Jane Bunn is in living rooms all over Melbourne as part of Channel Seven's nightly news coverage, however Georgia Patrikios has a far closer connection to the talented presenter (and Saints fan to boot) than most.
Patrikios and Bunn were paired up prior to this season just gone as part of the club's AFLW Mentor Program; an initiative established early in the side’s formation which sees industry leaders mentor and encourage players to develop and learn from both a professional and personal standpoint.
Since then, the duo have thrived and loved every moment of it. Patrikios' ability to find balance between all elements of her life - and not just football - has played a major hand in steering her towards another podium finish at the club's recent Best & Fairest night, while Jane has also learned and enjoyed plenty from her young mentee.
"Georgia fascinates me each time I watch her play or catch up during the week. There are a few things we have covered that I thought would only be relevant to the world of footy, but she has talked about it in a different light – making me wonder how I can apply it to myself!" Bunn told saints.com.au.
"Watch this space as I think Georgia will be a big part of women’s football in the years to come, both on and off the field. It is my absolute pleasure to help her just a little bit with this part of her journey."
Georgia, How would describe Jane both as a person as a mentor figure?
GP: Jane is such a warm hearted person with a bubbly and infectious personality. She is very passionate about her career and is extremely driven to excel in her field. Jane’s exceptional guidance has played a pivotal role in shaping my personal and professional career.
She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in achieving goals and success, which she has openly shared with me. She has created a safe and welcoming environment for me to continuously learn and grow and has a genuine investment in my journey and continually provides her support.
The first time I met Jane was at our photo day this year. Initially I felt a little awestruck and nervous, but her friendly and easygoing personality instantly calmed my nerves. Our relationship has grown and developed, as we are now more comfortable sharing our own personal life stories and experiences.
Jane, what is the best way you’d sum up your relationship Georgia?
JB: We only met a few months ago but already I’ve seen what a wonderful character she is – bubbly, excited about footy and life, and wanting to make the most of the exciting trajectory she is on. It’s so nice to watch her play the game and ride the rollercoaster of emotions with her – and see how beautifully she interacts with other team mates and coaches, and the opposition too!
Georgia and I love having a chat, and catching up on what’s happened in the last month. Some of the best bits is when she recounts stories of funny things that have happened at the club or at home and we laugh so much our cheeks hurt.
What have you built your Mentor/Mentee relationship with Georgia around?
JB: I’m not very good at kicking a footy or trying to tackle someone without squealing! So I try and help her off the footy ground.
That said, there are a lot of things that happen when you are playing footy that we can talk through and try to come up with ways of thinking about it in a more productive way, or solving niggly feelings before they become big problems. It’s also really interesting to take a peek inside the mind of a professional athlete and see how they tackle things that can be very different from my own experiences.
I think my favourite piece of advice was around managing all the different elements of her life and making sure she doesn’t get too overwhelmed or burnt out. The seasons are short, but incredibly packed with activities, emotions, problems and wins, and it can be easy to stress over all of that – but I think Georgia has reached the end of this season on a high and demonstrated what an excellent asset she is to the team.
What’s the most important lesson/piece of advice Jane has given you during your time at the Saints?
GP: The most important advice that Jane has given me is the importance of consistently cultivating and balancing both my on-field and off-field career.
Throughout our mentorship, we've engaged in numerous conversations about my profession as an athlete but also my aspirations beyond my football career. She has played a pivotal role in helping me navigate my future outside of playing football.
How do you feel you’ve grown as a person under Jane’s guidance?
GP: Prior to having Jane as my mentor, my primary focus was my on on-field performance and becoming a better player. However, under Jane's mentorship, my perspective has broadened, and I now approach my development with a more holistic view. Jane has played a key role in helping me find a healthy balance between on-field and off-field growth.
Jane has also significantly contributed to my psychological and professional growth. She created a safe and encouraging space where I felt comfortable sharing all of my thoughts and aspirations. Thanks to Jane's support, she has empowered me to set clearer objectives and goals with confidence.
What have you learned from Georgia?
JB: Georgia fascinates me each time I watch her play or catch up during the week. There are a few things we have covered that I thought would only be relevant to the world of footy, but she has talked about it in a different light – making me wonder how I can apply it to myself!
What do you think is Jane’s best trait/characteristic?
GP: One of Jane’s most notable characteristics is her remarkable ability to create a sense of comfort whilst in her presence. Her warm and friendly demeanour along with her radiant energy and attentive listening put me at ease.
What makes you most proud to be a mentor to Georgia?
JB: Watch this space as I think Georgia will be a big part of women’s football in the years to come, both on and off the field. It is my absolute pleasure to help her just a little bit with this part of her journey.