A premiership with the Sharks, but heart with the Bulls

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Larissa Versaci loves returning home to play for the Bulls when her WAFLW duties permit.
Camera IconLarissa Versaci loves returning home to play for the Bulls when her WAFLW duties permit. Credit: South Western Times, Mitchell Woodcock

She might have taken WAFLW premiership success with East Fremantle on Saturday against Swan Districts, but Harvey Bulls product Larissa Versaci has only one true home – the Harvey Recreation Ground.

Versaci, who was recruited by the Sharks on the back of solid form in the SWFL women’s competition for the Bulls, relished the opportunity to return home and play for her club when available during the year.

“It’s star-studded down in Harvey,” she said.

“I love being able to come back because a massive part of my heart is with the Bulls. Unfortunately we haven’t won a flag down there yet.

“When I go back to the Bulls, there is a lot of fun playing. I get to play with childhood friends and people who you’ve played other sports against with.

“For example, with Fleur Parker, I’ve played against her and I didn’t enjoy that. Playing with her though, you definitely want her on your team.

“And even Harmony Staszewski-Hose – seeing her come on in leaps and bounds from playing against her in soccer to seeing her come across to footy, where she’s been like a duck to water.

You want to play with those girls because you know what you are going to get with them every week.”

Since arriving at Shark Park, Versaci has become an integral part of Nikki Harwood’s squad, which was evident during the grand final.

Aside from her excellent sweeping support off the backline, Versaci dished out a spine-tingling shepherd for teammate Evangeline Gooch during the third quarter, which helped the Sharks move the ball down the ground and kick a telling goal.

But according to the 30-year-old, these acts of bravery come naturally when you are involved within a strong football culture.

“It probably stems from our football manager Stephanie Walding, Nikki Harwood our league coach and everyone involved, ” Versaci said.

“You put your teammates above yourself. Everyone also has the drive and passion to want to be there.

“We work pretty hard. We’ve got some amazing AFLW girls in our team, so it’s good to see what they have to do in their off-season, although they are effectively always ‘on’. “To see how hard they work is an insight in what you have to do if you want to go down that path.”

Versaci is hopeful more SWFL women’s players will get an opportunity at WAFLW level next season.

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