Australian Opals point guard and new Richmond AFLW draftee Tessa Lavey is confident she can successfully juggle her two sports and contend for selection at next year’s Olympics.
The Tigers selected Lavey with pick No.43 in Tuesday’s draft and she will play for Bendigo in next month’s WNBL season before participating in the 2021 AFLW competition.
But she is still eyeing off a spot in Tokyo.
“It’s a goal of mine – I’ve been to Rio (2016) and I really enjoyed that experience and that’s something with this group of Opals that I want to be a part of,” Lavey told reporters on Friday.
“But that’s not to say that I’m not going to have to work hard and really try and make this work.
“But Basketball Australia and (I have) spoken and we’re going to try and make it work as much as possible.”
Lavey wasn’t certain what would happen if her AFLW and basketball commitments clashed next year but said Opals coach Sandy Brondello had been “very supportive” of her decision to pursue two sports.
She will skip the start of AFLW pre-season, with WNBL commitments beginning next week.
Lavey and Richmond teammate Monique Conti then face two weeks quarantine before the WNBL season in the north Queensland bubble.
Conti, who quit Melbourne Boomers in January to focus on AFLW, is yet to announce her WNBL club but has been training with Southside Flyers.
“I can’t speak on Mon’s behalf, but … we knew coming into this that we’d have to adjust the way we go about pre-season with AFLW,” Lavey said.
“I’d spoken with the Bendigo Spirit really closely and I just reassured them that I wasn’t gonna be going anywhere – that I was playing the WNBL season.
“When we’re off in the bubble, I think maybe Mon and I will be doing some extra stuff, just to make sure we’re ready to go come January or end of December.”
Lavey believed her AFLW fitness training would benefit her basketball and wasn’t concerned about potential criticism from the basketball community.
“There’s going to be people that are going to have their own opinions on what I should and shouldn’t be doing in my life but it’s up to me in the end,” Lavey said.
“If that’s gonna make me happy, if it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while, I think it’s really good.”