Women in the Turf Industry – Eden Zanker

We sat down with Sports Turf apprentice and 1st pick for Melbourne in the AFLW draft in 2017, Eden Zanker, to hear her perspective on the industry.

• What lured you to study in the Turf Industry?
I have a farming background and a lot of the concepts of fertilizers (and their ratios), sprays, management of irrigation etc. So, a lot of the things involved with the turf industry I already enjoyed anyway.

• Where have you studied so far and what course?
So far studying at Holmesglen at the Waverley campus, going into the second year of my apprenticeship (sports turf management). And currently sanctioned at the Cranbourne turf club.

• Overview of your role at work?
As an apprentice I’m actually quite lucky to be involved with a lot of the load at work. I’m encouraged to part take in most procedures that happen at the racecourse. As such, upkeep of the turf, mowing routine, irrigation, and general maintenance and upkeep of the area.

• What do you like most about your job?
Honestly, I love every aspect of my job, I get to work with really good, genuine people, I have a lot of flexibility with sport, and I love working outdoors. So, it’s hard to choose.

• Congratulations on your recent Awards, can you outline them for us please?
Thank you very much, appreciate it! I’ve recently had the honour of being named outstanding first year turf apprentice and receiving the perc Moore award. Both awards mean a great deal to me. Seeing the acknowledgement from external people really makes sure that I am doing things right and that the hard work I’m doing is paying off.

• What are your long-term plans for your career in the turf industry?
Good question, obviously would love to be main curator of a track or course one day, that’s my ultimate goal, but ill just take things day by day, hopefully earn a diploma in sports turf management, and take things from there. Long term I don’t see myself leaving the industry.

• How did you get into AFLW and which team are you playing for?
Just got into AFLW through my love for footy. I live(d) in a small community called Natya. Being so isolated there was no women’s football out there, so I had to travel 2 ½ hours to Bendigo every Sunday to play in an under 18s league. From my first training there I got picked up with the Bendigo pioneers, played 3 games with the pioneers and then got selected in the Victoria country under 18s side, which play a championship up in QLD, we went through that undefeated, from there got selected in the all Australian team and then got drafted. This all happened in a year, so it was pretty full on but thankfully my school (Tooleybuc central school) was so flexible.

Currently playing for the Melbourne football club and I will be going into my 4th year next season.

• What other general information or interests do you have?
Hopefully its not too cliché, but I really do enjoy spending time with my family. I realise now that I live out of home, and 6 hours away, that time I spent previously with my family I took for granted, and I didn’t know that until I had to move out. So I ensure that anytime I get back home I’m doing all I can to see my family and appreciate the time I have with them. I enjoy most outdoor activities (fishing, dirt bike riding…anything to do with outdoors really).

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