Whatever challenge comes her way, experienced Cats utility Jordi Ivey is ready to play her role.
Having played forward, midfield and defence as needed, the 29-year-old said she’s ready to answer the call wherever she is needed – a trait which could come in very handy in a difficult 2022 NAB AFL Women’s season.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing down the attacking end this year – for our one game that we’ve had this season – but I think with Covid and everything that’s happening at the moment, I’m going to have to continue to be pretty versatile,” Ivey said.
“I think a lot of the girls in our team will just have to go with the flow, and it depends on who’s available each week, and that will determine where everyone ends up playing.
“I feel like I’ve had a go at each end, and in the middle, and I’m ready for anything that is thrown at me now. I know the systems, how to play in each position, so wherever I’m needed, I’m happy to go, and hopefully I can contribute to the team, wherever I am.”
Ivey has also been consistent as well as versatile, playing 22 of a possible 24 games since joining the Cats’ AFLW team in 2019.
Fittingly, she will play her 25th game against her former team, Carlton – after a fixture change saw the Cats’ opponent change for Saturday night’s clash at GMHBA Stadium.
Ivey played two games at Carlton, where she was brought in as an injury replacement player midway through 2017.
“It will be nice to play against them – I think this weekend will be a really even and tough contest,” Ivey said.
“(The game will be) highly contested. We’ll trust our midfielders around the ball, and looking to take territory and looking to get it within our (attacking) end of the ground.
“It’ll be a very hot contest – the Blues are pretty good. It’ll just be who wants it more, and who is willing to put on that pressure, and who wants to grind it out the longest.”
Approaching the contest full-bore is something Ivey fully embraces – as seen with the tackling ferocity she brought to the Cats’ pre-season.
It’s something she’s enjoying being able to bring to games again now that the season is underway.
“It’s nice not tackling my teammates – I’m sure they’ll say the same thing about that. I did whack (Kate) Darby pretty hard just before Round 1, and she was like, ‘Can you please do that to somebody else this weekend?’” Ivey said with a laugh.
“I just need to try to be physical, and when I do that in training, I tend to do it in a game. So thanks to all my teammates for putting up with me the last three years. Sorry girls.”
In her career to date, Ivey - who was part of the Cats leadership group in 2020 and 2021 - said it is a couple of firsts that stand out as highlights, from both her clubs.
“I’d definitely say playing the first game for the Cats at home against Collingwood, and getting the win as well – that was probably my biggest highlight,” she said.
“Having been at the Cats since our VFL days, and everything like that, just to have it all come together in that game and get the win, I thought that was probably my biggest highlight at the Cats.
“Kicking your first goal as well is a lot of fun, so I did that at Carlton in my first game with my first kick, so that was probably another highlight for me.”
Ivey also called out the Cats’ upset win over Brisbane in 2019 – when they kept the established Lions side to the then-lowest AFLW score – as a memorable moment.
Wins on the board against highly-touted opponents is something Ivey and the Cats will be hoping to see more of in the 2022 season.
After taking the challenge up to North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos in the opening week of the season, the Cats will be looking for their first premiership points of the season when they host Carlton on Saturday.
“I think Dan has been saying it really well all week, that we should have won, it’s not a ‘could have won’,” Ivey said.
“We certainly believe that we should’ve won that game, and I think that we can all go into any game this year thinking we’re a good chance to take the points.
“I think everyone is really excited first for this weekend, and then seeing where the season will go.
“I think with our game plan and pressure that we’ll be able to take it up to any team and knock them off.”
The Cats take on Carlton at GMHBA Stadium this Saturday from 7.10pm.
Fans are invited to attend early and join in the Summer Footy Festival, which will be on the interactive lawn outside GMHBA Stadium from 5pm.
The FREE event will feature live music and entertainment, food trucks, giveaways and much more.