Greater Western Sydney defender Annalyse Lister is determined to make a difference on and off the field after becoming just the fourth woman to join the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) board.
Lister has been voted onto the 11-person AFLPA board, joining Gold Coast’s Leah Kaslar.
Outgoing director Meg Downie and superstar Daisy Pearce, both part of Melbourne’s AFLW side, are the only other women to have been on the board.
The AFLPA and AFL, having negotiated a range of COVID-19 issues over the past year, now have collective bargaining agreement (CBA) talks on the horizon.
AFL and AFLW players are currently bound by different CBAs.
The AFL and AFLW deals expire after the 2022 season, with the prospect of a new joint CBA and further professionalising of the women’s game set to be among numerous talking points.
Lister, a mature-age recruit drafted by the Giants in 2019, is understandably reluctant to comment about the state of play given she was only elected this week.
But the 30-year-old, currently completing an MBA, is excited about the chance to help drive the development of women’s football at a key juncture.
“It’s really exciting to see the diversity across the AFLPA board this year,” Lister told AAP.
“It’s really important to try to engage with all parties who play AFL. I’m hoping we can work on a more inclusive CBA for everyone.
“If I’m being brutally honest, I’m never going to be a superstar in terms of my impact as a player on the field.
“But this is an area I feel I can really make a difference.”
Lister is a manager at United Physiotherapy Group, having played hockey before watching the maiden AFLW season in 2017 inspired her to focus on football.
Reassurances from GWS captain Alicia Eva, Giants veteran and AFLPA vice-president Phil Davis, and Isabel Huntington of the Western Bulldogs helped convince her it was time to run for the board.
“It’s always good to get that backing. Sometimes you need a bit of a push, especially when you’re putting yourself out there in an environment that comes down to a ballot,” Lister said.
“I spoke to players from other clubs. I spoke to Meg Downie to get a better idea of the role and see if it was something I could make a difference in.
“There are certainly a lot of areas of growth within the women’s game, which is something I’m quite passionate about.
“Having said that, there’s also areas in the men’s game that need to be addressed.”
The Giants’ AFLW season continues on Saturday, when they face St Kilda at Moorabbin.