30 June 2019

Adelaide Crows 2019 Premiership

Marijana Rajcic

AFLW Premiership Player, Adelaide Football Club
Health & Physical Education Teacher
Bachelor of Education, (Primary and Middle), 2012

Walking onto the grounds of the historic Adelaide Oval ushered in by an avalanche of screaming fans – a record-breaking 53,034 to be exact – was a dream come true for education graduate and Adelaide Crows defender, Marijana Rajcic, during March’s AFLW premiership game against Carlton.

More so, playing a key role in winning that game, in front of the fifth-largest crowd at Adelaide Oval in AFL history including both the men and women’s league, surrounded by her beloved team mates was certainly a special moment.

“It was phenomenal,” she says.

“Playing in front of 53,000 people was a dream come true. To be out there on Adelaide Oval with that support – I get goosebumps every time I think about it.”

“I have always dreamed of being a professional athlete.”

Achieving such a pinnacle in professional sport didn’t just happen overnight, however, with the 30-year-old experiencing a fruitful career as a soccer player spending six seasons with Adelaide United in the W-League and as captain in 2015.

Rajcic then made the switch to Aussie Rules to join the local SANFL Norwood team and becoming a premiership player in the inaugural SANFL Women’s season where she was scouted for the national league.

Marijana in Chicago, USA with soccer pro Danny Colaprico
(Image: Marijana in Chicago, USA with soccer pro Danny Colaprico). Source

Falling in love with the sport, she made her debut as number 32 in the Crow’s tricolours against Western Bulldogs in Round Three of the 2018 Season – just missing out on winning the Crow’s 2017 flag, having been part of the team for only a couple months – making this past premiership win even sweeter.

“My love of sport started off when I was a 9-year-old playing club basketball, with the dream of being an Opal one day,” she explains. “Then when I made the switch to soccer that dream just changed to becoming a Matilda.”

“Being a professional athlete and playing at the highest level possible, competing against the best, has always been my goal.”

While Rajcic was always sports mad and dreamed of playing on Australia’s most sacred and celebrated fields, she didn’t have a clear idea of which direction to take, but knew her love of sport transcended a traditionally unsustainable professional athletic career.

Searching for a path, she harked back to about how much she looked up to – not only professional athletes – but her physical education teachers and the impact they had on her at school and how they fostered her own love of sport throughout her life.

“I thought about my PE teachers and how much fun they had daily playing and teaching sport,” she says. “I loved how UniSA offered primary and middle teaching.”

“If I can have any sort of impact on these kids for the better and give them the tools required to be successful, I will be happy.”

“The next generation are going to shape what this world becomes.”

Marijana at Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula, SA
(Image: Marijana at Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula, SA). Source

So started Rajcic’s journey to becoming a Health and Physical Education teacher, in which she is a powerful role model for her school students, and has expertly balanced with her professional playing career for almost eight years now.

“I have been doing relief teaching the last couple years, as it allows me that extra bit of freedom to choose to work or not,” she says.

“It’s been really good. It gives me flexibility to be able to juggle my professional athletic career, still having time to go to the gym after school, and prepare for training with the Crows.”

In addition to the personal fulfilment Rajcic’s career as a teacher has given her, she also credits her time at university for other lessons she still holds valuable in her life.

“You are constantly learning in all aspects of life. Studying education has definitely helped with many aspects of professional life too. Helpful skills like public speaking, media experience, and networking have all majorly benefitted.”

For now though, Rajcic is looking forward to heading overseas after a hard-earned successful footy season and then getting back to the AFLW Crows squad in pursuit of another premiership flag.

Marijana with soccer pro Katie Naughton
(Image: Marijana with soccer pro Katie Naughton at Wrigley Field in Chicago, USA). Source

When asked about the highlight of being a part of the team, Rajcic is overwhelmed with praise for her fellow teammates.

“I probably can’t pick one thing, but I honestly love this team. We have something special amongst this playing group that is hard to even describe,” she explains.

“I think we just love training and spending time together, because we just have so much fun.” “And we all just want to get better.”

Not only is Rajcic guiding her students to a promising future, but is looking forward to a bright one with the Crows, proving the talented AFLW team are athletes of their own mettle.

UniSA is a proud premier partner of the Adelaide Football Club AFL and AFLW teams. This partnership provides UniSA student placement opportunities, a platform for sport and health research collaborations and the opportunity for the University to engage with the community.

For more information about our partnership visit unisa.edu.au/crows.

Back to story index

Other articles you may be interested in