The club says fairwell to Chelsea Packer and Caitlyn Swanson, who are calling time on their SANFLW careers.
Two veterans of the game, Packer and Swanson leave as premiership players, 50-gamers, and respected leaders within the women’s program and SANFLW community.
Emotional scenes unfolded following the Bays defeat in Round 12 last month, which marked the end of an era for Packer and Swanny.
“You are pioneers of the game. You should be really proud of your careers and the work you’ve done to help create some amazing players and pave the way for us,” said captain Ellie Kellock.
GFCW Operations Manager, Richard Douglas, added: “Your achievements are a credit to yourselves and your family. You’re great footballers and fantastic role models to a young Glenelg group. You don’t have to look any further for guidance. Thank you”.
A Bays fan from young, Packer described her debut for the club in 2019 a ‘dream come true’.
Despite the then 28-year-old entering the competition at a later stage than most, she quickly made an impact and established herself as a leader on and off the field. Voted captain in 2020, just her second year with the Bays, as well as a leader from 2021 – 23, Packer has guided the team to three finals campaigns, including the historic 2021 premiership.
But for Packer, the greatest milestone of her 54-game career has simply been pulling on the guernsey.
“I honestly didn’t think I’d get this far. And being able to win a flag at the club I grew up supporting, and at the highest level I was ever going to reach, was incredibly special. But before that, even just pulling on the guernsey was just the coolest thing for me – to be wearing a guernsey because I was playing, not barracking,” Packer said.
“What a journey it’s been. It’s been such an honour to play footy for this great club and I’m so grateful. And the care and support that everyone has shown to our program across the club means so much to us. Thank you everybody, you’ve made the past five years an absolute bloody joy. I’m going to miss it so much.”
In 2024, Packer does has one thing left to tick off her footy bucket list – to play at Mundulla like her dad and brothers.
Swanson has been dominating the competition since its inception in 2017, making her debut for West Adelaide before transferring to Sturt in 2018, where she captained for two years. Finally, in 2021, she landed at the Bay and hasn’t looked back. Overall, she is proud to have 61 SANFLW games to her name.
Featuring in 35 games for the Tigers, Swanson played a key role up forward, booting 28 goals over three years. And although she’s played for three SANFL clubs, she admitted that Glenelg will always hold a special place in her heart.
“I’ve been really lucky to play at this level for a long time, but finishing here has honestly changed my life. The friendships I’ve made here are forever. Thank you for welcoming me in 2021, it’s been a great three years,” she said.
However, Swanson assured everyone this isn’t the end, and that you can catch her at “Morphies” next season.
The Club wishes Chelsea and Caitlyn all the best and thanks them for their immense contribution towards the women’s program.