📸 Rob Lawson Photography
Ange Gogos’ footy career is a story of reconnection.
Her return to footy at a VFLW level, with Darebin Falcons, is the most recent phase of her playing career, which has been a personal journey over the past 12 years.
Gogos only came to football as an adult, when she was at university.
Despite growing up a mad Magpies fan, she never felt compelled to actually kick the footy around herself, preferring instead to grace netball courts and soccer pitches.
She was playing ‘the other football’ at uni when a call went out to anyone keen to ‘have a go’ as an injury replacement on the aussie rules footy team. As a result, she was then invited to join a Melbourne Uni team training session to have a kick.
And there, at the age of 21, began her football journey and her love for the game with the oval ball.
Her career pushed on to VFLW level, from which she eventually retired, realising she needed to focus on her actual career, as a teacher of Years 7,8 and 9.
“Anyone who is a school teacher knows you have to be all in,” said Gogos.
“It’s something that can be very hard to balance, which is why I needed to focus on the one thing.”
But there came a moment, when AFLW possibilities were just too strong a temptation to resist and she considered re-joining the footy world and making an effort to balance the two key parts of her life.
She went into the AFLW draft in 2016 as a free agent.
It proved to be quite tough and Gogos admits that, on reflection, maybe she wasn’t able to give her absolute to either part at the time.
“I did the best I could, and now being older and someone who works full-time, I can appreciate how difficult it can be for some of the girls,” she said.
As a football-playing teacher however, she has proven to be quite a hit. Although she admits that sometimes in class, weekly critiquing of some of her performances, was interesting.
“The kids love it. They’re like sponges, they want to know everything. They have so many questions about it, the girls in particular.”
She stepped away from her 5-year career with the Bulldogs last year, off the back of an bad injury, but wasn’t happy about finishing under that cloud. So, when a chance to pull the boots back on at the Falcons emerged for 2022, needless to say she was keen, citing Kate Tyndall and Nic Callinan, former teammates, as a major enticement.
“What really drew me back here was I used to play with Tyni and Nic at the Western Bulldogs, and so have that connection,” said Gogos.
“So, I knew when I was coming here that I was coming into an amazing group.”
It was knowing she would be seeing and playing alongside familiar faces that gave her a certain reassurance to go around again and enjoy it.
“I’m really getting my love for footy back. I’m enjoying myself and getting to see a different side of myself, that I haven’t seen in six years.”
Gogos admits it can be very difficult at the AFLW level where the pressure can be good but can also take a toll, as you put constant expectations on yourself.
“I’ve matured over the journey and therefore you reflect and get to look at what you’ve done and try to implement that into your performances and behaviours today,” she admits.
With all that experience, there is no doubt Gogos feels a responsibility in her role at the Falcons.
“There are lots of young girls in this group and I feel like I can provide them with some knowledge of the game and hopefully, even if it’s just one piece I can pass on to someone that helps them, then that’s a win.
“I’m loving it here. The amount of work that Darebin puts into women’s footy, it’s just a great culture.
“Culture is so important, I think it’s the most important part of a footy club – if you get your culture right, footy and success will follow.”