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Kicking Goals Through Work & Play With AFLW Player Kate Surman.


Kicking Goals Through Work & Play With AFLW Player Kate Surman.

Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my wellness warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.

My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who has helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.

Welcome to my wellness warriors podcast. Today I have with me, this is really exciting and something totally new for me, Kate Surman, who is here from the AFL women’s league. Is that what I say? Yeah. So AFL women’s.

Kate Surman: Whatever you want. I felt AFLW works better.

Felicity Cohen: AFLW. And it’s so exciting to have you here, so thank you so much for making the time to come in today. I guess you’ve got a pretty hectic schedule. What does a normal day look like for an AFL player? What do you do everyday?

Kate Surman: So AFLW is not full time. So it’s part-time and it’s only a six-month contract. So at the moment, we’re in our off season, but our off season, you still want to put the work in. So at the moment we’ve got a winter program, so we’re not actually getting paid, but we’re doing it because we want to be better.

So we’re at the club just two days a week, but we’re in there at the start. We’ll get there at maybe, you know, three or four. Do our prehab all of the, all of our like physio and all of that. And then we’ll be on track at about 5, 5:30, and then we’d be finishing off track at about 6:30-7am and then we go into the gym and then we’re home late at night.

So I finished gym about, probably around about 8:30pm. And that’s just in the off season at the moment with the programs, so we’re not actually getting paid at the moment. But in season, what we’re doing is I think we’re contracted for about 15 hours, but that’s from when we start with the coaches to when we finished.

So a lot of the times we get there a lot earlier, do our prehab, all the physio, all the chats with the coaches and then we start and then go from there. And during the season we end up there till sometimes 10 o’clock at night and that’s five days a week. Sometimes four days. Yeah.

Felicity Cohen: Wow.

Kate Surman: So a lot of work.

Felicity Cohen: I’m gonna come back to everything that is involved in, in being part of the AFLW but I’d love to start with who you are and where you first started. And now I know you named Spud, where did that come from?

Kate Surman: So when I was little, I used to like, I’m talking like a baby, so I just sit there and like stare at the TV.

So couch potato, Spud the couch potato, get it? And then it just stuck through my sporting career. Like, so I played basketball as a junior and then just through there it’s stuck. And all my friends call me spud at home to the point where I called a friend for an athlete’s carnival, and I was just chatting to her on the phone, and this is like the phone on the wall, phone, not a mobile phone, the little cord near the phone.

And I was talking to her for about a good 10 minutes cause I said, oh, it’s Kate. And she’s just like, I don’t know who Kate is, but I’ll just chatting. And then she finally realised that it was me and I’m Spud. So a lot of people just know me as Spud and probably wouldn’t actually even know my real name.

Felicity Cohen: That’s hilarious. So your colleague players, do they call you Kate or do they call you Spud?

Kate Surman: They call me Spud, or variations of Spud. Okay. I’ll just go with whatever I’m not fuss.

So let’s start with a little bit about your history and what took you to where you’re at now? You grew up in

Ballarat. Yeah, I’ve got, I’ll be right.

Nice know a warm place. Ballarat. yeah, so I grew up in Ballarat and I played a lot of basketball up until I was about 1819. and then I quit and started at uni. Oh, that’s, as I went to x-ray sports science, and then through that, I did a lot of sports training and all of that type of stuff. But then, yeah, I never really thought about playing football at all.

I’d always really enjoyed football as a kid. and always, it was quite good at it with terms footie. Like, did you play term footy at all? Of course. Yeah. Like you play a little term footy. I think it’s like roundabout term three, play footy in the, in the, in the wet and the cold with all the girls. but yeah, so.

Finished exercise, sports science, and was like, oh, with the whole sports training stuff, I wanted to go and, be a physio. So I actually moved to Queensland in Brizzy and did my masters of physio. And that’s where I kind of was like, actually, I wouldn’t mind playing footie here. and I looked up university of Queensland football, but I just never really.

Went and applied. I was really, that’s one of, probably one of my bigger regrets is that I didn’t start playing football earlier. Cause I was on about what 21, 22 here. anyway, I moved to the sunny coast, as a physio and I’m sitting around kind of 25, 26. And this is when AFLW first came. into the, like it burst,AFLW and one of my best friends was playing for Carlton, and I went down and watched and, you know, watching that was pretty cool.

So I decided to go play from root shore ruse. Next minute, I’m getting picked up by the Suns and here I am now at the age of what, 29 now.

Felicity Cohen: That’s an amazing the journey. So you still working as a physiotherapist?

Kate Surman: Yes, so that’s the tricky thing about playing AFL w is it’s quite difficult to sustain a full-time job and, play football.

And I think for myself giving a hundred percent to both. So I, when I moved from the sunny coast, I was working at a, quite a high level, like sports clinic. And then I moved down yeah. To the gold coast and just realized I couldn’t sustain private practice. It was a bit, bit too full on. So I moved into I’m now moved into aged care.

And I have an absolute ball. It’s more the fact that I can have fun and it’s a, it’s a little bit less stressful and I can clock in clock out. So I worked 30 hours a week with, well, which is still getting to the point where to be maybe too much. But

I asked you six months of when you’re under contract, you’re working 30 hours, plus you’re doing all of your training and you’re playing and everything else.

I would say we’d probably do about 60 hours really. So when you look at it, You know, you’re doing your 30 hours per week for your job, but then, you know, you’ve got, I think you are only contracted to 15 hours. It was during the pre season, but putting in a lot more work than that. And that’s just the reality of it.

AFLW, you just, you know, yeah. Yeah. That’s where we’re at.

Felicity Cohen: It must be so hard to find an employer who was so offers that kind of flexibility for you during the season when you’re on, how do you actually manage that kind of relationship when you’ve got travel in good, in good times. How does that all work?

Look, I’m pretty lucky because there’s a physio, it’s quite a flexible career. And I didn’t know that before I started. So James I’m lucky. I, yeah, so I was just lucky enough that with private, she obviously just booked people in based on when you’re training times and then just, you know, once you find that the seasons ahead of time, you can just block out your days and stuff like that and take annual leave.

but I’ve been really, really lucky. All of my employees have been super, super flexible with me. and I’ve been pretty transplant. To them when they offered me a jobs, that football is one of my main priorities. And so far, I’ve been pretty, pretty lucky. And I’m lucky. I’m lucky though. There’s a few people in our team that struggle.

they’ve gone from really high paying jobs to then barely getting a job because it’s only six months of the year. So saying that all for six months, a year, I’m only going to be half here, half the time. It doesn’t really work.

So how do they offset that? How do they manage, what do they do? What’s the compromise?

Kate Surman: That that’s the hardest thing is, is so one of my good friends, she, she just kinda job hopped for awhile.

and now she’s lucky enough a friend came up. started a business, so she’s able to work with him, but then it’s obviously not where her major skillset lies and you know, obviously her income is, has dropped significantly. but you know, we’re both lucky enough to have really supportive partners that help along the way.

Yeah. Yeah. And

Felicity Cohen: there are players, who’ve got families who have children already. We Kate Surman: did read, we did have, so Sam Virgo had two kids or she does have two kids.

yeah. And it was very interesting when we went away to WWI, we were actually in a hub for a while because of COVID. Her family came along, which was really, really lovely.

And we got to spend a lot of time with their family, but, you know, there was a few health problems while we’re away and poor Virgo had a bit, a bit of trouble and had to spend a lot of time with their family. So, it’s just the way it is, I guess, with, with football, you know, you’ve, you know, you’ve got football is your priority, but I think really like your family is a hundred percent more your priority.

Isn’t it? But for me, I don’t have a family just yet. So footie’s my priority at the moment,

Felicity Cohen: even in a relationship with your partner, there are still challenges when you’ve got to live that lifestyle where some of the time you’re away. obviously you both deal well with that.

Kate Surman: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s a bit of a balancing act.

I haven’t quite figured it out just yet. I I’ve, I decided to take our club season off because I need to spend more time with it. because he’s, he’s a new Zealander, so he doesn’t quite get AFL much, but he loves watching me play and he loves supporting me and I’ve never seen his face. So, he smiles so big when he watches me play.

but I definitely know. Takes a fair bit of a toll on him because I’m getting home late at night and leaving early in the morning to go to work. So he definitely misses me a lot. so I have to spend and make sure I like put a lock in my diary. Timed, like to spend time with you. Yeah.

Felicity Cohen: Really important to understand how to manage that whole big juggle.

Kate Surman: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s just your whole learn it. You got to go through some hard stuff to be able to learn. Okay. Well, yeah. What do I need? And I think everyone’s different though. Aren’t they like, some people are happy to spend time by themselves and they’re not too, they’re not too needy. Whereas you’ve got people who are super needy and you got to spend more time with them.

Brett’s kind of in the middle. Yeah.

Felicity Cohen: Sounds like it works really well for you. So tell me a little bit about what you’ve seen as the change inAFLW since 2017 with the first season, right through to now, what are some of the changes in the growth in the acceptance and, and, you know, what does that look like for you?

Kate Surman: Yeah, I felt w you know, when we first started, I think we had 17. So now we’ve got, I think he was there 14, 14 teams and looking to build in the next couple of years to even more teams. So obviously you say that there’s more teams across the, and there’s more gaps. Yeah. but what, the main thing I see is just the talent, you know, the talents and the skill.

Is it like from year one? I mean, when I first started two years ago, I watched, cause I didn’t watch too much of it in the first year. I watched year one to the, the previous year and it was such a different game and the skill level was just up. and that’s probably the main thing that I see when you’re looking at.

pure football. and then I think, you know, all, I think, I think there’s more people, more girls and more women are actually participating in AFL and it particularly on the gold coast. Yeah. I think there’s been a 33 it’s 38% increase in girls playing AFL w on the coast and compared to 10% with the, the, the males.

AFL is really starting to heat up on the gold coast, which is awesome.

Felicity Cohen: I’m sure that’s got a lot to do with your team. the perception and what they see definitely has given rise to that, that they see that this is actually a possibility that they can actually have that semi-professional football career?

And hopefully eventually it will. Match up with the men’s. I guess that’s the longterm goal is that, you know, this will also be a professional league for women. Is that what you would like to see happen?

Kate Surman: Yeah, I think it’s getting like, you know what, we’re in the sixth year now. And I think it’s getting really close to that.

you know, like I said, like I’m working 30 hours a week at the moment. You know, we’re doing a fair bit of training and I’m getting close to the point where I’m really can’t do both. So that’s like, it sucks for a lot of people who are working full time, but it’s awesome in itself that the quality and then the amount of IAS exposure for women is, is huge to the point where it can get to full time.

We’re looking at in the next couple of years, I think by 2026. So I think it’d be getting close to nearly full-time, I’ll be retired though, because I’m going to have to have a kid at some stage and I don’t know, want to go back after that. But I do think that very soon in the future, and I think a bit earlier than what they had planned, it’s going to be full time.

but the only thing with that is the salaries have to be up there and we have to make sure that that it’s still popular. And hence why we’re starting a little bit earlier this year.

So, what do you, what else do you think has contributed to the attention that the AFL w now gets, especially here on the gold coast and why there’s so many more women playing and the younger girls, do you have a program where you’re getting out there in schools?

How are you influencing other young women to kind of look at this as a potential for them?

Yeah, look, I think, firstly, I think a lot of people actually were really interested in AFL beforehand, but there was just no avenue. So a lot of people grew up playing, you know, like a term sport footie, but then what would end up happening is, you know, you’d go and play and then you have to choose between a sport.

And then you’re like, well, there’s no future in this sport. So I’m going to go down this route. And I think what you’re seeing now is that there is a future in AFL. So you’re like, oh, I love playing footie. So I’m going to go down the football route. And that’s what I think. And that’s where I probably would have sat.

I would’ve played football at a younger age and what I would pursue it. Rather than going down, like it’s the basketball route, which didn’t end up going anywhere. But, what we’re doing is, I think just us being here on the gold coast and just the gold coast, having an AFLW team is huge. I think that in itself is probably the biggest, I guess, marketing tool for AFL on the coast.

because then they’ve got someone to look up to. And that’s huge.

Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. Yeah, you’re definitely, you know, you are the icons of the sport and you’re, you know, the women that these young girls are looking up to and then they start to see, well, maybe that could be, yeah. Yeah,

Kate Surman: 100%. I just think of me when I was a kid, I used to like look up to, you know, you got stars, like, you know, as a basketball, like, you know, Lauren Jackson, Michelle teams, and, you know, they were, they were playing professional sport.

whereas, you know, for 40, there was absolutely no I’m playing. There was no AFLW and I think the cool thing is, is I actually went into a school recently and they asked us. I was with our captain, the men’s captain, Jerry Witt. And I had these kids asking me questions. And one of them asked then asked me, how long have you been playing football for?

And he was just like, oh, I think he might’ve said like 15 years or something like that. And I was like, oh, look, man, like three or four years. And he was like, I want to say, look, do you realize that AFLw wasn’t a thing, you know, five, six years ago. And they were like god God smacked. Like they were like, really, there was noAFLW? So for these kids, it is the norm.

Felicity Cohen: That’s fantastic. So they don’t remember a time when it wasn’t actually part of what they would see every day.

Kate Surman: Yeah. Yeah. The coolest thing, you know,AFLW is now ingrained in the culture of AFL and even in men’s change rooms, like you’ve got these draftees coming in, they don’t know what it’s like not to have women in the club. Which is super cool.

Felicity Cohen: That’s fantastic. Congratulations. Cause you’re a big part of that. Yeah. What role do you play in actually going and talking in schools and having some kind of influence on children?

Kate Surman: So obviously with COVID, it’s been a little bit limited. but when we had that little break in, in the COVID restrictions, You know, we’d go in and run clinics.

I went up there was supposed to be game and T and it was a, I think it was gold coast V it was a couch and a whole, I think. yeah, and they were, we w we, we went up for there for that, and we went to actually all the AFL Oz kids, brilliant, like hanging out with all the kids and running the little clinics.

And again, those kids didn’t realize that this way. In like, they, they didn’t realize what it was like to not have them women in IFL. And you got these little girls running around and even at the front. So he went into the schools and rung, uh, participated in all the kick stuff. So we’re lucky enough that now particularly on the gold coast, IFL is like, I think it is a term sport and there’s actually subjects for AFL, which is really cool.

And there’s a girls and a boy.

Felicity Cohen: That’s fabulous. And I think, you know, they need more of it. And the more that we’re doing to assist in making sure that our kids are active and healthy and doing amazing things and looking at pathways for sport, if that’s their inclination, but also that we’re just promoting an active, healthy lifestyle for kids overall. I think it’s so important and we need to be doing more and more of it.

Kate Surman: Yeah. I think it’s not even being healthy, like physical wise. There’s a program that the Suns run. It’s kind of pioneered by one of my good friends, Lolaren, and it’s called play to your strengths. Have you ever done that test where you finding out your personality, characteristics traits, have you ever seen that? You can do it online. And it’s, I think there’s, there’s many, many characteristics you can go through. It’s quite well-researched. And, we actually go into school, like the kids learn about different characteristics based on, you know, what their school was, you know, you’ve got kids who, you know, they may have marked as number one for gratitude. And then they have to kind of talk about how that they, they show gratitude in their life. But they were using us as like poster people to say, Hey, I’m for me, I’m zest, zesty is a high one for me.

So I talked about me being zesty and then the kids saw that and then they have to do exactly the same thing. We came in and like watch them present to us. And it was just amazing. Like, it’s just cool, like teaching kids that there’s more that we do more than just football, which was really cool. If that makes sense, kind of went a little bit here, there, and everywhere, but play to your strengths is the program running. Yeah, that’s really cool.

Felicity Cohen: It’s a great message.

Kate Surman: It’s really cool.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. So you mentioned earlier that there was a moment when you were in Western Australia there in a bit of a bubble. Yeah. When was that? And tell me a little bit about what was that like for you and how long were you there for?

It was the coolest, so we went, I can’t remember what round it was, but obviously due to COVID we had like a changing draw, so we didn’t know where we were going. Obviously we’ve got west coast and Frio that are in our league. So the easiest way was for us to stay over there because wi with all of the COVID stuff, they were being quite strict.

Kate Surman: So the easiest thing for us was to go over there, stay for a week, play Frio, and then the weekend then play west coast. So we were lucky enough to actually, get kind of AFL put us up in, in, in apartments. And we got to kind of leave the full-time athlete life for awhile, which is really cool.

And it was a really good insight too, like how the men are and what the future of AFLW is going to be like. And yeah, it was really nice. We got to focus on our recovery, which focused on what we’re eating. We actually got to spend a lot of time together and really build on the culture that we’re trying to build at the club.

So it was really, really good. We didn’t get the wins, but I think we got a lot out of it more than just football.

Felicity Cohen: What does that culture look like for you? And what are some of the things that are so important for you at the Suns, your team? What does that look like?

Kate Surman: Yeah. So for me, I think culture is the main thing. I think that’s how you become successful, it’s having a good culture. Every, every team has good players. But it’s what culture is the thing that’s actually going to make you successful.And at the club, you know, us being the women, we have our club values, we do. But we, as a women’s group, we have our own as well. But we only being in the club for two years.

So we’re really trying to figure out what our values are. Like I don’t think we could really straight away pinpoint them. And we’ve had a whole change in staff and coaching and different players. So what we’re actually, we’re just in the moment, in the process of figuring all that out. But for me, I think trust is huge.

I think family, which is one of our main What about Maine? What do they call it?

Felicity Cohen: Like a core value that you are respecting each other’s families and how that becomes part of who you are?

Kate Surman: Correct. We all become as a family at the club and we treat each other with respect. They’re really, really true big ones for me.

But we’re not sure where our values as a girls team where we’re going to be at. Cause we’re, we’re only, we’re kind of just at the beginning again, you know, we’ve had a big change over with staffing. Different coaches and different players now. So we’ll, we’ll create that old from, I guess the start of September one when we all get back together officially.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. I think that’s difficult to build that camaraderie and that culture in the six months that you’re not actually engaged in your season, how do you actually then connect with the other team members? Obviously many of them would have become your friends by now, but what, how do you actually maintain that camaraderie?

Kate Surman: It is hard, isn’t it? I think it’s because a lot of us all come from different areas and we all have moved down here. So we’re all kind of living here and we don’t know anyone else. So we spend so much time together. I actually find it really hard for the people who do live here for six months and then they go home and then they come back.

I find that they find it the hardest. Whereas ours as a group, we all hang out with each other. Cause it’s all we know, you know, like my, all my best friends here or the girls I play with. And we don’t, we don’t just talk about football. We go, you know, I mean, football is a big part of our lives, but we definitely all have common interests because we do play football.

And when you play football, you always find that you have other interests as well. So, yeah, it’s more just the people who are living externally that come in, come out that I think it’s the hardest to kind of stay connected.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. Hmm. What do you love most about living on the gold?

Kate Surman: The weather. Yeah. And the beaches I’ve actually moved.

I lived in Nobbys for the first two years when I lived here. So you said Nobbys beach, I’m pretty lucky one street back from the beach. I was very, very lucky. So, and Nobbys is such a beautiful area. Coffee shout out to Canvas, Canvas coffee’s really good. Fabulous. Have you been to Canvas? And they’re super lovely. but yeah, so, but I’ve only just moved.

I’ve moved to Tweed. So, I count that as gold coast. but yeah, I love, I love the beaches. I think the lifestyle, I love the chill lifestyle. I like the fact that everyone gets up early and goes to bed relatively early. Cause that’s what I’m like. cruising through like bars and there’s always something to do.

And when you compare that to the sunny coast suddenly is beautiful. One of my favorite places, but there’s always something to do on the gold coast. That’s that’s one of them and obviously footie’s here as well. So

Felicity Cohen: have you taken up any new hobbies, any sports that are more kind of gold coast sport that you haven’t done before?

Because you were living in. Yeah.

Kate Surman: I haven’t done anything different. I did surf a bit when I lived on the sunshine coast because I lived in Coolum. but I haven’t started anything new. I probably am surfing a lot less. We have a lot less time, but I really need to get back into the water. Cause it’s super, super fun, but yeah, there’s nothing else that started.

Felicity Cohen: Are there any the sports that you’re actually not allowed to do because they might be too high risk or potentially cause injury that you’re not allowed to expose yourself to as a football player?

Kate Surman: Yeah, I would say that would be, but I don’t think I’d really put myself in that anyway. Like I think something like water skiing, I think like white board, I think anything that’s really high speed stuff we’re not allowed to do.

Felicity Cohen: You’re allowed to ski?

Kate Surman: I don’t think so. Well, I think there was a few things with the men’s team. Like I’m not, not at the gold coast, but I think there’s been some few injuries in, you know, extreme sports that a few of the players have had to avoid them. Correct. But yeah. Other than that, like I think technically surfing is sometimes even extreme sports.

Yeah. So, you know, this usually common sense, really? like if I want to skydive, I’d probably skydive, but I’m lucky. My contracts are only six months. Slowly, you can do it in the off season.

Felicity Cohen: Well, that’s going to have to change when you become a professional player.

Kate Surman: Exactly, exactly. It’s true. Yeah.

Felicity Cohen: So what about lockdown? Did you have a period where you were actually in a lockdown space, apart from the Western Australian bubble kind of moment?

Kate Surman: We didn’t have anything that was any different to what you guys were going through. But the hardest thing that we probably found football based was access to the club because obviously the men were there and they didn’t want to cross contaminate us cause we’re out in the community.

So we lost access to club facilities, which is huge because that’s where all the gym is, all the fields, all the coaches. And that’s probably the hardest. So what me and my friends did was in our backyard, and obviously we kept it only just to the one visitor when the rules were on. we just did workouts in our backyard and run around and we went for kicks ourselves.

But I think that’s probably the hardest thing that we went through was just not being able to do things at the club, you know? And that’s where you really interact the most.

Felicity Cohen: So I’ve heard that you took up the saxophone or were you already a saxophonist?

Kate Surman: I wouldn’t call me a saxophonist, it’s not even a word.

Felicity Cohen: It is. Yes. You play the saxophone, you’re a saxophonist.

Okay, so that’s you, right?

Kate Surman: I’ll kind of, look I can play Tequila. Oh, that’s about it. yeah, no, I played it when I was at a, my fingers were traced cause I have really, really tiny hands. Like my hands are very football.

Felicity Cohen: You’ve got really small hands.

Kate Surman: It’s not fair. So I went to slippery and I go, the ball goes that way. That’s cause I have tiny hands. But, yeah. So when I was, I think I was in grade five or grade six, I wanted to apply the saxophone, but my hands too small, but, and so they made me apply the clarinet. But now looking back, I really reckon my hand they just didn’t have a saxophone for me to hire it out. So they made me learn the clarinet, but once I got a bit older and I guess my. I learned the saxophone for a year. and that’s when I learned how to play tequila and all the basic stuff, but I didn’t kind of continue to play, for any longer period of just purely because it’s too loud.

but I did go back last year. I did learn the golf. Same song on, oh, I love that. The saxophone and I made up my own notes and everything. I haven’t showed anyone though. Have you filmed it? I think

we need it. We need to get a copy

of that downloaded bits of it. I’m not sure if I’ve still got it on my phone.

Cause I was going to send it to AFL w cause I wanted me to do it and I’ll ask, but I just never went throwing that high cause I couldn’t get it like a hundred percent perfect. But I actually like learned it because one of the other girls, Laura and Bella are big, tore up. She can play the trunk. And with the gold coast suns theme.

So it goes and she could do that bit. And then I was going to run with the, you know, perfectly Jocko songs, theme song, but that’s future, maybe future activities next

season. I think we need a copy. Yeah. We’ll

try, I’ll say, Hey, I’ll see if I get, learn valid and do that

Felicity Cohen: What’s your own personal philosophy around health and wellbeing?

And you know, is your diet different when you’re in season as opposed to off season? What, what changes for you or what do you, how do you do that?

Kate Surman: Yeah, I’ve I think I’ve always lived really, really healthy. I find that I function better when I eat well and I exercise. there was a period of time when I was young, when I was probably a little bit more obsessive with it, you know, like, and I think a lot of people go through that when they’re exercising where ,you know, they I’d I’d have a day off, actually. I wouldn’t normally, and I’d kind of freak out and I think a lot of people go through that. whereas now, you know, I am very, just really consistent with my exercise, even in the off season. Like I need it for my mental health. When it comes to diet wise though.

I think you can have anything, anything eat anything, but it’s more in moderation. That’s probably what you teach is more that there’s no bad foods. There’s just

Felicity Cohen: Bad habit,

Kate Surman: Correct. Yep.

Felicity Cohen: That’s exactly the way I grew up. There are no bad foods. Only bad habit.

Kate Surman: Yeah. And I think, I think particularly the society these days, like there’s so much pressure, particularly on females to eat a certain way and to look a certain way.

And for us as footballers, I’m actually a lot bigger as a footballer than I was not being a footballer because the reality is I need to be this way to perform. You know, if I wasn’t playing football, I’d probably wouldn’t have as much muscle. I wouldn’t be as I guess, I don’t have a chunk here, I think, but I’m definitely a solid, I’m like definitely more of that muscle more field.

but yeah, once you learn that, you know, this is the best way to perform and you look like this because that’s how, what you need to perform and really be super positive on, you know, I need this and this helps me be the best I can be. So I think once we all learn that. And even men, even men and women.

Once society learns, like knows that and learns that. Then I think we’ll be so much better as a country in a world.

Felicity Cohen: And healthy food to you, is it fresh food? not packaged out of a packet. Do you do a lot of cooking? Have you got a favourite dish that you cook?

Kate Surman: I love, actually I wouldn’t say I love cooking. I like cooking. I love eating. But my favorite food would have to be Mexican. Anything Mexicans really good. I think everyone loves Mexican, don’t you?

Felicity Cohen: I love Mexican. I’m like you, I love food too.

Kate Surman: Yeah. I really, like over the last couple of years, I run out of time to cook. So I kind of have the same thing nearly every day.

But Mexican would be my go-to. Obviously my name is Spuds so I love a good hot chips. Yeah, I know it’s not healthy, but moderation. Sweet potato fries is probably the best.

Felicity Cohen: Delicious.

Kate Surman: Sometimes I can’t even have one because then I lose my moderation, but that’s okay. It’s okay. Yeah. but yeah, but even going back to like in season and training and pre-season, we actually have to eat more.

I think a lot of girls in training don’t eat enough. So I think that’s where we all go wrong is we don’t eat enough.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. Well, you need that energy supply. And especially if you’ve built more body muscle, obviously you need the fuel to function better and to perform well. So with your background, obviously that’s something that you’d be able to share with others as well.

Kate Surman: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I think too, yeah, being the physio as well, there’s a lot of injury risks with not eating well, not eating enough. and yeah, particularly like stress-related stuff and then you’re even looking at, you know, you’re going deeply into you, your mental cycle and stuff like that.

And we were really lucky. We learned about all this stuff and how your period relates to your performance and what you should be eating at certain times. And yeah, there’s a lot more studies on that now, which is really cool. Yeah.

Felicity Cohen: Really interesting.

Kate Surman: Because all the research was done on men, you know, and we’re different to men.

Felicity Cohen: Yeah. Amazing. So you’re coming into the season shortly. Your season starts in September.

Kate Surman: So that’s pre-season, we’re in pre-pre-season at the moment. And pre-season starts September and our season starts in December.

Felicity Cohen: Okay. So then what does the next six months look like for you in that lead up period?

Kate Surman: Exhaustion. Fatigue, but a lot of fun, you know. So we’ll be, you know, training we got on field four days a week and, the gym three days a week.

So a lot of hours spent at the club and a lot of exhaustion, a lot of, a lot of sweating, cause it’s gonna be really hot and it’s always really hot cause we play in the summer because the men play in the winter. So the idea it’s to be able to get more exposure for us, rather than, you know, competing with the men. Well same thing with, there’s no sport during that time.

Yeah. So as AFLW we kind of have to sacrifice a lot because it’s all through Christmas, which is not a lot of fun, but it is what it is, good for the game.

Felicity Cohen: What are you looking forward to most about the next season? And have you set some goals? What is it that you would most like to see happen next season?

Kate Surman: Look, this is simple, I’d love a win. That’d be good. I’d love to sing the song this year. That’d be great. but yeah, I think we set our sights high and we’re looking at us as a team. I think we’ve got a team that’s good enough to make finals, even though we didn’t win a game last year, our first year, the year before we were the best new team and we made finals a year before.

So I’d really like to see us make finals. For me personally, I’m moving more into more of a forward role, so I played a bit of mid forward and now I’m starting to move more into forward. So I’d love to kick some snags, that’s always good. So snag’s a goal, you got that?

Felicity Cohen: Absolutely.

Kate Surman: So, I’d love to get the goal. but yeah, my mind mostly now is that I think I want success for us as a team.

Yeah. That’s, that’s probably the most important and for the club as well. Being the club still as a young club and success hasn’t really been there for the club. And I think us as a women’s team are a little bit closer to success and the men just purely, because like AFLW is just like this, you know, anyone could win. Whereas the men, it’s just kind of slowly building. And I think, yeah, I think we can create success for Gold Coast Suns and for the Gold Coast, it’d be awesome.

Felicity Cohen: Oh, fantastic. It’s wonderful for our city. It’s great what you do. I think you’re an amazing role model for other young women coming through the sport. And, you know, hopefully we’re going to see a lot more of it. And it’d be great to see eventually one day professional AFLW would be awesome as well. And hopefully that’s the direction that you’re taking in.

Kate Surman: Well, I definitely will be professional. I’ve no doubt it’ll be a hundred percent professional in the next definitely 10 years.

Felicity Cohen: Very exciting. I have one final question that I like to ask all of my guests when they come on the wellness warriors podcast, what does wellness mean to you?

Kate Surman: Well, I think wellness is just when you’re looking at physical and mental, it’s just making sure that they both tie up and how they both interconnect. I think if physically you’re feeling good, mentally you’re feeling good and vice versa. So I think that’s the wellness of all of that is really important, but it’s also the wellness of just not you, but also the people around you as well.

Because you know, when you go into, you go into hello to someone and they’re like Debbie downer, your wellness goes down. So it’s really important that your physical, mental match, but also you’re helping everyone else around you so it lifts you up as well.

Felicity Cohen: No wonder you’re such a great team player. That’s beautiful. Thank you so much for joining me.

Kate Surman: Thank you.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you for joining the Wellness Warriors podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you enjoy the series, please leave your review, subscribe and follow . And we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

Nutritionist & Dietitian

Meet our team


Chealse Hawk

Nutrion Leader Coach

Isabelle Cole

Nutrion Coach

Joshua Chambers

Nutrion Coach

Laura Barrett

Nutrion Leader Coach