Champion Kiwi Ironwoman Danielle McKenzie is determined to be the next sporting star to cross codes and join the growing AFLW.
McKenzie is the reigning New Zealand Ironwoman champion and took part in the Gold Coast Suns AFLW testing day last Saturday at Carrara Stadium ahead of the Suns inclusion into the competition in 2020.
“For me it’s about out there and seeing what it takes to become an AFLW player. I know that right now I probably don’t but whether it’s learning or if I can be taught the skills to become a footy player in 2020 I’d absolutely love that opportunity.”
The 23 year old has based over in the Gold Coast while she competes in Australia’s top level Surf lifesaving competition and currently sits in fifth place in the series.
In 2016, McKenzie became involved with AFL New Zealand and completed a placement with the organisation through her Sport and Recreation degree at AUT University. She spent time coaching AFL KiwiKick and was assistant coach of the victorious New Zealand Youth Girls side who were the first national AFL team to defeat a touring Australian side.
McKenzie also took part in the first ever AFL New Zealand Women’s combine in April 2017 where she won the Beep Test.
“I know how to kick a ball and know how to handball and I’m pretty fit.”
Ironmen and women are considered to be among the fittest athletes in the world and McKenzie has no doubt she has the aerobic capacity needed to play in the AFLW.
“You race against what I think are the best endurance athletes in the world and the girls are tough. All those strength, power and fitness components can cross over to another sport.”