Code-swapper Jenna McCormick secured a trifecta of titles after being part of the Crows’ history-making AFLW premiership.
Also a professional soccer player, McCormick won a championship with Icelandic team Stjarnan last October.
Upon her return to Australia, the 22-year-old also helped secure the Premier’s Plate for Canberra United, who finished top of the W-League table before narrowly going down in the final.
McCormick, who is originally from Mount Gambier in South Australia, said the Crows’ Grand Final win on the Gold Coast was the highlight of her sporting career.
“Saturday was the biggest game of my life, for sure,” she said.
“It was just 10 times more special because I’m in Australia, I’ve got all my friends and family here and every Australian is so passionate about footy, so it just meant that much more to me.
“For me, I actually never win anything, so to get three in one year is massive.”
McCormick was grateful for the goodwill and understanding displayed by Canberra United and also the Crows, who allowed her to miss the opening game of the AFLW season to play in the W-League Grand Final.
Her Canberra and Stjarnan teammates kept close tabs on her progress.
“Canberra has been right behind me, which was awesome just to have them watching,” she said.
“I’ve had a lot of support from everyone, even people all the way over the other side of the world in Iceland congratulating me.”
McCormick has juggled Australian Football and soccer for most of her life.
The Crows forward played for local club Morphettville Park and was also a part of the Brisbane Lions’ Football Academy. In between, she took out the award as Lady Reds player of the year in the W-League.
The well-travelled McCormick plans to enjoy the Crows’ success with teammates, family and friends in Adelaide before deciding what comes next in her sporting career. She hopes that continues to include both football codes.
“Soccer’s brought me so many wonderful memories and introduced me to so many people across the globe,” she said.
“That’s why it’s so hard for me to choose between the two sports, because both have given me so much."
McCormick was Adelaide’s third pick in the AFL Women’s Draft.
The dual-sports athlete made her AFLW debut against the Western Bulldogs in Round Two. She made an immediate impression, kicking one of the goals of the year with a clever, reflex snap across her body at Whitten Oval.
McCormick was full of praise for the fledgling competition.
“This League has just done everything right from the very beginning,” she said.
“Everything from the way that they marketed it, to the structure, to the rules decisions they made. I’ve loved the experience.
“The Crows have been so great to me and the girls – they’ve treated us like full-time athletes although we were really only there after hours.
“I don’t ever want to give up that life.”
McCormick’s mum Lisa is also an avid AFLW fan.
“The marketing and media strategies that were put in place to promote these girls meant that, by the time the Grand Final came, the general population knew about them and already had an emotional investment,” Lisa said.
“That means it wasn’t just a game – there were people, there were personalities, there were stories and it was historical.”
A Primary School teacher, Lisa recently asked her students to list inspirational leaders they would like to have to dinner with.
It warmed her heart that Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall were listed alongside the likes of Mother Teresa and Michelle Obama.
“Young people in our community now have somebody that’s real and contemporary to aspire to be like, and that’s amazing,” she said.
Jenna also had a touching moment with a young fan at Adelaide Oval last Sunday.
“We were lining up ready to go out for the lap of honour and the Auskick kids were getting ready to go out and play their footy at halftime,” she said.
“We were chatting to the girls and I leaned over and said, ‘Here, hold this for a second’. A little girl grabbed my premiership medal and stood there with it for a good five minutes.
“It gives me goosebumps thinking about what that moment might have meant to her and maybe, she was looking at it going, ‘I really want one of these one day’.”
In a week of surreal experiences, McCormick said being honoured before and at half-time of Adelaide’s AFL season-opener against Greater Western Sydney was one of the highlights.
“To have 44,000 people cheering for you, saying ‘Well done’, clapping and looking you in the eye with the biggest smile on their faces that you’ve done this for their club … that was very, very special.”