Thanks Yvette

    I think the Teagues have more of the sporting blood in their veins. Anna is the youngest of seven; her older sister, Sarah, is married to Mark Neeld, and one of their three daughters, Alice Teague-Neeld is a top net ball player in Victoria – and so the sporting ability continues. Not heard of her intentions to become a footy player though.

    I like “I will barrack for the Courtins and Teagues”!

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Wonderful story Jan, and great background on Anna’s sporting career.

    “Footy is a winter game, and somehow the AFL needs to find a way for the women’s game to also be played at that time.” Absolutely, totally agree with you on this.

  7. Jan Courtin says

    Thanks Luke

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