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AFLW: Sea change for Palmer

Marc McGowan  November 5, 2017 9:38 AM

AFLW 2017 Rd 07 - Collingwood v Adelaide

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Bec Goddard, Senior Coach of the Crows and Erin Phillips of the Crows celebrate during the 2017 AFLW Round 07 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Adelaide Crows at Olympic Park Oval on March 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

The first conversation we had, I was still set for Tokyo 2020 and playing beach volleyball.

AFLW premiership coach Bec Goddard's persuasive skills are so powerful she talked her latest Olympic recruit out of trying to make the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The 2017 football woman of the year led Adelaide to the inaugural NAB AFL Women's flag, with dual Olympic basketballer Erin Phillips taking all before her.

Phillips was the competition’s best and fairest, won the player-voted MVP award, was best on ground in the Grand Final and even kicked goal of the year.

The Crows' newest Olympian, South Australian beach volleyballer Becchara Palmer, arrived at Friday's AFLW induction day in Melbourne knowing she had plenty to live up to.

"That's setting the bar pretty high. If I could do half as much as what Erin did last season, then I'd be pretty stoked," the 29-year-old said with a laugh.

"But I'm going in without any expectation, to be honest.

"That's probably how I work best, and I plan on working really hard. We have already been working really hard and will continue working really hard, and that's what's going to sail things through – and what will be, will be."

Palmer spent 13 years playing beach volleyball, and competed at the 2012 London Olympics and was a reserve at last year's Rio event.

She watched the first AFLW season with admiration, evoking memories of her own high school football days, including breaking ribs in her last match, more than a decade ago.

Palmer was still contemplating pushing on to the Tokyo Olympics when a conversation with Goddard convinced her that football was her sporting future.

And, remarkably, the prospect of running onto the field with Adelaide is even more daunting than preparing for her first Olympics five years ago, according to Palmer.

"I'd heard Bec was a pretty cool chick and I thought, 'All right, well, we'll have a conversation'," she said.

"But, in my mind, the first conversation we had, I was still set for Tokyo 2020 and playing beach volleyball.

"After talking to her, I think it made me realise how uncomfortable I was where I was and that maybe a change would be a really good thing."