She’s a different person, and player, to when she was drafted. Coming in at 18, Bonnici was used mostly as a tagger for the first three years, which she says meant she never “had to worry about what the team was doing as such or game plan”.
“My mentality was just if I do my job, well, then the team will be better for it. Whereas now I understand that, you know, there’s only so much your job can do if the others aren’t clear in their role,” said Bonnici.
“I was just very focused on what I was doing. Whereas now, one of the proudest spots of not even just my career, but my life, is being part of this footy club and being part of Collingwood.
“You know, the men’s team is successful now, but there were years where they weren’t, and I understand what Collingwood has sort of built from, where they’ve come from.
“There’s something really powerful in that. I really get joy out of understanding that I am a part of that now as well and that I can continue to grow it and in 100 years, you know, people are going to look back at the women’s team, the way that we sort of look at the men’s team of coming from nothing and being able to build themselves up.”
So, throughout her bumpy ride from teenager to now 25 and a leader and senior figure at the club, is she proud of her journey so far?
“I think like you have to be. Like, rehab is so shit, it really is,” she said.
“It would be so easy just to be the same person that I was before rehab and just close the door and say well, rehab was very hard, and it’s done, but it allows you to be a better person, and it allows you to be a better teammate.
“And at the end of the day, footy is about connection and I have learned to be more connected than ever, and how can you not be proud of that?”