At 156cm tall, Zanchetta is likely the quietest of quiet achievers within our AFLW playing group. She grew up in the world of gymnastics with her twin brother, Liam and younger sister, Brooke, before discovering footy and embracing the joys of our large team sport early in high school. It quickly became a passion and an impossible dream began to develop.
“I remember watching the footy with Liam when we were 13 or 14 years old and saying, “how great would this be to have this as a job... to be a professional footballer?” Zanchetta said.
Now 24, she is living that impossible dream. But not without its challenges.
She won Queensland football’s highest honour in 2015, as the QWAFL’s Best and Fairest when playing for her club Yeronga. This elation quickly turned to frustration when she suffered an ACL injury, just two rounds into the 2016 season. Not only could she not play her beloved game each week, it ruled her out of nominating for the inaugural AFL Women’s draft in 2016.
This setback saw her move from being a certain Lions draftee to completing a 12-month rehabilitation program and facing the unknown of whether she could come back, both physically and mentally.
While her straightforward, get-on-with-it mentality shines; Jordan admits it wasn’t an easy road by any stretch.
“Looking back now I maybe would have dealt with it differently,” she said.
“I think there was a lot of self-pity where you can sink into a hole.
“It’s a long process but you talk to other people who’ve gone through it and they’ve come out the other end just fine.”
Zanchetta said she was fortunate to have such a strong network around her at this difficult time, as the support offered to semi-professional athletes now, did not exist then.
“To what we had three or four years ago it’s come such a long way,” she said.
“You have your friends and family and my local club Yeronga was really good.
“I was also fortunate to do my rehab through the Lions, so they were very supportive as well.
“Obviously it was disappointing to miss the first year, but you just keep working hard and hope it will come the next year.”
With that hard work coming to fruition as the Lions first pick at the 2017 NAB AFLW Draft and 11 games now under her belt, Jay – Z continues to grow on and off field amongst a fresh-faced Lions team.
Combining her love of animals with AFLW, she balances work commitments at a Brisbane based pet motel.
Lions teammates describe Jordan as reliable, loyal but also a tad random.
In a recent team bonding session, players were asked to share a little of themselves by talking about their most prized possession plus something they are passionate about.
One by one, the answers hummed with family and treasured keepsakes regularly referred to.
Fortunately for the group, Jordy was the last to answer and provided the room with unexpected laughter and a timely reminder of how random she can be.
Her face lit up describing the rims and detailing on her shiny red sports car and grew more serious within seconds as she quickly changed topics to the importance of the planet and animal conservation. The session instructor blurted out what we were all thinking... how does that even make sense!?
“I like cars and conservation. I have a wide range of passions... it’s really random,” Zanchetta said.
“On one end of the scale I love my car, which is giving off emissions into the environment, and on the other I’m wondering what can we do to save the planet?
“Maybe we can find a super electric, safe, but cool car to drive? It is a bit of a contradiction but one can have many passions!”
Whilst she has been a quiet achiever so far, many have noticed a developing confidence in the early stages of her 2020 pre-season.
“I try and work on myself in sharing more of who I am and building stronger relationships with teammates,” she said.
“I definitely think I’m coming out of my shell.
“Towards the end of last year and this year I feel a lot more confident and comfortable around the group.
“I think it’s a testament to the girls we have in our group – that you can open yourself up to them and be who you want to be.”
For 2020 at least, Lions supporters can be sure that Zanchetta has worked incredibly hard in her approach to pre-season.
“I really want to do the best I can for the team,” she said.
“I feel like I have a lot more to give.”