Versatile Milne enjoying social side of footy

HAVING ticked off all three areas of the football field in terms of playing positions, Queensland utility Ebony Milne “knows what’s going on” wherever she plays. Having come through a more traditional pathway after not initially falling in love with the game, the Brisbane Lions Academy member said she has loved making new friends and advancing through the system.

“I started about six or seven years ago through school,” Milne told Rookie Me Central ahead of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. “I wasn’t too interested in it, but then it grew and we put a team together at a local club and it just kicked off there.

“It’s been really exciting and really good for me. I’ve gotten a lot of out it.”

Now a top-age AFLW draft hope, Milne has been no stranger to any position on the field, and it has enabled her to be a key player when it comes to selection.

“I’ve played defence a lot last year through the Academy and through Queensland but now I’ve gone back to playing forwardline and midfield,” Milne said. “I definitely enjoy more forwardline and midfield so I’m happy that I’ve made my way back there.

“It’s really good getting to now all positions so that basically when I’m thrown anywhere I know what’s going on. It’s definitely a good thing to know.”

Along with her versatility, Milne has natural football skill at her disposal, describing her strengths as her kicking and decision making, as well as being a team-first player. Though not a high production player, Milne knows what she has to improve on in that sense.

“Sometimes I lack getting my hands on the ball a lot,” Milne said. “I put myself in good positions, but I maybe don’t yell loud enough to get it off people so just a bit of that.”

One of a number of Queenslanders who represented the Maroons last year, Milne said she was looking forward to the championships, and mingling with players aged between 15 and 19. Of all her favourite memories within the state program, the one that sticks out last year is meeting new friends through Maroons duties.

“I love it, it’s really good,” Milne said. “We’re all mixing in. Either side it was two groups and now we’re all mixing in and I’ve already made new friends which I always love the most.”

Milne is a Brisbane fan in the AFL Women’s, and a Richmond supporter in the men’s competition, with a former Lion one of the players she looks up to within the elite system.

“I’d have to say Emily Bates when she was at the Lions,” Milne said. “She played a role in the team that I always wanted to do.”

Bates’ premiership captain Emma Zielke is a mentor of Milne’s, and her input on the teenager throughout the pathway has left a lasting impression.

“She’s been one of the best coaches I’ve ever had in my whole footy career,” Milne said. “She’s always got a lot to say to you, it’s really good.”

Now approaching the last month of her junior career, Milne has her sights set on taking the next step, but is attacking it little by little starting with the national championships.

“Obviously a big goal is to get drafted but it’s going to take little steps,” Milne said. “Just going to try my hardest and see where it goes I guess.”

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