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WA lifestyle sees Humphries join Swan DistrictsThursday, March 14, 2024 - 5:03 PM - by Chris Pike

DESPITE retiring from the AFLW at the end of the 2023 season, Emma Humphries has loved life in Western Australia so much she has decided to stay despite coming from Tasmania and her partner living in Brisbane.

Humphries decided to remain in WA after two AFLW seasons at the West Coast Eagles despite announcing her retirement from the top level having also previously played at Melbourne and North Melbourne.

The lifestyle and the life she had built over the last two years meant she wanted to stay west, she signed with Swan Districts and now two games into her WAFLW career and she's made a strong start on the wing for the black-and-whites.

The addition of Humphries to the Swan Districts team for the 2024 WAFLW season is a significant coup considering what she has done over the past decade putting together a standout AFLW and state league career.

Humphries joins Swan Districts having spent the past two AFLW seasons playing at the West Coast Eagles and prior to that on the national stage she played for Melbourne and North Melbourne, and even the Western Bulldogs in exhibition matches before the AFLW even existed.

On top of what she has done in the AFLW at three clubs, Humphries has had a decorated career in her home state of Tasmania including winning two premierships with Burnie along with then playing in the VFLW with Hawthorn in 2021 which led to her AFLW return at the Eagles in 2022.

The hard-running and highly skilled wing will be ideally suited to the wide expanses of the grounds in the WAFLW competition now as she joins Swan Districts for the 2024 season.

While excited for her taste of the WAFLW for the first time, it hasn’t also been without its challenges.

"I would say my two best strengths are my kicking and running, but I'm not too sure how I am going to go with the Burley," Humphries said.

"They are a bit harder to kick than the Sherrin, but I'm doing my best to get used to them.

"The grounds are a lot bigger over here too and being able to run is an asset so hopefully I'll be able to put some of that into practice."

Humphries joined the Swan Districts group when pre-season training resumed in January and already she feels right at home at Steel Blue Oval.

"It's been good and the girls have been really welcoming," she said.

"They are definitely going to keep me young this bunch with me being on the older side of the playing list this year, but they've been really welcoming and it's been such a smooth transition to come down and jump in with the girls.

"It's still pretty early days since we started training in January but it's been really good to be honest so far. I already feel part of the group and it's just good to experience WAFL level for the first time I guess."

Humphries first made the move to Perth to play with the Eagles in the AFLW in 2022 after previously playing in Melbourne and her home state of Tasmania, and couldn’t be happier to have found a new home.

While it does come with challenges being so far from home, being on the other side of the country from partner Sam and even the summer heat, she does feel happy in Perth.

That was part of why she wanted to play with Swan Districts in the WAFLW competition.

"I've got super supportive family around and Sam in Brisbane understands that we have to both do what we need to do for our careers, but having that support does make it a bit easier despite the challenges," Humphries said.

"It's like a big Tassie to be honest which is where I'm originally from. My partner's also over in Brisbane so we couldn't get further apart if we tried, but I just wanted to experience playing at WAFL level while I'm here.

"I obviously played TSL back home and then VFL for a couple of seasons so I'm looking forward to seeing how the WAFL travels compared to that.

"I just think it's the people over here and it reminds me so much of home as well just on a much larger scale. And a bit hotter obviously. It's nice to have that warmer weather, but there might have been a few too many days above 40 lately for my liking."

It's been quite the journey for Humphries over the past 10 years in a career that started in Tasmania and has included such great success both in terms of premierships and accolades in her home state.

She had a dominant VFLW season at Hawthorn as well, has played at three AFLW clubs and it's more than she ever could have imagined back when it all started.

"It certainly has been a rollercoaster over my career. I've lived in three different states and I think I've moved house five times in that time as well so it's been a bit all over the place," Humphries said.

"When I started I definitely did not think that it would span this long or that it would pan out the way that it has. But I'm very grateful to experience everything that I have so far and hopefully I've got a fair bit still to go."

The female game throughout the country has changed enormously throughout Humphries' career as well and she can't help but be delighted to see the pathways that are there now for the next generation to have to come through.

"It's really nice to see the pathways starting to evolve now too and you can see those younger ones coming through now who have the skills that we probably didn’t have 10 years ago," she said.

"It's really nice to be able to see those girls coming through and just like the boys always have been able to, they now get to come through the pathways leading to under-18s level and everything, and have the skills and then work on the technical side of things. That's what girls coming through can do now."

In the real world, Humphries at 28 years of age is very much on the younger side in most industries, but walk into a WAFLW club like Swan Districts where half the squad just about are teenagers, and suddenly she's one of the more senior players.

She enjoys that leadership role, though, and the chance to pass on her experience even if she's still new to the club.

"They're actually a really good bunch of girls," Humphries said.

"They are so willing to learn and they listen to what you have to say, they ask questions and they are just there to become better footballers and people at the same time.

"It's a really good environment that the girls create at the club that I'm enjoying being part of."