SUNS Media: What’s the first word that comes to mind to describe your debut?
Bess Keaney: The thrill. It was a real thrill to get to play with everyone.
SM: What did you think was the best goal or moment from the day?
BK: I loved Perko’s (Sarah Perkins) goal on the quarter-time siren. I think coming up with Perko from Melbourne and watching her journey and how hard she’s worked and then to see her get her first goal in SUNS colours, I thought that was a really special moment.
SM: Who was the most impressive fellow debutant and why?
BK: I love how Daisy D’Arcy played, she brought exactly what she’s brought all pre-season and on the training track, which is just the composure of someone who’s played 100 more games of AFLW and none of that changed when she slotted into AFLW level, she just brought it again. She was playing on opponents much older than her, much taller than her, much more experienced but she just plays her way and that’s really impressive
SM: Who do you think was best on ground?
BK: There’s a lot of contenders. I loved the way Hannah Dunn competed all day, she mightn’t have made the highlights reel for the touches she had but she did everything off the ball, laid the tackles that were so important, gave the second efforts that I think just really held us together. People showed their flair around her which was exciting.
SM: What was the biggest change from VFLW?
BK: Having the support of the club around you means the girls have got the technology, the coaching expertise and the drive to get better from training.
SM: What’s one thing from the game that surprised you?
BK: There was more room on the ground than what I’m used to, I’ve only ever played 18-a-side which is what the competition has been in Melbourne until now so it was much more open and a running kind of game which I think suits me well and suits our team’s style well, so that surprised me, that once the ball was out in space it was open to be won and there were less stoppages than what I’m used to.
SM: What is your best footy achievement in your career so far.
BK: Absolutely running out on Metricon on Saturday, hands down. And before that it was getting drafted by the SUNS. Running out to the crowd of really passionate supporters and being with the girls for the first time and wearing the jumper was a thrill.
SM: A couple of non-footy questions now, do you have any nicknames?
BK: Not really, Lauren Ahrens having been here before me, she called me ‘Besso’ and now that seems to be what everyone else calls me now. She got the jump on that but ‘Bess’ is pretty short anyway.
SM: Where did your friendship with Lauren Ahrens start prior to Gold Coast?
BK: We've played a bit of footy together in Melbourne, we played at Melbourne Uni together and spent a bit of time at Southern Saints. Really I've sort of followed her wherever she goes, she's a good footy ally for me and has been a really good advocate to help me continue to grow.
SM: What’s your favourite hobby you’ve picked up since you’ve been on the Gold Coast?
BK: Just going to the beach, it’s the best. We live really close to the beach now so we just wander down there before or after work, have a splash. It’s a really nice way to unwind and switch off. We definitely didn’t have that in Melbourne.
SM: What do you do for work outside of AFLW?
BK: I work in communications at the Melbourne Cricket Club, they’ve been a huge support. We worked remotely over the COVID shutdown and they’ve been really generous in allowing me to work remotely during the AFLW season. I do a lot of the digital side of comms, like websites and email campaigns.
SM: What’s the biggest change in life since moving to the Gold Coast?
BK: I don’t think I’ve worn a jumper in months and when I went back to Melbourne over Christmas I forgot to pack one which I realised was a big mistake straight away. It’s also a really active lifestyle up here, not just because I’m hanging around the girls from footy but even outside the club people really live their life outdoors.