Players to Watch in 2016 – Alex Whitehead


A number of Sharks are excited about what season 2016 holds for Alex Whitehead. Her endurance running and sneaky left foot are turning heads at the Peanut Farm this pre-season.

After taking a year off in 2015, Whitehead returns to the Sharks more motivated and determined than ever. Now in the middle of her first full pre-season, the 25-year-old has made skills and fitness a focus, and both players and coaches are taking notice.

2016 is Whitehead’s second season with the Sharks after she played a pivotal role in the club’s Division 1 side in 2014. A consistent performer in the team’s midfield, Whitehead was fortunate to win a premiership in her first season.

“That day was amazing. The whole team was switched on and we had the belief we could win. We came straight out of the blocks in the first quarter and held onto the lead for the rest of the game. It was incredible.”

After reaching the highest possible honour in football in her first year, Whitehead took last year off to travel to Europe, Iceland and America with family and friends. However football was still on her mind.

“I saw lots of photos of the Sharks on social media when I was away. It looked like everyone was having lots of fun and I couldn’t wait to get back into it. As soon as I got back from my holiday I came straight back down to the Sharks.”

This pre-season has focussed on improving her fitness with the aim of becoming a regular member of the club’s State League side.

“I really want to improve my cardio fitness. I want to get to contests, be explosive and run out games. I want to be the best player I can be. Hopefully my best means that I will be playing State League.”

She also attributes her development to new head coach, Shaun Smith.

“Shaun is a great coach. He is relaxed but he also pushes us when he needs to. He has the right balance and gives great advice.”

Whitehead is excited about the Sharks’ potential in 2016 and has noticed that there is a great feeling amongst the playing group.

“There’s a great atmosphere amongst the girls right now. Everyone is committed. There’s a good mix of skill and heart players at our club and I think you need both to be a successful team.”

Phoebe McWilliams

FUN FACT – Alex played tennis for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro