VFLW Tigers co-vice captain Elise Hogan has a busy schedule, juggling her football career with work as a primary school art teacher and a graphic designer.
But some spare time last year due to a shoulder reconstruction gave her the opportunity to tick off something at the top of her bucket list; write a children’s book.
Hogan spent six months working on her brainchild, Rocket Rosie, which she has both written and illustrated.
Rocket Rosie has already launched onto the bookshelves of over 500 Australian children. And with such an important message, and of course a touch of football, it’s not hard to see why.
The book follows the journey of Rosie, a primary school student who loves to run but does not have anyone to play with. While she would love to join in, she doesn’t know how. But one day, something happens that makes her finally feel like she belongs, with the moral of the story “be brave and be you always”.
Hogan drew inspiration for the book from her experience as a teacher at Bendigo’s Maiden Gully Primary School.
“As a teacher, you say to students ‘go find someone to play with’ but not all kids are capable of that,” she said.
“I see it every day and I think it’s a social skill that is really important that doesn’t really get taught a lot in schools. So I hope the book helps as many kids as possible.”
Incorporated at the back of the book is a lesson for kids about inclusion, which parents can go through with their children.
A children’s book was the perfect way to combine Hogan’s two careers. In addition to her teaching, Hogan and her sister have their own graphic design company, Nomad Create. The two recently designed the merchandise for Angus and Julia Stone’s world tour.
A past AFLW player for Melbourne Football Club, Hogan (former Elise Strachan), is affectionately known by her Tiger teammates as ‘Strawny’.
A handy basketballer from a young age, Hogan first dabbled in football when she ventured to a Bendigo Thunder training session one day for a kick.
“That kick lead to another kick, and then it kind of snowballed. I ended up on Melbourne’s AFLW list in the first season and gave up basketball to play footy,” Hogan said.
“It’s competitive, tough and rewarding. But the thing I love most about football is the little things, the connections you make and the feeling of being free and running around doing what you love for a club you love.”
Hogan plays in the midfield but also possesses the versatility to move up forward. She is renowned for her grit and, despite her history in basketball, her excellent foot skills.A lifelong Richmond fanatic, Hogan jumped at the opportunity to sport the yellow and black.
“I grew up in a mad Richmond family so to be able to be a fan one week then the next week be inside the four walls as a player is pretty incredible,” Hogan said.
“The culture and the group that I’ve started this journey with is really special and it’s something that I don’t take for granted. It’s a privilege to be there.”
Hogan said she is honoured to hold the duty of Richmond co-vice captain and to be at the forefront of the developing club.
“Everyone’s a leader in their own way, but to be given that title is pretty special,” she said.
“It’s not about wins and losses right now, it’s about creating a culture that people come into and don’t want to leave. Everyone’s really invested and developing as players but also as people.”
Unfortunately for Hogan, she is currently on the sidelines, suffering from post-concussion syndrome following a severe head knock in Round 4 against Williamstown.
While it is a devastating blow for both herself and the club, Hogan is certain that she will continue to perform her leadership role off the field.
“I love helping other people and helping their game and if I can do that then that’s great,” she said.
“It’s disappointing but there’s definitely more things that I can do around the club. I can make myself a better player and teammate, and I can look at the coaching side of things for a while.”
Hogan will be back. And, so might Rosie.
“To see the impact that Rocket Rosie has made so far on young kids is really rewarding so I would love to write a sequel or series with key messages,” Hogan said.
To read more about Rocket Rosie or to order a copy, go to https://www.therocketrosie.com/