By Meg Kennedy
She might have started her sporting journey on the netball courts, but Bacchus Marsh student Lilli Condon is fast becoming one of the young football players to watch.
At 15-years old Lilli captained the Greater Western Victoria Rebels after playing just seven games of football in the NAB league and is set to be picked to be part of the Victorian under-16 team.
Lilli says that playing football was never on the cards, as she “was confident I would continue playing netball,” but it wasn’t until coming across an advertisement for the Greater Western Victoria Rebels team that she decided to give it ago.
“After meeting the rest of the team and playing my first game, I knew that footy was what I wanted to do, and ever since then I haven’t looked back and it was possibly the best decision I have made,” she said.
Lilli said her favourite thing about the sport is “the culture that has been created in women’s football,” and the new opportunities that are arising with the growing popularity of AFLW.
“Every one of us has one passion which is to just play footy and not let anything stop us,” she said.
“I love the freedom that footy involves, [there’s] no restrictions to where you are allowed to go, as well as the competitiveness which is like no other game I have played.”
On becoming captain of the Rebels, Lilli says the opportunity funnily presented itself after she was picked “because I was the smallest.”
“It turned out to be an awesome opportunity to be able to improve on my leadership skills and to settle my nerves I had building up.”
If her recent success is anything to go by, then it is no wonder AFLW could be on the cards in the future.
Lilli said that being on an AFLW team “is definitely a recent goal of mine.”
“Watching girls footy grow around Australia has really made me think how awesome it would be to play footy at such a high level,” she said.
“Achieving this will take a lot of hard work and dedication but at the moment I’m just focused on playing footy for the teams I am in now and enjoying it.”
Although AFLW is a dream goal, Lilli also hopes to finish year 12, go to university and to travel around the world with friends.