TOOWOOMBA’S Courtney Browne has left no stone unturned in her dream to reach the elite level of Australian rules football. The Brisbane Lions Academy member and Yeronga South Brisbane teenager moved down from North Queensland in search of more football opportunities, and though she has had to juggle her school and spot commitments, as well as manoeuvre through challenging weather conditions, she has been able to represent her state on Metricon Stadium.
“I started off with Auskick when I was in Grade 5. I loved it then so then I got into junior footy. I’m from Toowoomba so I played my junior footy in Toowoomba and then went off to Brisbane and I’ve been playing there since. I’ve played for (Jindalee) Jags two seasons and now I’m playing for Yeronga in QAFL.”
Yeronga South Brisbane – located on the banks of the Brisbane River – copped the brunt of the South East Queensland floods earlier this year, disrupting the Red Lionesses’ preseason. Luckily the QAFL Women’s side had alternative training venues, and the players are now back at the club. For Browne, it was certainly an experience, but the running defender has become used to rolling with the punches which included adapting to life in the big smoke.
“It was difficult trying to work out managing school on top of football and everything like that, but it’s worth it I reckon,” Browne said.
As fate would have it, Browne would run out with Queensland at the 2022 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships on Metricon Stadium against Vic Metro, something the teenager will always cherish.
“It was an experience I tell you, but it was lovely,” Browne said. “I feel very honoured to play on here and it’s an experience that I probably won’t forget.”
Browne has a number of inspirations over the journey, mainly those who got her into the code back home, who she credits with being keys behind her success to-date.
“I have a couple from my junior footy, people getting me involved so Jeff Newman, Taz Miles and all of that,” she said. “They got me into football and I feel like I wouldn’t be here without their support and all that towards my footy.”
On the field, Browne is looking to improve her fitness to be able to play more efficiently for longer periods of time, as she is currently a fierce defensive player who thrives on beating her opponents.
“(My strengths are) my ability to apply pressure on and off the footy,” Browne said. “Trying to psych out my player to get her feeling uncomfortable and second guess herself. I feel like I’m pretty strong with that.”
Browne is interested in studying midwifery outside of football, though on the field, she is determined to reach the top level of football, whenever that may be.
“I want to get drafted eventually and this being my draft year, hopefully I get that opportunity to show my best footy,” Browne said. “Of course being in the state team I get an opportunity to show off a bit.”