USING her experience to lead by example has been a cornerstone of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels captain Lauren Butler’s game this season. While Butler said her skills and decision making are among her personal strengths on the field, she has been working hard to use her experience over years of football to guide her younger teammates throughout the TAC Cup Girls season.
“I’d like to think I lead mostly by example but then just guiding the other girls,” Butler said. “I think I’ve been playing Rebels for a few years now, I’d like to think I’m a bit more experienced and can just help all the younger girls coming through and make sure they’re doing the right things. “Inspiring them.”
Butler said she had found the group to be more gelled in 2018, with many of the players having spent more and more time together over the years and the cohesion of the side was impressive.
“I think our connectiveness as a team I feel really gelled together really well,” Butler said. “It’s been the same for the last few years, we have a really good culture which is good to see it continuing. “Of course the standard of skills and the professionalism that is expected of us and that we’re bringing to the club is rising and continues to rise.”
The Rebels utility has played everywhere on the ground and has always enjoyed a kick of the football since she was young.
“I started playing Auskick when I was about five years-old or so and I’ve always loved footy since I was little,” Butler said. “After Auskick I pretty much kicked in the backyard with my brothers and then I started playing at school in Year 7 and have been playing club footy for about four or five years now.”
Butler said she has always enjoyed the pressure part of Australian Rules football and enjoyed the mix of hardness and skill, something that has kept her in love with the sport over the years.
“I guess I’ve always been pretty competitive so I love the competitive side of it,” Butler said. “I think there’s so many different skills to master about football so yeah I just enjoy the competitive nature.”
After playing for the Western Bulldogs in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s, Butler has enjoyed the rise up the ranks and hopes to continue that with the AFL Women’s Draft looming next month. She has enjoyed a good carnival for Vic Country at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, and has plenty to improve on going forward.
“I think I’ve still got a lot more to improve on physically, and just with my smarts around football too,” she said. “I’d like to go as high as possible.”
While her career is still young, Butler has a standout memory that she will never forget – the close bond with her school mates at Ballarat Grammar taking out the prestigious Herald Sun Shield in Melbourne.
“Last year I got to play on Etihad Stadium for my school Ballarat Grammar in the Herald Sun Shield,” Butler said. “We won that year it was a really good experience and just built really good friendships with my school friends, it was really good.”