Mikayla Bowen made a career defining switch in 2022, moving halfway across the country from Perth to Geelong after joining the Cats via trade ahead of the AFLW’s seventh season.
It was a leap of faith for Bowen who joined a Geelong team that had shown signs of growth to start 2022, but had ultimately only won two of their ten games across season six.
After spending three seasons with West Coast, the 22 year old slotted seamlessly into the Cats starting line-up and quickly became an important player for Geelong each week.
Bowen spoke on the incredible culture of the Geelong Football Club, and the decisive factors that encouraged her to make the move to GMHBA Stadium last year.
"The club is going through such an amazing growth period,” Bowen told Cats Media.
“The rest of the competition hadn’t realised that, and that was a major reason why I wanted to come and be a part of this club.
Now to be a part of it, living and breathing this football club the past two seasons is really special and I personally think it was a testament to the work that had been done prior to when I arrived.
Dan always encourages us and never lets us lose sight of the fact that we don't have to go reaching for anything, everything we have achieved already has been incredible.
We just have to continue to play our way, and to play for each other.”
The Cats suffered a momentary lull midway through the 2023 season, before quickly bouncing back and finding their best form just prior to the start of the AFLW finals series.
Following two big victories over Richmond and Hawthorn to end the regular season, Geelong continued their winning ways in the post season with strong performances against Essendon and Melbourne.
Bowen said that knocking out the reigning premiers on Sunday was a huge moment for the Cats, but the belief inside the group started building right back at the end of 2022.
"The belief probably started at the end of last year for us, the way we finished up against North Melbourne,” Bowen said.
“I know there was a lot of disappointment in the room and it felt like a missed opportunity, but we have taken that in our stride and learned from it this season.
We started this year as we wanted to and had a bit of a dip through the middle.
If anything I think that was the best thing for us, we learned so much from those couple of games that we let slip and knew how to handle a bit of adversity.
Having played and beaten Melbourne on the weekend who are one of the best sides in the competition and the reigning premiers, gives us mountains of confidence knowing that we are now one of those top sides."