International Women's Day - Staff Spotlight: Bianca Litchfield

09 Mar 2022

At 24 years old, Bianca Litchfield is the Performance Analyst for Collingwood's Netball, AFLW and VFL teams.

"My journey to get to where I am now started with a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne and then a Master of Applied Sports Science at Deakin University."

It was an impromptu connection with now Head of Women's football, Jessica Burger, that helped Bianca earn an internship at Collingwood in the high performance program in 2019. Impressing during her placement, Bianca's ability to make a real impression in the AFL program put her in great stead going forward.

Unfortunately due to the implications of COVID during the 2020 AFL season, Bianca was forced to complete her internship working from home. 

However, as reward for her hard work and with Burger and Head of Performance Intelligence & Analytics, Anthony Stoitsis as references, Bianca earned an opportunity working with Collingwood's Netball team at the end of 2020.

Bianca speaks very highly of both Burger and Stoitsis, emphasising how their teachings have been crucial in developing her skills in the industry.

"'Burgs' has been a really big influence on where I am now. I've followed a lot of her career progression so far. It's been awesome to have her in my corner since I've been at the Pies; having her guide me through my career and giving me tips along the way, it's the same with 'Stoits' (Anthony Stoitsis) as well."

Passionate about her work, Bianca's experience in the Netball program has developed her understanding of what makes working at Collingwood so special. 

"[Sport] brings people together from all walks of life, from different cultures and backgrounds. Here at the Pies, in the Netball team we've got people from Jamaica, England, we've got people from all over the place. Just the way it brings people together is so great, you feel a sense of belonging and a real sense of pride every time you walk into the club and every time you see your team take the field or court."

"It's incredible to feel a part of something bigger, I know that sounds cliche, but it's great."

Working across multiple programs, it's no surprise that Bianca has a particularly busy schedule, balancing the expectations of multiple coaches and athletes. 

"It's definitely challenging at times. I think I have the most colour coordinated and organised calendar."

"I have a lot of support behind me, including a group of interns that help me out at the club. It's important for me to lean on them when I need it, which I think helps their development as much as it helps mine."

"It can be really challenging managing the expectations of three different coaches each week. What's been really important for me has been understanding what those expectations are and how each coach works so I can ensure I know every task that needs to be done on my end to keep them happy and each team functioning effectively."

Working across both female and men's programs, Bianca is exposed to multiple different high performance environments. 

"Personally, I haven't experienced differences in the way I'm treated across different programs. Obviously being at a club where footy has been here for 130 years and we're only in year six of women's sport at the club, there's going to be differences in pay, resources and staffing."

"I think what's been really good to see is the progress the club has been making. Having people work across multiple high performance programs, you can really see that we're evening up that playing field across the club."

As a young role model for anyone looking to work in sport, Bianca provided advice to those aspiring to be in a similar position to her.

"I think I was scared at the start to reach out to other people and ask for help along the way."

"For anyone that wants to work in sport, and females in particular, you just have to be confident and take every opportunity you can...people really do want to help you."

With Collingwood's AFLW team on the verge of finals, and the Netball and VFL seasons almost upon us, the club looks forward to seeing Bianca's continued contribution to our high performance programs in 2022 and beyond.