Tributes are pouring in after the death of Greater Western Sydney AFLW player Jacinda Barclay, who also represented Australia at five baseball World Cups.
Barclay died at the age of 29 in the Perth suburb of Chidlow on Monday and her family said on Wednesday her memory would be a “beacon” for all sportswomen.
“She was a shining comet that soared through this world casting her radiant light of love on all she met,” Barclay’s family said in a statement.
“Though that comet has now shattered into a million pieces, the memory of it will remain a beacon for all women in high profile sports to strive to excel, to dare to be great while staying humble and proud.”
WA Police said Barclay’s death was not being treated as suspicious.
A host of her AFLW counterparts took to social media to pay homage while GWS CEO David Matthews said Barclay would “always be a part of our club”.
“Jacinda was a much-loved member of the Giants family and we are all devastated by her passing,” Matthews said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Jacinda gave up a great deal to follow her sporting dreams around the world and we are grateful that she called our club home for four years… Jacinda’s spirit and infectious personality made her a popular and unforgettable member of the Giants family.
“She will always be a part of our club.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with Jacinda’s family and friends during this extremely tough time.”
The talented sportswoman made her international baseball debut as a 17-year-old and won a silver medal at the 2010 World Cup before she played American football in Australia and the US between 2012 and 2016 and then turned her attentions to AFLW.
Barclay joined the competition in the Giants’ first season in 2017, playing a total of 23 games and kicking 11 goals in four campaigns.
The West Australian-born Barclay began playing Australian Rules football at the age of 12 but concentrated on baseball in her teenage years.
She represented Australia’s national women’s baseball team the Emeralds at World Cups in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Barclay’s American football career included spells with the NSW Surge for the inaugural 2013-14 season of LFL Australia and as a quarterback led them to a title in the competition’s lone campaign.
In 2016, Barclay was scouted by the Chicago Bliss for America’s Legends Football League and won a championship in her first season.
She returned to Australian Rules football when the AFLW began.
“Jacinda’s loss will be taken very hard by so many people within our game across all levels,” AFL head of women’s football Nicole Livingstone said.
“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to express my deepest compassion to the Barclay family, friends and colleagues.”
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