Canberra United's Cath Brown chooses W-League over AFWL

Sport: Canberra United has its first home game of the year against Western Sydney Wanderers at McKellar Park. Catherine Brown of Canberra United and Michelle Carney of Sydney Wanderers in action. 17th of November 2013. Canberra Times Photograph by Katherine Griffiths
Sport: Canberra United has its first home game of the year against Western Sydney Wanderers at McKellar Park. Catherine Brown of Canberra United and Michelle Carney of Sydney Wanderers in action. 17th of November 2013. Canberra Times Photograph by Katherine Griffiths
Sport

Canberra united player Catherine Brown in action during the game against Perth Glory at Viking park
The Canberra times
7 December 2014 
Photo Jay cronan

Sport Canberra united player Catherine Brown in action during the game against Perth Glory at Viking park The Canberra times 7 December 2014 Photo Jay cronan

Canberra United veteran Catherine Brown says the decision to play W-League over AFLW came back to where she was most comfortable.

United coach Heather Garriock has taken a hardline stance on dual-sport athletes in her firstr W-League season, demanding 100 per cent commitment or none.

Brown has played the past five seasons at United and last year trialled with the GWS Giants for the inaugural AFLW season but shattered her knee at the combine.

The injury kept the 23-year-old sidelined for nine months, before returning for the final rounds of the W-League season.

Brown is trialling under Garricok over the next month to earn another contract and said she will only consider another crack at the AFLW if she missed the cut at United.

"The focus is W-League, especially after coming back from injury, soccer is all I've ever known so I'm getting back into what I'm most familiar and comfortable with," Brown said.

"I've spoken to Heather it's pretty clear her position is you have to be 100 per cent committed to Canberra United which is fair enough and everyone understands that.

"I think as we start to get more and more professional the opportunity for dual-code athletes is shrinking quite quickly.

"With more money comes more expectation and you have to be able to commit 100 per cent in every aspect, not just training and playing."

W-League players have just secured a landmark collective bargaining agreement which will see them earn a minimum $10,000 this season, while the average wage has doubled to $15,500.

Brown said the league has come a long way since she joined in 2012 but emphasised the push for professionalism didn't happen overnight.

"I signed my first W-League contract for $500 and got $50 a game after that, in the context of a standard yearly wage $10,000 isn't heaps but it's huge in the context of our sport," Brown said.

"The main area for concern has always been finance because we juggle multiple jobs with training and a lot of us will still have to do that, but it's a huge jump forward for what we've been working for.

"We're getting towards the end goal but we've been pushing for so long that something had to give, we've been asking for this since the inception of women's sport really."

Brown is a nurse with ACT Health but hopes to impress Garriock enough to be wearing lime green in United's season opener against Melbourne Victory on October 28.

"We've got a four-week trial period starting on Monday and Catherine being from Canberra and a past player, I would love her to be in the squad, but I just need to see her play at that level again [post injury]," Garriock said.

"I won't have most of my team over the next four weeks, our Young Matildas players are preparing for [World Cup] qualifiers and our internationals haven't all been released."

Garriock will lead a largely inexperienced side this season with Lisa de Vanna, Hayley Raso, Emma Checker and Jenna McCormick all expected to leave the capital.

This story Canberra United's Cath Brown chooses W-League over AFWL first appeared on Brisbane Times.