LFL Australia, Player Feature | Shari Onley, Michael McGill, LFL360.com
‘The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will’. The great Vince Lombardi said these words and they describe perfectly the NSW Surge player Shari Onley.
Shari is one of the most dedicated, committed and driven players in the Australian LFL competition. She has the will power and focus that stands her head and shoulders above her competitors. There have been no short cuts when it comes to her training and preparation for this season.
Her Surge team mates have nothing but respect for her both on and off the field. Wide receiver Corban McGregor says, ‘Shari is an inspiring leader who knows how to get her team mates ready for battle. She is such a strong and confident person who always brings the best out in us with her crazy positive energy.’
Her personal preparation for this season has been nothing short of remarkable. There is strength training twice a week, speed and agility three times a week, football training three times a week and constant mobility work. Shari adds, ‘Mental preparation has a huge focus making sure my mind is right and all the girls are working towards the same goal.’ Monique Gaxiola remarks, ‘She is a hard worker and trains her butt off which pays off on game day. You couldn’t ask for more from a team mate.’
Roger Fabri is a professional speed and agility trainer who works with many NRL players and professional athletes. He has been working with Shari in her own time and has nothing but praise for her saying, ‘Physical presence does not put you in an elite level of athleticism. Dedication to movement patterns that require coordination, balance and power is the reason she separates herself.’
It is that drive and motivation that has seen the NSW Surge start the season with a bang beating the QLD Brigade 44-6 in the inaugural LFL game at Centrebet Stadium two weeks ago. With her power and strength Shari was one of the standout players in the game with her trade mark blocking and hard hits which paved the way for her teammates to find the endzone.
When asked how it felt to get the Surge season off to a flying start with a big win against rivals Queensland, Shari mentions, ‘It felt amazing, we have been working towards this for two years so the anticipation was huge, knocking out a win made it that much sweeter. Props go to the QLD Brigade for giving it their all. Out here there are no easy games’. She continues, ‘The reception from fans was phenomenal. We are driven through our strong connection with New South Welshmen and their communities. To also know that seasoned footballers and coaches in the crowd were impressed by the calibre of football meant a lot.’
Speaking with Surge fan Christian Radcliffe after the game he was full of praise for Shari saying, ‘The presence of Shari on the field gave NSW Surge the physical and mental edge over the Brigade. It was a great debut with a win and touchdown. I will be back again on 28th December!’
Shari is all about the team when talking about the game, preferring to give praise to those around her instead of basking in the glory of a dominating performance. She mentions, ‘My specialty pancake hit was a massive hit with the crowd but at the end of the day my blocking is useless if the girls around me don’t do their job. I have Charmaine and Big Nasty (Quincy Hewitt) on the line with me. They are the unsung heroes. As a unit we executed our assignments, together with Bon Bon’s (Bonnie Gillespie) sharp cuts finding the hole which meant plenty of run yards. Sinbad (Jacinda Barclay) is cool and calm and knows where to use her energy. It is a big part of why she’s the most well rounded QB.’
As an inspirational leader of the team Shari has become a mentor to many of her younger team mates like Bronte Zeiher who adds, ‘Shari is a little bit of a mentor to me. She’s taken me under her wing and helped me with everything from mental preparation, disciple, strength training and nutrition. She leads the team through her actions.’ Amanda Janes agrees, ‘She always has and always will be 100% committed and dedicated to this team. She doesn’t have to do this, she wants to do it. That is why she is seen as a dominant leader in our team. I am so lucky to play alongside such a Legend. Shari has helped make my journey in the LFL an amazing experience and it wouldn’t really be the same without her.’
With comments like that you can see why her team mates and coaches hold her in such high regard. When asked to describe Shari you get responses like loyal, determined, fierce, inspirational, focused, caring, strict, intimidating, consistent, dedicated and relentless.
This week Shari and the NSW Surge head to Western Australia where they play the WA Angels who are coming off a narrow loss to the Victorian Maidens. It will be a tough road trip travelling from one side of the country to the other. Shari says of the upcoming game, ‘We are expecting WA to be more aggressive than QLD. The Angels also have a large fan base and home ground advantage however Saturday is just another game for us, no bigger, no smaller, we have a job to do. Good is never enough, we can always improve, we are striving for perfection and every game, every practice brings us one step closer. Surge Pride is fierce in our camp; our culture is discipline.’
A win in Perth will put the New South Wales Surge on top of the table and one step closer to the LFL final where we will see the crowning of the Inaugural Australian LFL Champions. This game has a lot riding on it and the Surge will arrive in Perth ready for battle.
Batten down the hatches as a Surge is on its way!