DEVASTATION hit Queensland representative, Lily Postlethwaite last year when an ankle injury sidelined her from playing in her maiden AFL Women’s Under 18s tournament.
But being the positive person that she is, Postlethwaite used the injury as an opportunity to watch on and learn from the best young footballers in the country.
“I didn’t think I was really going to make Queensland last year so I was kind of surprised when Starce (Craig Starcevich, Brisbane AFLW coach and Queensland Under 18 Girls coach) picked me for that. “When I had my ankle (injury), I was just watching everything and seeing what the girls do. “We go from school girls straight into 18s. “It’s a big step-up in terms of professionalism and stuff.”
But coming into this year, the 17 year-old feels like this experience has put her ahead, as she has been able to turn the watching into doing. The star midfielder was named Queensland’s best-on-ground in all three of its games on the Gold Coast, showing her capability to tear a game apart. Perhaps the most memorable game was against Vic Metro, where her side recorded its first win of the tournament against a fancied opponent.
“It was amazing (winning),” Postlethwaite said. “First win in a Queensland jumper for myself and a fair few of the other girls. “We just came together and it was a great win. “Altogether we played really well so I was out there playing my role but altogether we did the team job.”
Postlethwaite has not been playing football for long, but has enjoyed a rapid rise to the top, as she is currently a member of the AFL Women’s Academy and the Brisbane Lions Academy. But before all this, the Queenslander used football as a means of bonding with her father.
“I didn’t start (football) that long ago,” Postlethwaite said. “I think this is my fourth club season. “I used to train with my dad at the masters club [a football club for people over 35 years old] to play just for a muck around. “Then they had a girls team there and dad’s like you should give it a go so I was like yeah why not. “From there, I didn’t look back.”
Fast forward to 2018 and the 17 year-old is enjoying being a member of two prestigious Australian Rules academies.
“That’s great, that’s been really good,” she said about the Brisbane Lions Academy. “Also we have the high performance academy for that as well on a Tuesday and sometimes a Thursday so that really helps with gym and stuff.”
The AFL Women’s Academy in particular has been a highlight for Postlethwaite, who has enjoyed developing her skills alongside the best Under-18 footballers in the country.
“That’s the best thing I’ve ever done, I love that,” she said. “All the girls from there and coming out here and playing against them has been a great experience. “Those Darwin and Melbourne trips, I’ll never forget them.”
Before she played football, Postlethwaite used to play Oztag, but gave up the sport due to its limited future options.
“I played Oztag for a fair few years for Queensland and stuff like that,” she said. “It was alright but it kind of wasn’t the sport to be in. “There wasn’t really any future for it. “I kind of wanted to change it up a bit.”
Since Postlethwaite has swapped the tag for the Sherrin, she has been able to witness the growth of female football in Australia, and now has her sights set on AFL Women’s.
“Once the AFLW opened up, watching all those girls perform well at that level, it’s something we can all aspire to for the future I guess,” she said. “It just gives us something to look forward to, we can give it our all now that we have something to aim for. “I’m just focusing on every step at the moment and working hard to get there. “Anything can happen, there’s still a long way to go.”