By Declan Donohue
In the realm of Australian Rules Football, rising stars are often nurtured from a young age. Kendra Blattman is one such talent.
She embarked on her AFL journey in 2017 at the tender age of 11, while attending Our Lady of Fatima Caringbah. Her football odyssey began there, but her story extends far beyond the suburban grounds of Caringbah.
Kendra’s journey saw her making strides from the Southern Power Youth Girls club, where she ascended through the ranks all the way to Premier Division. This year, she took a bold step to join Sydney University, marking a new chapter in her promising career.
A peek into her weekly routine during the season reveals the life of a dedicated young athlete. Balancing her education with a rigorous training schedule, Kendra attends school throughout the week at St Patrick’s College, Sutherland and devotes three afternoons and evenings to training with the Swans Academy and Sydney University.
An extra session on Saturdays and the occasional interstate game added to her packed calendar. This whirlwind of commitments left her with limited time to entertain part-time work.
Recovery plays a vital role in an athlete’s life, and Kendra recognised this early on. The Swans Academy encouraged her and her teammates to engage in full recovery, making use of the top-notch facilities at the Royal Hall of Industries Club Headquarters.
With amenities such as a pool, spa, sauna, and ice bath, the importance of proper recovery became evident, especially when training and playing at such a high level.
However, adversity struck on the path to success when an injury sidelined Kendra just a week before the prestigious AFL Combine.
Kendra was one of only 10 footballers from NSW/ACT to be invited to the testing, under the watchful eyes of AFL scouts.
Tearing two ligaments in her ankle, she couldn’t participate in the event she had eagerly anticipated. This was undoubtedly a setback, but it also showed her resilience and determination, qualities often found in champions.
In her quest to reach the pinnacle of the AFLW, Kendra has found mentors and role models within the Swans Club.
Kristie “Twiggy” Whittard, who has a profound passion for women in sport, has been instrumental in guiding her.
Coaches Bron Gulden and Nick Davis have helped her become a more complete player, while the entire academy’s coaches and staff have contributed to her growth as an athlete.
A towering figure in Kendra’s journey is Brooke Lochland, who has not only inspired her with her football prowess but also welcomed her into the squad and shared invaluable experiences. Kendra aspires to emulate Lochland’s leadership, both on and off the field.
Her educational institutions, from primary school to St. Patrick’s College Sutherland, have played an essential role in fostering her love for sport, particularly AFL.
They provided her with numerous sporting opportunities, including representing her school in the Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) and the NSW side at the All Schools Championships.
As Kendra’s star continues to rise, her AFL goal is crystal clear—she aspires to become an AFLW player. Her dreams don’t stop there; she has already been offered early entry to study Sports and Exercise Science at Australian Catholic University (ACU) and Wollongong University.
This unique blend of education and passion for sports promises a bright future for this young athlete. Her main focus at the moment is completing her HSC.
In the world of AFL, where dedication, determination, and passion reign supreme, Kendra stands as a shining example of the potential for young athletes to soar to new heights. Her journey is far from over, and her story is one to watch, a testament to what can be achieved with hard work and unwavering commitment.