9th February, 2018 | 3 minutes
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Pop used to say ‘Hickeys don’t finish second’

by Sam Lane
AFLW Lover and Journalist

In the nascent AFLW competition there is no shortage of variables: fresh players with many new to the game, adapted rules and a skyrocketing new fan base joining those who have long been rusted on. 

One constant in this new world is an admiration for the Demon’s defender Melissa Hickey that crosses clubs. From her teammates and rival players this is expressed whimsically – through envious remarks about her unmistakable ripped physical strength – as often as it is with reverence about her competition-leading key defender skills.

There’s clearly no secret behind the footballer that presents on field. That takes dedicated work that, when all’s said and done, is the job and responsibility of just one person. As a character, Hickey is warm and friendly; a beacon of a leader. But she clearly has ice-cold focus as an athlete; it’s written all over her supremely prepared physique.

Admiring her from a distance, I’ve often wondered about the figures in her sporting and broader life that have shaped her. Some top athletes are just born to rule. So much of what is hard for others comes as second nature to them. Others excel through a particular motivation that burns in the pit of their belly.

This video shows how pivotal the team around Mel Hickey has been – and still is – to her being the best she can. She is a pillar on the footy field and within her team and club. But it’s clear she thinks she wouldn’t be nearly as equipped without figures we don’t get to see whenever she singularly changes the passage of play.

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