November 28, 2022

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Montana Ham joined the Swans as this year’s AFLW No.1 draft pick. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Montana Ham joined the Swans as this year’s AFLW No.1 draft pick. Picture: Phil Hillyard

No.1 draft pick Montana Ham will commute weekly between Melbourne and Sydney to juggle her year 12 studies with being the face of the Swans’ AFLW present and future.

The 18-year-old prodigy led Sydney’s women’s team out for its first training sessions on the SCG on Monday night, with the club’s male footballers on hand for the historic moment.

It came only weeks after the Scott Gowans-coached Swans pinched Ham, a 179cm midfielder who thrives in the contest, from Victorian rivals with a successful pitch for her to nominate in the NSW draft pool.

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She will return to Melbourne next week and go back and forth throughout the AFLW season, with Sydney’s round 1 game on August 27 against St Kilda at North Sydney Oval.

“I have a trainer at home that they are giving all my programs to, so I’ll do my training down in Melbourne,” Ham told News Corp.

Montana Ham led the Swans’ AFLW team onto the SCG for the first time on Monday night. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Montana Ham led the Swans’ AFLW team onto the SCG for the first time on Monday night. Picture: Phil Hillyard

“Every Friday I’ll fly up to Sydney and do Friday and Saturday trainings here at the club before flying back for school.

“I have a really good support network around me, and my school (Overnewton Anglican Community College) has been great as well.

“They’ve helped me strike the right footy-school balance and obviously school comes first. Scott is so understanding of that.”

Swans recruit Lisa Steane coaxed Ham to the front of the queue as the AFLW’s newest side ran out for training on Monday night, and the teenager said it was something she would “always remember”.

Ex-Giant Steane and former Western Bulldog Brooke Lochland, in particular, have taken Ham under their wing since she was drafted.

Ham, who played in the NAB League for the Western Jets, was a player in demand after being named most valuable player for Victoria Metro and in the national Academy side’s clash with the under-23 All-Stars.

Montana Ham (right) and Brooke Lochland battle it out at the AFLW Swans’ first training session on the SCG. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Montana Ham (right) and Brooke Lochland battle it out at the AFLW Swans’ first training session on the SCG. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Gowans and Sydney’s AFLW football boss Kate Mahony swept the young gun off her feet when they visited her at home in the weeks before the June 29 draft.

The city’s proximity to beaches sealed the deal for Ham.

“There’s something very special about the Bloods culture and what they’ve been through,” Ham said.

“Being part of that first girls’ team and able to establish our trademark and our values as a club was very exciting, too, so there’s something very special about being part of that.”

Ham will wear No.18 in honour of her late father Roy, whose birthday was May 18.

She plans to study a bachelor of sport and exercise science at the University of Technology Sydney from next year.

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