The rise of the AFLW has opened doors for many female athletes, including several basketball stars who have successfully transitioned to Australian rules football.

In an interview with the Unpluggered Podcast earlier this week, retired NBLW star Rachel Jarry discussed the ever-prominent topic of the Aussie-Rules players with a basketball background.

Jarry, most recently a shooting guard for the Southside Flyers, revealed how she might have pursued a career in AFLW had the league existed when she started professional basketball at just 15.

Jarry's reflections offer a glimpse into the potential paths of multi-talented athletes.

“I might've... I definitely would've played both sports,” Jarry mused, revealing her passion for footy.

She shared that her father, a passionate Saints fan, humorously warned her of a lifetime of misery as a supporter. Her athletic versatility was evident from a young age, playing cricket and basketball before committing to basketball.

“I definitely enjoyed the physical side of basketball, so I think I would've done okay on the footy field,” Jarry remarked.

She cited the success of athletes like Erin Phillips, Kerryn Peterson (formerly Kerryn Harrington), and Tessa Lavey, who have all thrived in the AFLW despite not having a traditional football background, instead dominating the basketball court.

Jarry's admiration for Phillips is well-founded; Phillips transitioned from a celebrated basketball career in the WNBL and WNBA to become an AFLW icon, winning multiple league best and fairest awards and three illustrious premierships.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: Chelsea Randall (left) and Erin Phillips of the Crows celebrate during the 2019 AFLW Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Carlton Blues at Adelaide Oval on March 31, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Kerryn Peterson's journey mirrors this multi-sport prowess. Starting her career in the WNBL, Peterson transitioned to AFLW in 2018, quickly establishing herself as a key player for Carlton. Her basketball skills, such as spatial awareness and agility, have translated well to the football field, earning her three All-Australian selections.

Tessa Lavey, another dual-sport star, has balanced her basketball career with the Richmond Tigers in the AFLW. A member of the Australian women's basketball team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Lavey was drafted by Richmond in 2020. Her experience as a point guard has honed her vision and decision-making, crucial skills on the footy field.

This trend extends beyond just a few stars. Monique Conti, who plays for the Richmond Tigers and Melbourne Boomers, was the best on ground in the 2018 AFLW Grand Final and has been a standout in both sports.

Jess Good, a former Adelaide Lightning player, has become Carlton's first-choice ruck.

Emerging talents like Ash Centra and Eliza West also reflect this trend. Centra, a potential number one draft pick, brings her basketball agility and spatial awareness to her game, West, who played college basketball at Utah State, has made significant strides with the Melbourne Demons, showcasing the growing pipeline of basketball talent into the AFLW.

Listen to Rachel Jarry on Unpluggered wherever you get your podcasts!