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Keep an eye on Kelly

Emerging key position talent Poppy Kelly is making her presence felt. - St Kilda Saints
Emerging key position talent Poppy Kelly is making her presence felt.
It’s starting to feel like I belong here.
Poppy Kelly

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It’s funny what can happen when you just gives things a go.

Two years ago Poppy Kelly was running around the basketball court, and didn’t even plan on playing football until one of her friends put forward the idea.  

“I wasn’t doing much at the time and Beaumaris needed players,” Kelly told saints.com.au.

“A friend of mine was playing with Beaumaris and convinced me to come down and try it out.” 

Kelly spent two seasons at the Sharks, quickly emerging as an integral part of the team with her athleticism in the ruck.

Playing footy was like basketball before it, more about fun than anything else.

But those games at Beaumaris, where Kelly found herself starting to have a greater say on the match, ignited a passion she thought she never had.

The next step – the Southern Saints trial day.

“I just thought I’d give it a shot and see what would happen,” she said.

“I then got in touch with the Southern Saints through the trail day and I got a call a few days later saying I was through to the training squad.

“I was very nervous in particular about my kicking but it has improved.”

What Kelly lacks in precision skills, she makes up for in other ways. 

“Even coming from a basketball background I really enjoy the physical side of things,” she said.

“I have two older brothers and they played a bit of rugby so I guess that’s where the physical side comes from.”

With a string of strong performances in the VFLW so far, Kelly admits it took a while to find her groove on the field.

“It’s starting to feel like I belong here,” she said. 

“It’s only recently that I feel more comfortable with the standard that we play. 

“The experienced girls in the squad have been great and I badger them with a lot of questions.

“I have also been working with Peta (Searle) on my movements around the stoppages and with ruck coach Anna Schwagger with my technique.”

It may be early days in her career but Kelly has an eye to make it to the AFLW. 

“Yeah I definitely do eventually want to make it to the AFLW,” she said.

“It’s so crazy to think how quickly it’s moved already, and it would be unreal to think if I could go that far.

“When I joined the saints I thought originally wondered if the commitment would be a bit much, but now I couldn’t imagine not coming to training and I am just super excited to be here.”