Rising Star Roy ready to rock

TIED to the Brisbane Lions through both passion and their Academy, Laura Roy is hitting her straps at the right time of the year. The Lions Academy skipper has enjoyed returning to the QAFL Women’s for reigning premiers University of Queensland, where she picked up a Rising Star nomination on the weekend.

In the Red Lionesses’ win over Yeronga South Brisbane, top-ager Roy collected 23 disposals, three marks, four clearances, 11 tackles, nine inside 50s and booted a goal. She boasted an impressive 69.6 per cent disposal efficiency, made all the more remarkable by a 79.3 contested rate.

Eligible to be picked up at the end of year, Roy, a Brisbane supporter is looking to complete her schooling first and preferably stay in her home state if the Lions – or Suns – but has not ruled out a move interstate if the interest was there

“Finish Year 12 and get into a uni hopefully,” Roy said of her 2023 goals. “Then also get drafted as well. Queensland’s nice and near my family, but anywhere really.”

Roy enjoys hanging out with her dog Archie and going to the beach as many in the Sunshine State do, but the Lions Academy draft prospect has a unique backstory compared to most.

“I used to live in the Northern Territory and played in Darwin,” Roy said. “I was sick of sitting on the sidelines watching my sisters play and I was like ‘I want to play now’. Then I kept playing and here I am now.”

Unlike many of her peers whose older siblings did not get access to playing Aussie rules, Roy has been able to follow in the footsteps of her two older sisters, and joined them at Morningside when her family moved from the Top End to Queensland in 2021.

While moving states as an older teenager can be challenging, Roy said everyone had been welcoming, and her rise into the Lions Academy happened swiftly. In 2023, she was nominated as captain of the Academy during a three-game stint in the Coates Talent League.

“It was pretty good,” Roy said. “I got voted in by my teammates and I didn’t really expect it and I was happy that they viewed me like that. It was something that I pride myself on just doing what I do.”

Priding herself on not only her leadership, but having a penetrating kick and strong tackle pressure, Roy is looking to improve a combination of her groundballs and endurance. The latter will help her further develop her midfield craft.

Anticipating to start in her usual defensive role and rotate on-ball for her state as she did for the Red Lionesses on the weekend, Roy hopes to follow in the footsteps of Lions defender Shannon Campbell.

“She’s really just courageous and has a really good mark and a good kick on her,” Roy said of her mentor who also coached her in the Talent League. Alongside Campbell, the Lions Academy had a star-studded coaching lineup of current players in Campbell, Isabel Dawes and Natalie Grider, as well as former player and premiership skipper Emma Zielke.

The Lions supporter is hoping to join them at the elite level one day, but for now is setting her sights on the AFLW Under 18 Championships. Her Academy teams up with the Gold Coast Suns Academy – both went undefeated in the Talent League – as Queensland.

The Maroons face off against the unbeaten reigning titleholders South Australia at Adelaide Oval as a curtain raiser to the Adelaide-GWS clash that night. Roy said she was looking forward to sharing the field with the Suns Academy players in a competitive sense.

“I was in the Queensland squad last year so I knew a few of the Suns girls already and they’re all really nice too,” she said.

After returning home from the trip to Adelaide on Saturday, Queensland have two more AFLW Under 18 Championships matches against Vic Country and the Allies. The clash with Country takes place on July 30 at Brighton Homes Arena in Springfield, the Brisbane Lions’ homeground, while the battle with the Allies is at Heritage Bank Stadium in Carrara, the Gold Coast Suns’ homeground on August 6.

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