My First Day

I’ve wanted to be a professional football writer ever since giving up my dream of palaeontology at the age of eight. However, I never even considered becoming a women’s football reporter until my sister began playing in 2014. A whole new world was opened to me and I had arrived at just the right time. The first ever Women’s AFL Exhibition match had been played the year before and the push for a national competition was on. To that end, they needed content. And I needed a job.

I published a triptych of articles on the growth of women’s football at grassroots, representative and national levels, meeting some of the game’s most important figures who commented that they were impressed at the enthusiasm I showed. I got the sense that I might be onto something very good.

Over the next year I became a Media Manager and VFL Women’s reporter. I worked hard but to be honest I loved the writing and the talking and the meeting people so much that it didn’t tire me at all. My break came when I interviewed VU Western Spurs’ coach Debbie Lee in May.

A 300-game player, Victorian Women’s Football League President, tireless campaigner and now the Women’s Football Operations Manager at Melbourne, Debbie is one of a handful of women – up there with Susan Alberti, Michelle Cowan, Barb Hampson, Lisa Hardeman and Chyloe Kurdas – to whom all female footballers present and future owe something. She invited me to join Melbourne’s women’s media team as an intern – when a vacancy unexpectedly opened up, I was there to sign on as a reporter.

Last Saturday night was the first night of my career. After being presented with my Demons’ Media hoodie – my own baggy green moment – I spent most of the night just compiling notes for my report but a few moments truly stand out.

Walking with the team past the Whitten Oval trophy cabinets and into the change rooms. I’ll never forget the excitement that rose in me as it all hit home.

The standing ovation given to Susan Alberti as she arrived.

Bulldog captain Stephanie Chiocci’s incredible speech upon acceptance of the Hampson-Hardeman Cup.

Also, finally solving the mystery of how statistics are kept. Kudos to the incredible monologue kept by Champion Data and the flawless ‘coding’ (recording) of his pen-in-hand friend:
“5 Melbourne effective handball inside 19 Melbourne handball receive 17 Bulldogs tackle…”

It’s such an exciting time for footy and I’m just really happy to be a part of this journey. Here’s to life’s rich and uncertain potential: I want to make a career in Women’s AFL Media.



See a list of Callum’s Almanac reports, featuring many women’s footy stories, here.
The list includes stories about:
Debbie Lee
Moana Hope
Stephanie Chiocci


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About Callum O'Connor

Here's to feelin' good all the time.


  1. Well done Callum. Congratulations.

    However, its probably fair to say that your break came when you met J. Harms and the Footy Almanac site. You have blossomed since. This is a wonderful place for young writers.

  2. Good on you Callum.
    The realisation of a dream.

    Long may you follow your dreams and long may they sustain you.

  3. Well done Callum.
    I enjoy reading your posts on Women’s footy and I look forward to reading many more.

  4. Great persistence Callum. Brilliant news. I’m retiring next year and you’re just starting out! Its a marathon not a sprint – step by step, little by little – just don’t stray off course like I did.

  5. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Congrats Callum, Plenty to write about in the years to come. Great stuff.

  6. looking forward to reading much more from you on women’s footy, Callum.

  7. Congrats Callum and I reckon,Dips nailed it above.Callum what are you doing re cricket this season
    I hope you are playing for the lower plenty,3rds ? ( always really enjoyed those articles )

  8. Well done and very exciting opportunity for you…….good luck with future writings

  9. Callum O'Connor says

    G’day Rulebook – moving back to Panton Hill! New faces, new teams, new stories! Stay tuned

  10. Yvette Wroby says

    Great work Callum. Following dreams and plans, and working hard to make it happen. Very proud. Very please. Have fun.

  11. G’day Callum, Congrats. You have done W.K. Trewick proud. I like how you have written in various styles across various sports. Converting observations to words is a good start. Add ing an understanding of what it means and why (if at all) it matters is next. I also have an idea for you. Drop me a line some time. JTH

  12. Earl O'Neill says

    Good onya Callum. Oughta be a chance to work paleontology into football somewhere!

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