Annabel Haffenden learning from the best at Brisbane Roar

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Brisbane Roar’s A-League Women squad features plenty of fresh faces heading into the 2021/22 season – none more so than Annabel Haffenden.

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The 19-year-old made the move from Victoria to Brisbane to sign her first pro contract with the Roar Women’s squad earlier in the year.

The young defender joins the Roar from Victorian National Premier League side Alamein FC.

“I’m just very grateful that Garreth [McPherson] has given me the opportunity to come up and play at the top level,” Haffenden said. 

Being an A-League Women’s debutant she is keen to learn from those around her at every opportunity.

 

“Having those experienced players around you like Katrina Gorry It’s such a bonus and there’s such a wealth of knowledge and experience there to be understood,” she said. 

Having Matildas stalwarts like Katrina Gorry to train with and learn from is something she can’t understate. 

“Just trying to learn off them everyday is only going to help me develop as a player, so it’s definitely super advantageous [for me] to be in and amongst those kinds of players,” she said. 

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Playing in defence she knows what her strengths are and who to look towards for guidance and improvement. 

“Being a defender you obviously need that physicality in your game. You’ve got to be able to have that real physical element and that’s still something that I’m working on,” she said. 

“Having those people around me like Jessie [Rasschaert], who is another centre-back in the team, she’s very athletic so just learning off her; little things like technique and presence on the pitch.” 

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She has had previous experience with A-League Women’s players having spent time in Melbourne City’s academy.

“I grew a lot previously in that league environment, in Melbourne, being around a lot of international players, they’ve played in lots of different leagues, and just learning off them and being able to adapt. I think that’s probably one of the main things that I learned just how adaptable you need to be,” she said.

Being in that environment and developing alongside so many international players has taught her how to adapt her own game.

“The international players having played in different leagues throughout the world and with different people all say you need to be able to adjust and that’s something that I’m trying to implement into my game playing different opponents and with new players,” she said.

She knows what her biggest strength is – her age.

“I’m still young so there’s always room for improvement, always ways to get fitter, stronger, those are things that, you know, I can improve on and definitely develop as I get older,” she said. 

Feature image credit: Paul Smith (Brisbane Roar FC)

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Bill Hedley
Journalism under graduate at the University of Queensland. I have been a die-hard football player and fan for the past 16 years and am now a passionate multimedia Journalist, covering Brisbane Roar for the 2021/22 A-League season.

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