The increasing number of women joining mainstream sports codes across the world is hard to ignore, and if you’re a dedicated sports fan then the introduction four years ago of a women’s Australian rules football competition must have seen you punching the air with joy. Footy is a large part of life in Australia with the inspiring talent in the AFL Women’s League pulling ever larger crowds and loyal fans.
Recently Land of Meow was lucky enough to sit down with star player Jessica Wuetschner and learn a little bit about her life as one of the great Brisbane Lions, and also her role as fur-parent to her own little Lion - Charlie.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I moved to Brisbane when I joined the Lions and when I’m not playing footy, you can find me watching Netflix or away camping.
I’m also extremely passionate about Mental Health. In 2017 I started volunteering with an organisation called Outside the Locker Room as an ambassador in Queensland. OTLR as they call themselves, are a mental health organisation targeting mental health in sporting environments.
And I’m the owner of a big black cat called Charlie. I visited the RSPCA in early 2019, however after my first trip I didn’t feel like I saw the cat for me. There were no connections made at the time, and I am big on when you know you know with animals!
On my second time visiting I saw 6 black cats, one adult and five older kittens. I sat by the window of their enclosure and Charlie was the only one who caught my eye. When I met him, I knew he was the one.
What differences has Charlie made to your life?
Charlie has made me think about more than myself that’s for sure. He makes life a little more entertaining and it's like having a child but less needy, ha ha.
Do you believe Cats have a significant impact on our Mental Health?
Absolutely, there’s nothing a little head bop or cuddle can’t fix. Charlie helps me to feel better when I’m down and keeps me company when I’m bored.
What’s your favourite memory with Charlie?
It would have to be when I took him outside for the first time. Charlie is an indoor cat, but I like to take him outside with me sometimes. He’s surprisingly good in that he doesn’t run off most of the time, but if he does, he will wait for me to catch him!
How would you describe Charlie?
He is an EXTREMELY large cat. I call him my panther he because he is exceptionally long but also a little chubby.
His favourite thing to do is wake me up in the early hours of the morning by playing with my face with his paw, which means “mum I’m hungry please feed me”.
What would you say to someone thinking about purchasing or adopting a cat?
I’m all for it! I’m still a big advocate for making sure you find the right cat for you. Enjoy the process in finding that special bond.
How did you get drafted into the Brisbane Lions?
I grew up in Hobart and started playing football at club level at 17 years old. At the time there were only 3 women’s teams in the entire state of Tasmania. I moved to Perth in 2014 to push myself and play at a higher level, and then in 2016 I nominated to play AFLW at the Brisbane Lions. After all my hard work and training I was drafted to Brisbane which is where I have been since. I love that I can do what I love at the highest level!
What do you love about Land of Meow?
I love that you can really spoil your cats with such quality items, and you can trust that they’ll last for quite a while. I couldn’t wait for Charlie to sleep in his new bed and when it arrived, I was so excited!
Charlie loves his Land of Meow Cat Bed. He spends most of his day in his bed looking out the window. To be honest, if the bed came in a human size, I would sleep in it too! You’ll often see photos of me using the bed as a pillow when I’m lying next to Charlie as well.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy watching TV and movies, as well as drinking coffee. When I’m not at home I do enjoy camping and fishing as well.
How has footy changed your life?
It’s changed my life more than I could imagine. The opportunities and relationships that have come from it are just as amazing as playing itself. I’m so grateful this is where my life has taken me.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS!
Winter or Summer: Queensland Winter
Pizza or Pasta: Pasta
Beach or Bush: Bush
Cats or Dogs: Both
Christmas or Easter: Christmas
Books or Music: Music
Movies or TV Series: TV series