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Hatchard embracing footy's physicality

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  December 6, 2016 1:23 PM

Anne Hatchard

Anne Hatchard

I love to bring the physicality out in football

Adelaide defender Anne Hatchard is channelling her aggression through two professional sports.

Hatchard, 18, isn't just part of the inaugural Crows' squad for the AFL Women's competition, but she's also playing for Adelaide Lightning in the Women's National Basketball League.

It was a junior basketball coach who, after seeing Hatchard harass, box out and get in the face of her opponents, suggested she give football a go.

"She said I was very physical in basketball and that I would be very good at football," Hatchard said.

"I like to hit people and put on tackles.

"I love to bring the physicality out in football."

After a couple of seasons playing footy for Ingle Farm, she moved to Morphettville Park and made the under-18 South Australian team.

Hatchard was named the team's most valuable player at the AFL Youth Girls’ National Championships in May.

Her efforts in the carnival caught the attention of the Crows, who selected the 176cm centre half-back with the 87th overall pick in the 2016 AFL Women's Draft.

A shooting guard with the Lightning, Hatchard admits it can be tough changing her mentality between the two sports.

"I try to control myself, but sometimes I will go for a rebound and push someone in the back and go, 'wrong sport'," she said.

"Then I'll know in my head not to do that again."

Hatchard was dux of Windsor Gardens Secondary College last year. Working at McDonald’s in what is a gap year, Hatchard plans to study criminology at Flinders University in 2017.

A huge basketball fan growing up, Hatchard was awestruck when she met Crows teammate – and Australian basketball star Erin Phillips – for the first time on Monday last week.

"I had a photo taken with her. I used to watch her when she played for the Lightning.

"I always wanted to play basketball with her and now I'll play football with her, which is so cool."

Hatchard is training twice a week with the Crows while also playing with the Lightning, who haven't won a game this season after their loss to Townsville last weekend.

They face the Dandenong Rangers on Friday night.

"The next few years there will come a point (where I have to choose between the two sports),” she said.

While football and basketball are hard to split, Hatchard has already made her choice when it comes to the Crows and crosstown rival, Port Adelaide.

"I love Port, but I'm going to learn to love the Crows more," she said.