While her teammates relaxed on the Gold Coast or travelled home to see their families over Christmas, SUNS AFLW midfielder Hannah Dunn was at ground zero.
She flew back to her hometown of Canberra in the midst of the raging bushfires, one of Australia’s largest natural disasters in recent memory.
Just last year Dunn was playing her football for Queanbeyan, a suburb 30km away from the nearest blaze.
Speaking to SUNS Media, Dunn said it was confronting to see her hometown in crisis.
“A couple of my close family members have houses down where the fires were,” she said.
“Luckily enough their houses weren’t affected but obviously it impacts the community (in different ways).
“My local club back home has actually got together and put together some care packages (to help out).”
The smoke generated from the fires was so bad it saw Canberra record the worst air quality index reading in the world during the fires.
It meant Dunn, who is halfway through AFLW pre-season, was forced to re-evaluate her training program.
“It was good to have that time off,” she said.
“The smoke was pretty bad so I had to do some off-leg conditioning sessions.
“I think that actually helped me come back a bit more fresh.”
While it was tough to leave her hometown still reeling from the effects of the fires, Dunn knew she had to return to the Gold Coast to continue to pursue her AFLW goals.
And with Round 1 just a month away, the 28-year-old says everyone is raring to get started.
“We’re training more and we’ve got the resources here so I think my skills and overall fitness in general has skyrocketed,” she said.
“Hopefully I can get picked, obviously the aim is to get picked for every game.
“We’ll see how that pans out but I’m keen.”