Erin Freeland enjoying netball return with the Baggies

A key part of Swifts’ surge towards this season’s A Grade finals has been a strong defense which has been spear-headed by Erin Freeland.

The mother of four joined the Baggies last season after coming out of retirement and has not looked back since.

“I started playing halfway through last season after having a baby. They had some injuries and Courtney Morrow who is the coach was cutting my hair one day and convinced me to come down one night for a scratch match,” Freeland said.

“That one session turned into playing on Saturday which turned into playing every second week for the rest of the season then into every week this year. This season has been my first full year since having kids.”

Freeland has only been at Swifts for a short amount of time, having played most of her career with Stawell and one season with Great Western.

Freeland has been a big part of Swifts’ best season “in more than a decade”. She said an off-field bond between the players has had a big impact.

“I’m quite a naturally competitive person. The girls are really good because they train hard and want to win but there is no nastiness, they are a really supportive group,” she said.

“I am really enjoying my netball since making the switch to the Baggies.

“They are women I enjoy hanging out with which is why I think we are producing wins because it is a great group to be around.”

The Baggies currently have a firm grip on a top-six spot and Freeland said she expects her side to be playing finals netball this year.

“We have been playing good enough netball to play finals and who knows where we can go from there,” she said.

Similar to most of her teammates, Freeland said the highlight of the season so far has been the one-goal win over Harrow-Balmoral away from home.

”Winning against Harrow-Balmoral for the first time since we have been in the same league was nearly as sweet as a finals win,” she said.

“It shows the culture of the club with the footballers staying to watch after their game when they could have had showers on a cold and wet day.

“It is just a really supportive atmosphere which is great to be part of.”