As part of our WA on Wednesday series featuring NPL WA Women players, Perth SC’s exciting attacking weapon Jaime Duncanson spoke to Impetus’ Ben Gilby about her footballing journey, trying to find a positive growth mindset, and why she loves life at Dorrien Gardens (20/7/22).
Above: Jaime Duncanson celebrates after a goal against Subiaco earlier this season. Photo: Rob Lizzi.
Whilst Jaime has loved sport since a young age, it was relatively late in her childhood that she made a conscious decision to focus on football. She explained: “I’ve always loved sport, so growing up I played lots of different sports all year round. It wasn’t until I was about 12-13 when I really fell in love with football and saw myself taking it up all year round.
“I remember going to my first ever Perth Glory Women’s game with my grandad and watching Shelina Zadorsky play. I was so in awe that she had travelled overseas to play, it was her job. I remember in that moment realising that this is something I could actually do. I will never forget that feeling.”
Duncanson’s footballing journey began 70kms to the south of Perth. “I grew up in Mandurah, so my first proper club was Mandurah City FC, I loved it there – they really pushed me to keep trying to be the best I could. When I finished high school, I decided to take football a bit more seriously, so came up to the Women’s State Premier League and became a part of what was Melville at the time. After the folding of Melville, I moved to Queens Park SC (QPSC).
“This club truly changed me as a player and person. I will always be so thankful to the amazing players, coaches, and Woodfin family for my time there. After a few amazing years at QPSC, the NPL change came in, and unfortunately, our team had to fold, so I landed at Perth SC. Somewhere I am really proud to say I was there from the beginning.”
Duncanson highlighted the one club and totally inclusive nature of the Dorrien Gardens based club, and knows how lucky she is to be at The Azzurri.
“The reason we play sport is for a sense of community and belonging. That is exactly what I feel at Perth SC. The clubs’ emphasis on the women’s game really helps the accountability of our group, and I feel we are treated with the same trust and respect as our men’s team. And above all else, I love my team and the heart we train and play with.”
Jaime sees herself as a player who “offers a quick and varied attacking threat to my team.” She enthused: “I always want to score! I have always wanted to be the kind of player where the opposition has to think twice about where I am or what I’m doing.” That has certainly been the case this season as she’s been part of a consistently dangerous group of Perth SC offensive players who have been linking up well and scoring high-quality goals.
Despite her excellent performances so far this season, Duncanson readily admits that the mental side of the game is one area that she is looking to grow in.
“The biggest battle I have had/still have struggles with sometimes is the mental one. Staying in that positive and growth mindset is easy when you are playing well, but as every player knows, rough patches come and go. It’s about accepting those times but being strong enough to know that they will come and go. I think how you come back from those moments of doubt or self-criticism says more about you as a player than your best performance.”
Perth SC went into this season on the back of a place in last season’s Top Four Cup Final, which saw them defeated by eventual champions Murdoch University Melville. The Azzurri star reflected on the 2021 campaign.
“We were so happy to make the final last year, and it’s definitely something that is on our radar for this year too. Last season was only our second as a group, so we were still building our identity as a team. There was no lack of heart or effort from the team and staff, so we are looking to keep that up this year, as well as build on our identity and new brand of football.”
That new brand of football that Jaime highlights sees Perth SC playing a passing-based game that focuses on bringing their talented midfield and striking players together in a fast-paced, skillful build-up approach. She believes that it is having a positive impact on their form so far this season.
“We have come out with a fairly new team, and new style of play, so I think we have done really well so far! It’s always going to take a while for things to settle and everyone to be on the same page, however I think the moments in games gone by are an indication of what our team is capable of. It’s been so great to be a part of and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings.
“Personally, I am always striving to be the best player I can. I take it really personally when things don’t go our way and I just want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to help my team win each week. I think I’m having a good season so far in terms of scoring, so I just want to make sure I keep that up throughout the rest of the year.”
Looking more widely at the NPL WA Women’s competition this season, Jaime sees positive growth and believes things are only going to get better.
“It’s great to see the growth of teams and clubs over the last few years. To be able to have such competitive games each week is great for all players and for the competition as a whole. We’ve seen old and new teams come and go, but what’s great is the vibe around the competition – in my opinion, players, clubs, and staff are taking it more seriously which is helping raise the bar.”