“I thought it was really strange. I’d never seen girls play footy before!"
Kaitlyn Ashmore’s journey to the AFLW big time didn’t start from birth. She wasn’t kicking a footy when she came out of the womb and she sure wasn’t enthralled by the game before she could talk.
In fact, she grew up with a family heavily involved in baseball and athletics, which she thrived on until she hit high school.
However, Ashmore’s journey to make her mark in the Inaugural AFL Women’s Competition is an inspiring one and an adventure that she’s taken on board with open arms.
“I found footy when I went to high school, in Year 7,” Ashmore said.
“My friend played with the boys and I thought it was completely out of the park."
While the spectacle of AFL for females was something out of the ordinary for Ashmore, she quickly settled into her high school team and found a hunger for the evolving game.
“Because I could run, they put me in the midfield and I was just a ball chaser. It was really different back then,” she said.
“But I loved that team environment that came with it. I found a team to continue with when I finished Year 12, in Ballarat and [my passion] grew from there.”
Fast forward to the end of 2016, Ashmore was picked up as a priority for the Inaugural Brisbane Lions AFLW team, meaning she had to pack up everything and move up the coast to start her dream AFLW journey.
“I had to leave Ballarat for Brisbane and I had never really lived far away from home,” Ashmore said.
“So I packed up the car, moved everything up there. I just loved it as soon as I got up there,” Ashmore said.
“I lived across the road from the GABBA. It was like I was living a dream.”
Although Ashmore’s periods away from home in Brisbane were rewarding for her and her footy, she began to struggle with the balance between her family in Victoria and her career with the Lions, towards the end of 2018.