Mullins relishes opportunities against the best

CONSECUTIVE seasons of representative experience and learning with the Brisbane Lions Academy means Charlotte Mullins has mixed it with the best. With the 2022 AFLW Under 18 National Championships recently concluded, draft hopefuls like Mullins have effectively completed the on-field portion of their junior talent pathway.

Though there is a great deal of unknown surrounding the immediate future of AFLW, Mullins and her cohort of future stars can look forward to draft combines and potentially making the step to the elite level. Speaking during this year’s national carnival, the 17-year-old said the state experience was a positive one, en route to her draft dream.

“Hopefully I can get drafted,” Mullins said. “I started so long ago. “I made the Queensland squad last year and played with a few of the girls, then made it again this year which was good. “I came from the Lions Academy too, it’s all been great.”

After game one she hoped to have “two better games” to round out the campaign, but Mullins ended up as one of Queensland’s top performers overall. The versatile talent is a classy outside player, and has featured virtually everywhere this season – including on the inside during the Lions Academy’s NAB League Girls stint.

“The NAB League Girls game, that was a really good experience,” she said. “We got to play the Western Jets who were the premiers this year so it was a great opportunity… (midfield) is my best position, then rotating forward as well.”

Mullins adjusted to the inside role well, collecting 20 disposals and laying seven tackles in a tough loss. She went on to average 15 touches and three clearances per her trio of championship outings, showing her wares and versatility in a different kind of role once again.

When quizzed on her strengths and improvement areas as a player, there was no real Mullin’ about the youngster’s response.

“(My strengths are) definitely taking grass and kicking, ground balls I can work on obviously, and midfield craft… (I’m also working on) leading, and getting those clean marks, possessions and goals would be great.”

A Brisbane Lions fan having come through the club’s junior system, Mullins tries to mould her game around Isabel Dawes, who she says she “really likes” as a player. With expansion on the horizon, plenty of young guns like Mullins will soon have the opportunity to join the likes of Dawes at the next level.

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