In the space of 24 hours, Gold Coast SUNS AFLW signing Sally Riley went from teaching in Adelaide to meeting her new teammates on the Gold Coast.
She set herself the goal of remembering 20 names on her first day and with her outgoing and approachable personality, it’s a good bet she’s already remembered every single one.
“I said to the girls you only walk in the club once for the first time and the reception that we’ve got has been fantastic,” Riley said.
“I’m super impressed with what I see and the feel around the club.
“To be honest it’s been a whirlwind last month or so, but once I made the decision to come up here and play it’s been all systems go.”
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Riley was thrust straight into her first training session with the SUNS’ QW Winter Series team and will play in Round 1 on Saturday.
She said the playing group was buzzing ahead of its first competitive match against the Brisbane Lions, but admitted some nerves had crept in.
“To be honest I was a bit nervous coming here,” she said.
“You do want to make a good first impression and I guess those nerves are because we want to do well.
“So they’re good nerves, we’re not just here for a holiday unfortunately but yeah really excited to get into it on Saturday.”
Riley comes to the SUNS after spending three seasons with the Adelaide Crows where she served as the club’s joint vice-captain.
The 28-year-old has obvious leadership skills and says she hopes some of that will rub off on the playing group.
“I think I’m a bit lucky in that way that I’ve naturally got those characteristics that I can bring with me,” Riley said.
“Whether I’ve got a title or not, it’s just something that’s a big part of me and one of my strengths.
“Absolutely I’ll be setting those standards and buying into the culture that’s for sure.”
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The women’s side will play as a curtain raiser to the men’s game at 4:45pm on Saturday at Metricon Stadium.
It won’t be the first time Riley has stepped foot onto the Metricon Stadium main deck.
She played in Adelaide’s 2017 AFLW Premiership on the Gold Coast and has fond memories of the ground.
“I like this place a bit, coming in here actually I had a bit of Déjà vu,” Riley joked.
“Missing out on the Grand Final this year as well I think in a way that’s going to help me more in my future playing career and beyond that.
“Absolutely I’ll draw on those experiences and hopefully it can make us stronger.”