Sheridan taking nothing for granted after ACL return

IN the wake of over-ager Brooke Sheridan realising her dream of making it onto an AFL Women’s list, the newest Brisbane Lions footballer will never forget her journey. The talented forward was a promising prospect set for a huge 2022 season, but an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury derailed that year.

Missing out on a chance in Season 7, Sheridan got back to work on her craft, returned via the Coates Talent League and Brisbane Lions Academy, and produced a consistent few months of football. Gaining another chance to represent Queensland at the AFLW Under 18 Championships, Sheridan she as not taking anything for granted.

“I worked a little bit, but the focus really was just getting back to footy,” Sheridan said. “Once I flicked that switch and I was like ‘okay I’m going to do everything I can to get back to footy’, started getting heavy into rehab. I did back off for six months after the injury, just took a bit of a toll then really got back into it.”

Sheridan admits the early stages of rehab for the poorly timed knee injury were tough. Especially given physically she had felt strong heading into the preseason off the back of a solid bottom-age year for Queensland and her QAFL Women’s side, Wilston Grange.

“Heading into last year was feeling good heading into preseason, I was definitely a lot more there physically than I was mentally,” Sheridan said. “Then did the knee, that took a very, very hefty toll mentally. That was a bit of a struggle to get through but ends up on the outside of that really just taught me just don’t take for granted, especially from living with football and then getting really back into it.”

Sheridan made the move to University of Queensland for the 2023 QAFLW season, and booted 12 goals in seven games. Five of the matches yielded multiple goals, including a three-goal haul against her former Gorilla teammates.

At the AFLW Under 18 Championships, Sheridan started forward, but had stints in defence. Against the Allies in her most recent match, the over-ager was in the back 50 before being thrown forward in the last quarter and kicking two clever goals.

Looking up to Carlton’s Darcy Vescio at the top level, Sheridan said her general game smarts and forward IQ were among her better traits.

“Definitely kicking and I would say just that footy IQ of leading patterns, when and where to lead, where you need to be before the footy gets there,” she said. “Kicking distance and accuracy.”

Looking to develop her contested work both in the air and at ground level, Sheridan will now be able to do just that in an elite program. Growing up alongside twin brothers, she always wanted to follow in their footsteps, and with the support of her father who had also loved football his entire life, Sheridan made the move to Brisbane from the Gladstone region to take up a spot with the Lions Academy.

Despite living in Queensland and being apart of the Lions Academy, Sheridan is – or now likely was – a Richmond fan.

“When I first started into footy my sister kind of forced me into being a Lions fan and then I turned five or six and I was like I want to pick a team for myself,” Sheridan said. “My favourite colour was yellow growing up and always loved the Tiger as an animal so decided to go for the Tiges.”

Already kitted up in the Lions outfit after her signing was announced this week, Sheridan had some pretty simple goals for 2023, and now she will hope to continue to achieve them at AFL Women’s level.

“Just getting into playing some consistent footy, getting that confidence fully back,” Sheridan said. “I feel like every game I’m getting more and more confident and just building up on that.”

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