Annie Maynard & Isabella Giovinazzo are two of Playing For Keeps‘ cast, 10’s drama which centres around the ladies of the Southern Jets.
This season while Jessie (Giovinazzo) wants to realise her dream of playing professional football, Maddy (Maynard) now has to add the duties of coach’s wife.
The Screentime series juggles all kinds of storylines around Wives and Girlfriends of players… but is it all at the expense of real world WAGs? Indeed is WAGs a dirty word?
“It’s something we’ve wrestled with,” admits Annie Maynard.
“I think it’s contextual. It depends on how people are using it. So for my character, that is one part of who she is. She’s incredibly proud of Travis (Kevin Hofbauer) and she’s a passionate football follower.
“She’s not just an attachment to his identity.”
“But also, she’s not just an attachment to his identity. She has her own trajectory. So if you were to just describe her as a WAG, I think it could be derogatory. But it’s also something that she can champion if it’s in the right way.”
Maynard is best known for titles including Upper Middle Bogan, Puberty Blues, Dead Lucky, Love Child and A Moody Christmas. Season 2 of the 10 series sees her tackling mental health storylines for Maddy, while keeping up an outward WAG profile.
“You can be quite high functioning and appear to be coping quite well when actually there are struggles going on. So within that storyline, I’ve had to do some pretty emotional stuff,” she explains.
“I think that the public face of being a WAG is a bit of a job.”
“I think that the public face of being a WAG is a bit of a job. So once you understand the machinations of that and how to present and how to perform that part of your identity, that’s not always the hardest part. It’s actually what’s going on underneath the surface and the real ruptures in relationships. This is what I find to be Maddy’s challenge.”
While she’s had reactions from professional women, and even lawyers, Maynard hasn’t had any contact directly from actual WAGs, but she’s also relaxed about it.
“Personally, I don’t know if that would be helpful for me if they had a response that was, ‘That’s not how I live my life.’ That’s a completely valid response because it’s totally fictional.”
Also juggling the glam, fictional world of the Southern Jets is Isabella Giovinazzo whose character Jessie is partner to Rusty (Ethan Panizza). This season Jessie breaks the WAG mould by playing women’s football.
“Football has always been Jessie’s passion,” she explains. “She got married and had kids early. She always wanted to be a professional footballer, but they started AFLW around the time she began her family. So she just missed out.
“This season she gets the chance to pick up on her dreams, where she left off.
“This year has more women’s stories, as opposed to the whole team. It was always a show about five women, but there’s just slightly different dynamic this year.”
“I’m a big fan of Aaron Sorkin”
Giovinazzo actually trained as a filmmaker at Swinburne Film and Television before a detour into acting after one of her own short films.
“I’m a big fan of Aaron Sorkin and he says the benefit of going to uni is that you get to make all your mistakes in this protected environment,” she continues.
“And it’s true, that’s what we did. I met my best friends and they’re still my best friends and made a bunch of crap films, but since then I wrote something that I decided to perform.
“I just felt so much more connected to that film.
“I learned that is the best way for me to contribute to filmmaking. It just felt more right than directing or writing.”
This season has surely been demanding, with Giovinazzo having to become practised at Australian Rules.
“I’ve never played any team sports ever so I was starting from scratch, but it’s so fun. I’ve developed a huge passion for football …both following it, and learning to apply myself. I’m really enjoying it.”
Playing for Keeps airs 8:30pm Wednesday on 10.