Play smarter not harder – that is the key to winning in the AUL for Adelaide Dragons player Michaela Dunmall.

The English born, Adelaide raised athlete has been playing Ultimate for five years after spending her junior years play football. She has relished the challenge of the mixed gender sport, reaching the elite level of the AUL after a decorated representative career.

Michaela, 23, was a bronze medalist in women’s side The Stingrays at the 2018 World under-24 Ultimate Championships in Perth, competed at the World Ultimate Club Championships with mixed side Vanguard and has travelled with the Asian-Oceanic All Stars and competed in the Asia-Oceanic Ultimate Championships.

Embracing mixed gender sport

While other sporting codes may shy away from mixed gender sides, Michaela said it was one of the greatest strengths of the AUL and Ultimate in general.

“As an athlete who came from an all female sporting background before playing mixed Ultimate I feel like the environment is far more social and welcoming,” she said.

And the key is to use the individual strengths of every athlete on the field, regardless of their gender.

The team who uses all the players on the field usually wins the game,” Michaela said.

“As a spectator it’s important to see the different skills each player brings to the game.

“Being able to play in that mixed environment at a professional level is extremely exciting as it brings another element into the game that pushes my skills and forces me to work harder and play smarter.”

Food for thought

Michaela’s Ultimate journey began with an obsession for brunch. After years of slogging it out on a football pitch, she wanted some time away from sport at university but her best friend Wilson lured her into Ultimate by using brunching as the carrot.

“Wilson started asking me to throw with him in exchange for going out to brunch, and I love brunch so I did it,” Michaela laughed.

By the time the next university social league rolled around he had me hooked.”

She said spectators could expect high-octane action in the 2019 edition of the AUL, which has been refined after its debut in 2018.

“Playing against such a tight clock really means teams put their foot on the pedal from the very beginning knowing if you come out of the gate firing you can run away with a set,” she said.

“Honestly, the AUL this year feels bigger and better.”