If you only had one guess as to which parent nudged Alice Burke down the AFLW pathway, her father Nathan Burke would be the short-priced favourite.
St Kilda romantics and general lovers of the game, however, have Alice’s mum Fiona to thank for continuing the Burke legacy in red, white and black – and in the No. 3 no less.
Despite her football lineage, Burke only picked up the Sherrin – after a subtle push from mum – in later years having represented both Victoria and Australia in soccer for almost a decade.
“The round ball was a lot of my history,” Burke told the Sounds of the Saints podcast.
“At the time there weren’t many footy pathways, so it wasn’t really much of a debate. Dad has always been careful never to force us into anything, but mum, I think she knew there was more in there for footy.
“Mum started dropping the hints as I got older about ‘oh, girls are playing footy now, you could try that!’.
“She pushed me to play one game – I think I was a fill-in for a local Under-18s game – and straight away I was like ‘I love this’.”
Burke’s love of the sport continued to manifest with each passing game, with the team culture and camaraderie – a characteristic not as prevalent in the round ball – a driving force in her hanging up the cleats.
“One of my biggest memories was from one of my first games. I was playing in the backline and the opposition team came down and I tackled somebody, and then we turned it over and ended up getting a goal from that,” Burke said.
“The biggest shock to me was that the runner came up to me and said ‘well done, that goal started from your tackle’.
The No. 3 is more than a number to Alice Burke ❤️— St Kilda FCW (@stkildafcw) October 28, 2021
Listen to the full podcast with Alice wherever you get your podcasts, or through the link below.
LISTEN → https://t.co/71v0tKnBRn pic.twitter.com/BMlAgVlXDn
“What is this? I didn’t get the goal so why am I getting told good job? That was the start of it where I was thinking this is a completely different.
“The morals of footy fit me a lot as a person as well. One of the things I did get from my dad is his values in the game.
“It’s always about hard work. Even if you don’t have the ball or not in play, you still have to be doing everything you can.”