Silky St Kilda midfielder Georgia Patrikios played sublime football in her debut AFLW season in 2020, standing out with her evasiveness, ability to win the ball, reading of the play and composure. Patrikios was recognised for her outstanding 2020 season and received several accolades including being a joint winner of St Kilda’s inaugural AFLW best and fairest award, being named in the 40 player AFLW All-Australian squad and received the AFLW Players’ Association Best First-Year Player Award.
On her debut season with St Kilda and signing in August 2020 for another two years with the club Patrikios commented to saints.com.au “I’m really honoured to be offered a two-year contract and knowing they want me involved at the club. I’m grateful for the opportunity the coaches gave me during this season and I’m looking to build on it and continue to have an impact for the next two years. When I came to the club, straight away, not only myself, but my family also felt very welcome, so that was really important for me. We have an amazing group of girls that will help gain success for the club moving forward.”1
Patriokios’ junior career with the Calder Cannons and Vic Metro as well as her spectacular debut AFLW season with St Kilda in 2020 is covered below:
Georgia Patrikos was born on 30 March 2001, grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and has a brother Perry who is one year older than her. Georgia and her mum Debi appeared on episode 4 of the ‘Canons Uncovered’ podcast on 9 May 2019. After being asked by Jarryd Barca “Where does your interest in footy stem from, take it back to how it all began?” Georgia responded “My brother obviously started playing Auskick back when he was about four or five years old and ever since then I looked up to him and just thought I want to do what he is doing and sort of followed him through the pathway of Auskick and then from there I was eager to still play once that finished. I went to West Coburg, then went through Pascoe Vale and got an invite to the Cannons.”
“When I first got into the games and competing stage I was playing against the boys which was from under 10’s to under 14’s and then that stopped.” When asked “What was that like, obviously with no female pathway at that stage. Playing against the boys did you notice any comments at the club, anyone annoyed or things like that or were they pretty supportive?” Patrikios responded “Nah, they were pretty supportive, the boys got around me, if anything happened they would support me obviously, they would back me so everyone was pretty supportive about it.”
In the ‘Canons Uncovered’ podcast Georgia was asked “Are there any other sports that you have played or was it always just footy?” Patrikios responded “I used to do basketball for four or five years during the same sort of time that I started footy and then obviously as my commitments with footy grew I sort of had to leave basketball behind and pursue a career in footy.” When asked “How much do you love the sport Patrikios replied “Yeah, it is pretty much everything to me, I love it.”
On the introduction of the AFLW and a pathway for young girls to play Australian Rules football Patrikios said “I just couldn’t believe it, like we were on camp watching the first ever game of Carlton and Collingwood that was at Ikon Park (on 3 February 2017) and I can just remember not just my face but everyone else’s when the first bounce went up, I got goosebumps, it Is just an unreal feeling to know now that we have a pathway. There is somewhere for us girls to actually show our skill at the highest level, so yeah it is unreal.”
In the ‘Canons Uncovered’ podcast Georgia’s mum Debi was asked “What is it like actually raising a daughter with that massive keen interest in footy. Like I said obviously it was a male dominated sport until the AFLW really kicked in. Was it tough, did you have to keep her grounded a little bit?” Debi responded “It was all pretty natural I think because she started at such a young age it sort of all flowed. I never really had a fear for her, the boys always looked after her and the coaches, they always said (the boys) and the coaches they always said Georgia just let the boys get in there, get the ball, get it out, pass it on and you run with it, so she was a little bit spoilt in that way and that’s how she still plays now.”
Junior career with the Calder Cannons
In March and April 2017 Partrikios at 16 years of age played for the Calder Cannons in the inaugural TAC Cup Girls competition for girls 15 to 18 years old, she played three seasons in the league which in 2019 was renamed the NAB League Girls competition.
The inaugural 2017 season consisted of five rounds and no finals, the competition was expanded to have nine rounds plus finals in 2018 and 2019. The Calder Cannons were one of two teams along with the Murray Bushrangers that won all five home and away games in 2017, due to having a superior percentage of 412% compared to the Bushrangers 232% the Cannons won the inaugural premiership in 2017.
Patrikios was named on the interchange in the 2017 TAC Cup Girls Team of The Year and three of her Cannons teammates were named in the starting 18 being joint league best and fairest winner Chloe Molloy – full forward, Madison Prespakis – ruck rover and Monique Conti – centre. Molloy and Conti were selected with picks 3 and 4 respectively at the 2017 AFLW Draft. Cannons head coach and AFLW player Alicia Eva was also named the coach of the year, Eva has played in the AFLW since its inception in 2017 and from 2020 onwards has been the captain of the GWS Giants. Two players that Patrikios looked up to as a junior were Eva in the women’s competition and Marc Murphy in the men’s competition.
Although a Carlton supporter Patrikios was an ambassador for Essendon’s 2017 bid for an AFLW team and had previous experience wearing a red and black jumper for Pascoe Vale. Patrikios was supportive of more teams being admitted to the AFLW which would provide greater opportunities for females to play Australian Rules at the elite level. As part of Essendon’s AFLW bid Patrikios was interviewed and took part in some photo shoots with Micaela Long (daughter of Michael).
During 2018 the Calder Cannons had two wins, seven losses and a percentage of 59.7% to finish 10th out of 12 teams. Midfielders Patrikios and Prespakis were the Cannons standout players and were both selected in the 2018 TAC Cup Girls Team of The Year, being named on the interchange and in the centre respectively. Prespakis was a joint winner of the league best and fairest along with Geelong Falcons midfielder Nina Morrison, the duo were also joint winners of the 2018 NAB AFLW Women’s under 18 Championships MVP Award. Morrison and Prespakis were selected with the first and third pick respectively in the 2018 AFLW Draft.
The Calder Cannons named Patrikios the captain of their 2019 NAB League Girls team however she was hampered at the start of the season by an ankle injury. On being named Cannons captain Patrikios told the ‘Canons Uncovered’ Podcast “It’s a real honour, I am really thankful for the opportunity I have been given to be a captain and it is just great to see all the girls bond, we all get along really well, there is no problems within the group, like everyone is happy to come to training, everyone is happy to see each other, we are just a tight-knit group which I think is really good and it helps us out on the field.”
During the 2019 NAB League Girls home and away season the Calder Cannons had six wins, three losses and a percentage of 187.3% to finish third on the ladder behind the Northern Knights who finished op top with eight wins a draw and the Geelong Falcons who finished second with eight wins and a loss.
In a 35 point preliminary final win against the Geelong Falcons at Shepley Oval Patrikios had 29 disposals and six inside 50’s to help the Cannons progress to the Grand Final. The Northern Knights kicked three unanswered goals in the first quarter of the Grand Final to gain the ascendency and went on to defeat the Cannons by 33 points. Patrikios was one of the best players on the ground with a game-high 24 disposals and six inside 50’s.
During the 2019 NAB League Girls season Patrikios played nine games for the Calder Cannons and averaged 18.3 kicks, 5.0 handballs, 3.0 marks, 5.1 tackles, 9.9 contested possessions, 13.7 uncontested possessions and 3.7 score involvements per game. In the 2019 NAB League Girls Team of the Year Patrikios was named in the centre and was joined in the team by two of her Cannons teammates in Georgie Prespakis (half-back) and Felicity Theodore (back pocket). Georgie Prespakis won the 2019 NAB League best and fairest with 20 votes a season after her older sister Madison had been a joint winner of the award.
Reflecting on her 2019 season with Calder Patrikios commented “I think I started a bit quiet, coming into the season I had an ankle injury that I wasn’t 100 per cent healed from. So I came in a bit behind the eight ball. From there, I worked into the season pretty well. We made finals and I played well in those finals. We just fell short at the end … That was a crazy experience, not just for myself, but the whole team. I’m very lucky to be there.”2
Representing Vic Metro at Under 18 National Championships
At the 2017 Under 18 National Championships Patrikios represented Vic Metro as a 16 year old, she went on to represent her state in three consecutive tournaments from 2017 to 2019. Patrikios improved each year and after being named in the extended All-Australian squad at the 2017 Under 18 Championships was selected in the All-Australian team in the next two years, being named on a wing in 2018 and in the midfield in 2019.
Three-time St Kilda best and fairest winner Nathan Burke coached Patrkios’ Vic Metro team at the Under 18 Championships in 2019, Vic Metro won all four games to win the National Championship and had a lowest winning margin of 17 points against Western Australia at Metricon Stadium.
The profile of Patrikios in AFLW Prospectus 2020 said “She represented Vic Metro at the 2019 Under 18-Championships, dominating the carnival as she won the tournament MVP and was selected All-Australian. She won the most disposals per game of any player and ranked inside the top-four for Champion Data ranking points, contested possessions, uncontested possessions, groundball gets and intercept possessions.”3 Patrikios was joined in the 2019 under 18 Championships All-Australian team by future St Kilda teammate Molly McDonald who was named in defense.
At the 2019 Under 18 National Championships Patrikios played four games for Vic Metro and averaged 13.0 kicks, 9.8 handballs, 2.8 marks, 4.5 tackles, 11.5 contested possessions, 11.5 uncontested possessions and 4.8 score involvements per game.
On representing Vic Metro at multiple Under 18 National Championships Patrikios commented to the AFLW ‘Credit to the Girls’ podcast “Playing Nationals is unreal, you get to play with all the best girls and against all the best girls in the country so that was pretty cool.”
On her experience representing Vic Metro at multiple Under 18 National Championships and being named the MVP for the 2019 tournament Patrikios commented to the AFLW website “I didn’t really expect it to be honest. I was just sitting there looking around at the girls that I thought it was going to be and then I heard my name. I’m really honoured. To see girls like Maddie and Nina who won it the year before and then seeing where they’ve ended up, it’s pretty crazy to think that I’ve won that medal now, too. My confidence was a lot higher this year, compared to the last few years. Being a top-ager, just tried to set an example for the younger girls and just be a good role model for them, playing the best that I could for the team.”4
As a member of the AFLW Academy Patrikios trained at a couple of AFLW clubs, North Melbourne and Collingwood which was a valuable experience and enabled her to be better prepared for when she joined an AFLW club in the future.
Late in the 2019 season Patrikios was able to play some VFLW football with Essendon and had no issues adjusting to the higher standard, being named in Essendon’s best players in all four games she played for the club, averaging 19 disposals and five tackles per game.
2020 AFLW season with St Kilda
On her feelings and the support she received in the lead up to the 2019 AFLW Draft Patrikios commented “There’s a bit of everything, a bit of nerves, a bit of excitement. I just try not to read into it too much. I’ve sort of done all I can now for the draft, and the Combine was just doing my best and that’s all I can really do. But I’m not stressed too much, I try to limit how much I think about it and just get on with day-to-day life. I have Maddy Prespakis, who has gone through it all so she’s someone who I can rely on to talk me through it or give me advice. And then I have my brother and he’s real cool, calm and collected, so he puts things in perspective for me and he’s always there if I need a chat. Mum and Dad, they’re always there, too.”5
Due to the part-time nature of the AFLW the league has a region based draft where players are able to nominate which region (usually a state) they want to play in. After Geelong joined the AFLW in 2019 players that wanted to play in Victoria had three options, to nominate Melbourne Metro (all Victorian clubs except Geelong), Geelong (Geelong only) or Victoria.
The common consensus was that Patrikios was a member of a clear-cut top three Victorian players eligible for the 2019 AFLW draft along with Geelong Falcons captain Lucy McEvoy and Northern Knights captain Gabby Newton. McEvoy nominated the Vic Metro region for non-football reasons as she wanted to attend University in Melbourne and thought that it would be easier to be playing football and studying in the same region.
The Western Bulldogs selected Newton with pick 1 and Carlton choose McEvoy with pick 2. St Kilda had selection 5 which was the third selection in the Victorian metro region and were delighted to pick Georgia Patrikios. At time of being drafted Patrikios was 18 years old and 170 centimetres tall. On the 26 February 2020 edition of Channel 9 TV show ‘Women’s Footy’ St Kilda AFLW coach Peta Searle commented “We were ecstatic to pick her (Patrikios) up at draft pick number five, I mean given what we needed in our club if we had number one I would have been picking her so it was a bonus for us.”
St Kilda were major beneficiaries of Geelong Falcons product McEvoy nominating the Vic Metro region as if McEvoy had nominated the Geelong region Geelong would have selected her later in the draft and Patrikios would have been recruited by the team she barracked for Carlton at pick 2. With pick 5 St Kilda would have then selected whoever they judged to be the fourth best Victorian player which would have been a far more difficult assignment than the straight-forward task of choosing Patrikios with pick 5.
After commencing with eight teams in 2017 the AFLW expanded to 10 teams in 2019 with the new entrants being North Melbourne and Geelong. There was further expansion in 2020 with another four teams in St Kilda, Richmond, Gold Coast and West Coast joining the AFLW, making it a 14 club competition.
During 2018 and 2019 in the VFLW the Southern Saints built a game-plan and familiarity amongst the playing group that could be implemented by head coach Peta Searle for the club’s inaugural AFLW season in 2020. St Kilda’s 30 player list for the 2020 season included 15 players with previous AFLW experience, many of the players in this category represented the Southern Saints in the VFLW during 2019 whilst another seven players without AFLW experience including Caitlin Greiser and Olivia Vesely were recruited from the Southern Saints.
At the 2019 draft St Kilda recruited three teenagers – Patrikios, Nicola Xenos (pick 27) and Tarni White (30) along with a trio of experienced players – Rosie Dillon (24), Tamara Luke (33) and Hannah Priest (41). St Kilda’s highest profile recruits from other AFLW clubs were Brisbane Lions duo, forward Kate McCarthy and midfielder Nat Exon. Only seven players on the Saints 2020 list had more than seven games AFLW experience – McCarthy (23 games), Cat Phillips (20), Exon (19), Tilly Lucas-Rodd (18), Jessica Sedunary (15), Melissa Kuys (15) and Kate Shierlaw (10). St Kilda appointed three co-captains, ruck Rhi Watt, midfielder Phillips and key forward Shierlaw. Entering the 2020 season St Kilda were considered to have an even well-balanced list across the field and would be well placed to improve in the next 2-3 seasons.
Patrikios was one of 11 Saints players that made their AFLW debut in the club’s first ever game on Sunday 9 February at RSEA Park in Moorabbin against the Western Bulldogs who were coached by Nathan Burke. Georgia wore number 21 for the Saints, the same number that she wore late in her junior career. About 50 of Georgia’s family and friends attended her debut AFLW game and congregated on the outer wing. At 18 years and 316 days of age Patrikios was St Kilda’s second youngest player, being 35 days older than Molly McDonald. St Kilda’s two youngest players combined for St Kilda’s first ever goal in the AFLW with Patrikios providing the assist, kicking the ball to McDonald who took the mark, played on and kicked a left foot goal on the run from 25 metres out. The Western Bulldogs controlled most of the first term to lead by 19 points at quarter-time and defeated the Saints by 25 points. Patrikios had a game-high 18 disposals comprised of a team-high 14 kicks and four handballs, was composed throughout the game, read the play well, showed great evasiveness, laid five tackles and was one of the two Round 1 Rising Star nominees along with Carlton’s number 2 pick Lucy McEvoy.
In a pre-game interview with television broadcaster Fox Footy before the Round 3 game against Melbourne at RSEA Park Kath Loughnan asked “Well Georgia, you have played only two AFLW games but look like you played 22, how have you assessed your start to the season?” Patrikios responded “Yeah, I think It has been all right, I think I have just gone with the game, tried to adapt as well as I can and trying to make an impact for my team.” Loughnan followed up with “18 touches in Round 1 and 2, how are you finding it so easy to get your hands on the ball?” Patrikios replied “I am not finding it easy at all but thanks to my teammates, obviously they set me up, so a big thanks to them.”
St Kilda were heavy underdogs for their Round 3 Friday night game against Melbourne who were one of the premiership favourites. In a tight contest St Kilda full-forward Caitlin Gresier took a one-handed mark and showed tremendous composure, power and skill to kick a set-shot goal from just outside 50 metres to give St Kilda a five point lead with eight minutes and 40 seconds remaining in the game. In the last quarter Patrikios was influential with her ability to read the play, side-step and use the ball well, she finished the game with an equal team-high 10 kicks, five handballs, and laid four tackles. St Kilda recorded their first ever AFLW victory in front of a passionate crowd at RSEA Park, kicking three goals, one behind to record a five point victory against an inaccurate Melbourne who kicked one goal and eight behinds.
On the 26 February 2020 edition of Channel 9 TV Show ‘Women’s Footy’ St Kilda coach Peta Searle commented on Patrikios’ performance in the win against Melbourne “Her last five minutes was really crucial, look just this little smart kick here just to waste a bit of a time, yeah she is a very smart footballer.”
Later in the ‘Women’s Footy’ episode Western Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn commented on Patrikios to Searle “She can slow the game down, she is almost like Scott Pendlebury playing. I don’t know what your instructions have been to her to play but it is almost as if she is just playing off natural instinct and doing what she feels is right out there.” Searle responded “Our instructions is pretty similar, we do a lot of education during the week and then game day just go and have fun and bring your strengths and we’ll back that every day, with all of our players, yeah just take the structure out of it and enjoy it.”
Between Round 3 and Round 4 Patrikios was a guest on the AFLW podcast ‘Credit to the Girls’ and spoke about St Kilda’s victory against Melbourne, saying “It was an unreal feeling, all the girls were so happy at the end of the day and it was good to get our first win and especially being at Moorabbin it made it even more special, we all loved it and had such a great time and so happy for all the girls, just to see everybody’s hard work pay off was pretty special.”
In the ‘Credit to the Girls’ podcast episode Patrikios spoke about playing St Kilda home games at Moorabbin, saying “Just when you are out there it is unreal, the noise, everyone is so loud, the supporters come in numbers, even at the end of the game when we run around and high-five the boys and girls in the crowd and sign stuff it is just an unreal feeling. Our supporters have been amazing and I have loved playing there in front of them as well.”
On ‘Credit to the Girls’ co-host Sarah Black asked “You played a handful of VFLW games last year for the Bombers after your under 18 commitments had finished. How have you found the adjustment up to AFLW, like that is another level all together?” Patrikios responded “VFL set me up a little bit but it is definitely nothing compared to what AFLW is because the games a lot quicker and it is more physical and you have a lot less time with the footy. VFL did help leading into AFLW, it is a step up from nationals (under 18’s), it couldn’t really prepare you for AFLW and yeah I have loved every second so it has held me in good stead.” Black followed up by asking “It is interesting you say that you have a lot less time with the footy because one thing that has shown over the last few weeks I think to people that haven’t seen you play before is how much time you do appear to have with the footy, you sort of glide out of packs, how has that skill developed do you reckon?” Patrikios responded “I think just coming through the pathway with the boys helped me a little bit and getting used to the girls game is a bit different so playing with the boys definitely helped me a bit with that and just playing the game for a long time from when I was younger also helped me read the game a bit better and has helped me have a bit more time and space I think.”
In Round 4 St Kilda fell narrowly short of recording back to back AFLW wins, losing by a point to Fremantle at RSEA Park after leading by seven points at three quarter-time. Against Carlton in Round 5 at Ikon Park the Saints were competitive for most of the game, however conceding three unanswered goals in the third quarter proved to be decisive in the 21 point loss. That quarter was the only time that St Kilda’s opponent outscored them by two or more goals in a quarter from Round 3 to Round 6 which was a massive improvement after being outscored by three goals in a quarter twice in the first two rounds – the first quarter against the Western Bulldogs in Round 1 and the last quarter in Round 2 against the Adelaide Crows.
During Round 6 St Kilda played fellow Victorian expansion club Richmond at Moorabbin, however due to the corona virus fans weren’t allowed to attend the game. St Kilda registered their highest score of the season, six goals, six behinds, and became the first side in AFLW history to keep an opponent goalless for an entire game, restricting Richmond to just three behinds to record a 39 point victory. Midfielder Patrikios was again in the Saints best players, having 11 kicks, three handballs, two marks and two tackles.
As a result of the corona virus and the impact it was having on society including restrictions on inter-state travel the last two rounds of the AFLW home and away season were abandoned so St Kilda didn’t get to play their scheduled Round 7 and Round 8 away games against Collingwood and fellow expansion club West Coast. St Kilda finished fifth out of seven teams in Conference B with two wins, four losses and a percentage of 90.6%, two wins behind Melbourne and Collingwood in third and fourth position respectively and one win ahead of the Western Bulldogs and West Coast in sixth and seventh position. In the abbreviated six Round season St Kilda had three Rising Star nominations, Patrikios, Greiser and Vesely which was the equal most nominations received by a club along with Carlton.
In 2020 Patrikios played all six AFLW games for St Kilda and averaged 10.8 kicks, 4.8 handballs, 1.8 marks, 2.7 inside 50’s and 3.3 tackles per game. Patrikios led the Saints for disposals, kicks, clearances and metres gained, ranked sixth for tackles and eighth for handballs. Patrikios was very consistent throughout 2020, having a season high 18 disposals three times – Round 1 against the Western Bulldogs, Round 2 against Adelaide and Round 5 against Carlton, and was only held to less than 14 disposals once, having 11 disposals against Fremantle in Round 4.
Patrikios polled seven votes at the 2020 AFLW league best and fairest to finish equal seventh overall and rank first at St Kilda. Patrikios polled league best and fairest votes in four of her six games and e was the first player to poll an AFLW vote and be best afield for the Saints, polling one vote in Round 1 against the Western Bulldogs and three votes in the Round 3 win against Melbourne. Patrikios was the only first year player to finish in the top 10 of the league best and fairest and was one of three players from the Calder Cannons 2017 under 18’s team to finish in the top 10 with Monique Conti also polling seven votes to finish equal seventh with Patrikios and Madison Prespakis polled 15 votes to win the award by three votes.
The judges for the 2020 AFLW Rising Star Award didn’t rate Patrikios’ season as highly as the umpires did and she finished equal third in the Rising Star Award with Gold Coast forward Kalinda Howarth on 24 votes. Western Bulldogs defender Isabel Huntington won the Rising Star Award with 33 votes, ahead of Patrikios’ St Kilda teammate Caitlin Greiser (30 votes) who was the leagues leading goalkicker with 10 goals.
An article was published on Greiser on the Milestones and Misses website in April 2020 to celebrate her being the AFLW’s leading goalkicker in 2020. A link to the Greiser article is below:
In her debut AFLW season Patrikios was named in the initial 40 player All-Australian squad but wasn’t named in the final 22 player team. The only other Saint in the squad Greiser was named in the forward line of the All-Australian team.
Patrikios was a convincing winner of the AFLW Players’ Association’s Best First-Year Player Award, polling 173 votes to finish ahead of Carlton’s Grace Egan (89 votes) and Brisbane’s Catherine Svarc (26). On her 2020 AFLW season with St Kilda Patrikios commented “The belief and faith from (Saints coach) Peta (Searle) to put me on the ball as much as possible and give me that exposure to the best in the competition helped me grow at a quicker rate. As each game went I got a bit more confident with not only how I play but with my teammates. We bonded really well. As a new team coming in a lot of us girls came from different states and different clubs. To come together like we did and win against Melbourne was pretty special. We had a really tight-knit group so that’s one of the reasons we started performing.”6
In the inaugural AFLW 22Under22 team Patrikios was named on a wing and was joined in the team by St Kilda team-mate Greiser who was named in the forward line. Two of Georgia’s former Cannons teammates had leadership roles with Molloy named captain and Prespakis vice captain.
St Kilda’s 2020 AFLW best and fairest was postponed until late August and was held virtually over Zoom due to social distancing measures in place as a result of COVID-19. Partrikios polled votes in all six games to amass a total of 37 votes and be one of four joint-winners of St Kilda’s first ever AFLW best and fairest along with full-forward Caitlin Greiser and midfielders Olivia Vesely and Rosie Dillon. Amazingly all four players were in their debut AFLW season and three of the four winners were under 21 years of age at the start of the season. Four of St Kilda’s selections at the 2019 AFLW draft finished in the top 10 of the club’s best and fairest with the Saints first two selections – Patrikios and 24 year-old Dillion joined in this category by Hannah Priest and Nicola Xenos who finished equal seventh and 10th respectively.
2021 and beyond in the AFLW with St Kilda
On 20 August 2020 the St Kilda Football Club announced that two of their young stars Patrikios and Greiser had each signed two-year contract extensions with the club. St Kilda’s Head of Women’s Football Jamie Cox commented “It’s a great sign for the Club to have Caitlin and Georgia recommit to the Saints for another two years. They demonstrated that they are both young players of immense talent and potential, and having them re-sign with the red, white and black is important for what we are trying to build at the Saints. From the six games they each played in their debut season, it’s evident how much pleasure and joy they bring to footy fans. Like all of our girls, we are proud to have them in our colours and excited to see what comes next.”7
In 30 degree heat on 19 November the Saints AFLW team ran a two kilometre time-trial and Patrikios was one of the big improvers from the previous year. On the work she had put in during the off-season and her improvement 19 year-old Patrikios commented to saints.com.au “One of my main goals was definitely to improve on my running. Seeing we had a lot of time away from the club, it was the perfect opportunity to be able to get myself as fit as possible. I felt towards the end of last season I was getting really tired throughout games, but hopefully this year with the amount of running I’ve done it’ll become a lot easier. Last year I came in and wanted to prove myself to everyone, but this year I just tried my best, so I was in a completely different headspace and had a different train of thought as to what I did last year. The conditions were obviously very difficult last Thursday, but to get 45 seconds (off last year’s time) was huge for me.”8
In preparation for the 2021 AFLW season St Kilda played two practice matches, one in December 2020 and one in January 2021. The Saints were narrowly defeated by Carlton in a practice match at Ikon Park on Saturday, January 16, being defeated by two points after being 10 points in front at three quarter time. Playing in the midfield Patrikios was one of the Saints best players.
For the second year in a row St Kilda commence their 2021 AFLW season with a home game against the Western Bulldogs, playing at RSEA Park on Friday 29 January. The home and away season is scheduled to be nine rounds, with St Kilda playing four home games at RSEA Park, another three games in Metropolitan Melbourne and have two interstate trips.
The Saints have a leadership group of six players in 2021 with a new addition to the group defender Hannah Priest being one of four co-captains along with 2020 co-captains Watt, Phillips and Shierlaw. The six player leadership group is completed by two vice captains, defender Tilly Lucas-Rodd and forward Kate McCarthy.
In each of their first five games of the 2020 AFLW season St Kilda played sides in their fourth AFLW season, yet belying their lack of experience they were able to match it with their opponents for the most part and Saints players including first year players like Patrikios relished the opportunity to play to their strengths and take the game on.
Georgia Patrikios started playing Australian Rules Football to follow what her older brother Perry was doing and wanted girls to have a pathway where they could show their skill at the highest level. In her debut AFLW season with the St Kilda Football Club in 2020 Patrikos well and truly made the most of this opportunity and with her ability to win the ball on the inside and outside, create time and space, use her speed, remain composed and use the ball well Patrikios was rewarded with being a joint winner of St Kilda’s inaugural AFLW best and fairest and winning the AFLW Players’ Association Best First-Year Player Award. Patrikos also played a significant role in several St Kilda milestones in 2020 including the club’s first ever victory against Melbourne and provided the assist for the club’s first ever AFLW goal. It is going to be captivating viewing as classy midfielder Georgia Patrikios achieves more individual accolades and features prominently in St Kilda milestones in the years ahead.
By Dean Andrews
Twitter – @DeanAndrews7777
3 Champion Data, AFLW Prospectus – the essential number-cruncher for season 2020, 3rd Edition, page 153
Milestones and Misses
Milestones and Misses publishes articles to celebrate the achievements of sportspeople, mainly in Australian Rules Football (AFL and AFLW) and the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). In sport as with life in general it is common that milestones are only achieved after overcoming adversity, so whilst the articles on the Milestones and Misses website celebrate sportspeople achieving milestones they also cover the misses along the journey, such as a player playing minimal game-time or spending a prolonged period on the sidelines due to injury. The aim of the articles is to enable readers to gain a greater appreciation of the journey the sportspeople have had during their career.
Links to the Milestones and Misses homepage and the St Kilda category are provided below: