Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey has nominated for the AFLW draft but just five days out teams still don’t know if they can pick her.
The AFL is deliberating whether the 190-centimetre, 100-kilogram ruck is eligible to enter the second AFLW draft after it confirmed Mouncey’s nomination on Friday.
Mouncey has expressed her desire to become the first elite transgender footballer in the country after starring for the Ainslie Tricolours in the AFL Canberra women’s competition this season.
The AFL confirmed a decision on whether the 27-year-old was eligible would be announced before the draft on Wednesday.
“The AFL is determining whether Hannah is eligible to be drafted,” an AFL spokesperson said.
Mouncey played for the Australia handball team which unsuccessfully tried to qualify for the Rio Olympics, before beginning hormone treatment almost two years ago.
After watching the success of the inaugural AFLW season Mouncey has previously told the Outer Sanctum podcast she wanted to test herself at the next level.
Mouncey accepts she will be seen differently but hopes teams and fans can simply embrace her ability – which she promises to deliver in spades.
“I know I’m different and not necessarily in a good way or bad way, but I know I am going to be seen differently,” Mouncey said.
“People have said ‘With how big you are you’ll probably hold back a bit so you don’t hurt anyone’ and I’m like ‘Well no, I’m not going to hold back, that defeats the whole purpose’.
“I had my ribs broken in my last game so I know they can hit me as hard as I can hit them and do damage. It is different and I know it is seen differently but I won’t approach it any differently.”
Mouncey said she is comfortable with the attention that will come as the first transgender player in the AFLW, but emphasised she has to get there first.
“You’ve gotta get picked up first and it’s not like that’s a given. But if people have an interest in me because I’m transgender then that is what it is,” Mouncey said.
“I can’t control that and to be honest I’ve probably seen and heard everything you possibly can in the negative sense, so that’s not going to hold any fears for me.
“Once you work past the red tape to actually playing [it gets easier] … I’m just keen to play and hopefully I get picked up and whatever happens outside that isn’t something I can control.”
The AFL follows International Olympic Committee regulations which state an athlete must prove their testosterone level is below 10 nanomoles per litre, a requirement which Mouncey comfortably meets.
“Physiologically things are different, not having any testosterone at this weight makes recovery difficult which is probably something I didn’t factor in, so there’s a bit of trial and error,” Mouncey said.
“I’m really just figuring it out as I go along, recovery is longer and I can’t eat as much, but also not having a male metabolism you have to watch what you eat.”
Ainslie men’s coach Chris Rourke said Mouncey should be eligible for the draft because she was already approved to play in an AFL-sanctioned competition this season.
“I’ve spoken to Hannah a few times and she’s a registered female player who qualifies to play here so she should be allowed to play in the AFLW,” Rourke said.
“They test for testosterone levels and she comes in below so she is right to play. It’s a different world from when I grew up but it’s fantastic for footy and I hope she’s allowed to play and gets drafted. We’re wishing her all the best here at Ainslie FC.”