The Brisbane Lions have built a core of much loved and admired players - stars and role players alike - since their AFLW journey began.
While several talented players have moved on, with each successive season the culture of the club and consistency of their on-field performances has grown, something which speedy forward/midfielder Kate McCarthy is quick to highlight.
“Our team’s changed a lot, we’ve lost a lot of players which was probably going to happen with expansion...we’ve also got a lot of new young girls and the experience of [former Blues skipper] Lauren Arnell from Carlton. We haven’t lost too much [culturally] and we’ve gained a lot of new perspectives and fresh ideas.”
Of these fresh new faces set to join the side in season three, almost all hail from the Sunshine State, a powerhouse for women’s and girl’s Australian Football development. This is something much lauded by AFL Queensland and the Brisbane Lions, though it hasn’t necessarily cut through in the traditional hub of the game, Melbourne.
“Since we’ve started, the growth in Queensland of women’s football has been phenomenal [however] the media coverage from the draft would probably indicate that we’re still not getting a lot of attention up here, which suits us perfectly fine; we kinda use that as a little bit of fuel for the fire.
“I think it’s because we’re not from a ‘traditional football state’ - but when you look at the girls coming through, they’ve played football their entire lives. I also know that girls who have been playing other sports have changed to football because they see a pathway there and somewhere where they can be themselves.”
2019 - Year of the Lion 🦁. This is where you can find me from Feb-March if you’re interested 😉 Great draw for us 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/aR6J4OBg4r— Kate McCarthy (@kateemac9) October 26, 2018
The gains for the women of Brisbane have also had an impact on the men’s side of the Lions, according to McCarthy.
“We’re in such a good phase with where we want to be as a club, both the men and women. I think our success at the women’s team has helped breed a better culture of success at the club, it’s given fans, the boys, everyone...something to be proud of and I think that’s filtered down to the men’s season as well.
“I think the culture of the boys’ side has changed a lot - we’ve seen that over the last two years with the recent signings of Lachie Neale and Lincoln McCarthy & strong re-signings of young players who have been drafted from interstate, something we haven’t seen for really the past five years.