Cross-coding Kimber makes footy a family affair

QUEENSLANDER Kaylee Kimber took the term ‘football family’ literally when she decided to take up the sport. Having previously played netball, the 18-year-old Gold Coast Suns Academy member got into football after seeing her brother play, and joined up locally with her mother.

A couple of years later, and she has represented her state at the Under 17 and 19 National Championships, turned out for the Suns in Academy Series and NAB League outings, and is looking to cap her steep climb by making the AFLW grade.

“I started off with netball, then last year I changed to AFL,” Kimber said. “So this is my second year of footy and I’ve just progressed with the Suns.

“My family started getting into it, my brother started playing a year before me and I wanted to join and play more of a contact sport. I think my mum wanted to play too so I thought I’d just play with her.”

“It’s crazy. “I didn’t expect to get here just from playing last year. “But the level is crazy, it’s very good footy.”

At 174cm, Kimber plies her trade behind the ball and featured on the very last line for Queensland in this year’s Under 18 carnival. Capable of matching up on smalls and talls, or advancing further afield, enhancing her level of footy IQ remains a key improvement area for the cross-coder.

“I play full back, my strengths are probably my run-and-carry and I’ve got a big kick,” she said. “Then also my defensive pressure and spoils.

“At the moment I feel like I’m not as footy smart, just because I’m new to football. “Knowing where to be, where to get the ball and just my tackle pressure, I think I need to improve… (and) still my kicking.”

With effectively all of her on-field commitments completed in a junior pathway sense, the over-ager now faces an agonising wait to learn her fate when it comes to AFLW. There is QAFLW competition with the undefeated Southport to keep her occupied, but Kimber is improving her skills to meet the final goal of being drafted – “a great achievement” in her eyes.

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