AFLW star Georgia Gee poses with a fan after Essendon's first game

AFLW player Georgia Gee opens up about her trade to Essendon: ‘I wasn’t really enjoying football’ at Carlton

Essendon AFLW player Georgia Gee has told The W podcast that she “wasn’t really enjoying” football at Carlton before seeking a trade to the Bombers.

The 22-year-old, who played five seasons with the Blues, told hosts Sam Lane and Sharni Norder that the last two years had been especially tough.

“I felt like I was kind of plateauing in my performance,” Gee said. “I really wanted to grow as a player, and I felt like I wasn’t getting that at Carlton.

“I thought maybe a fresh start, a new environment, new teammates and coaches would help me do that.”

Pressed on what it was about the Carlton environment that made life difficult, Gee said it was “more about me individually”.

“I think just mentally I was a little bit drained,” she said.

“I always find that when I step outside of my comfort zone, I can get the best out of myself and I felt that I was too comfortable.

“I thought the best thing for me was to step out of that environment and take on a new challenge.”

Old teammates ‘disappointed’ in want-away Bombers

Gee made the move to Tullamarine in the off-season with another Blue in best friend and 2020 AFLW best and fairest Maddy Prepaskis.

Gee (left) and Prespakis (right) courted controversy by saying they were disappointed at the reaction their Carlton teammates had to their trade request. (AFL Photos via Getty Images: Dylan Burns)

The two courted controversy in a press conference in the lead-up to the clash with their old club, claiming they were “disappointed” by the way their former teammates had taken the news.

“In terms of people we thought were really close to us, ringing some people and not getting the response we wanted back was probably a bit disappointing,” Prespakis said at the time.

Asked whether there had been any “fallout” from the comments, Gee said things had since been “smoothed over”.

“There were a few girls who (initially) said they were disappointed and didn’t really have much to say to me,” Gee explained.

“I know that now after speaking to those girls, everything’s fine, we’re all still mates. It was just that initial phone call, they were all quite disappointed.”

Gee also had some kind words to say about her former teammates.

“The playing environment (at Carlton) I found really good,” she said.

“I loved all the girls, that was definitely one of the hardest things for me leaving Carlton.”

‘I find it easier to connect with a female’

Gee also reserved praise from her former coaches, including Kade Simpson, who she said “really helped build my confidence”, and Daniel Harford, who she called “a great human”.

The opportunity to work with senior coach Natalie Wood, however, was one of the lures of changing clubs.

Natalie Wood addresses her players during the round one, season seven game against Hawthorn
Gee says she loves being coached by Nat Wood, and finds it easier to connect with another woman. (AFL Photos via Getty Images: Michael Willson)

“That was really enticing,” Gee said.

“With Nat [Wood] being a female, I thought I could have a better relationship with her. I find it easier to connect with a female.”

An integral part of that connection, said Gee, was Wood’s understanding of what it was like to play women’s football.

“She knows what we’ve been through and that really helps in her coaching,” she said.

“She knows how hard it is to work to play football, for us girls especially being part-time athletes. It’s not easy and she’s seen that.

“She obviously hasn’t played AFLW because she didn’t have the opportunity, but she has this opportunity (to coach) now, so she’s going to give it her all and knows we’ll do the same.”

On a personal level, Gee said she also appreciated Wood’s approachable personality.

“She’s really humble, really genuine,” Gee said.

“She’s a country girl, she’s from Warrnambool so she’s really down to earth. I’ve just found the way she’s gone about coaching us girls awesome.”

Bombers not just making up AFLW numbers

Life at Tullamarine is so far living up to expectations for Gee, who said she will never forget the moment the Bombers played their first AFLW game against the Hawks.

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