Duo kicking on towards Lions debut

Published 6:00am 30 September 2022

Duo kicking on towards Lions debut
Words by Nick Crockford

Ella Smith and Charlie Mullins are coming home this weekend for Brisbane Lions’ big NAB AFLW clash with Essendon at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex.

Both were drafted in 2022 and are working towards senior debuts for Lions who face the Bombers at Burpengary on Sunday (October 2) at 12.10pm. Entry is free.

Each has played for the Reserves and been named Emergency Players (on standby for the senior match squad in the event of injury) several times this season.

But taking that next step up is tough, especially after Lions’ superb start to the season – halfway through they top the table with four wins from five games.

But Smith, who lives at Joyner and Mullins, from North Lakes, will be at Sunday’s round six fixture in the familiar surroundings of Moreton Bay Central.

Duo kicking on towards Lions debut
Ella Smith, from Joyner, who is now at Brisbane Lions.

Exciting times

“It’s been great (at Lions), really good and exciting,” said Smith, 18, who went to Genesis Christian College at Bray Park and joined Lions from Aspley Hornets.

“Pre-season was hard, but it really gets the fitness up. Intensity is a big difference at this level and we have to know how to recover.”

Smith arrived at Lions as a national champion and Australian Under 19 rower and says the sports “help each other so much”.

“Rowing fits in perfectly with AFLW,” the inside midfielder said, “Lions play in the summer months and I can do rowing in the off season.

“Endurance is important for both, especially when you are running the whole game.”

Duo kicking on towards Lions debut
Charlie Mullins, who is finishing Year 12 at school and playing for Brisbane Lions

Learning curve

Smith was one of only three Queensland NAB AFLW Academy members and represented the state and Academy at the AFLW Under 18 Championships last year.

Charlie Mullins, who is completing Year 12 at North Lakes State College, was the 15th Lions Academy player to be drafted to the Brisbane Lions AFLW program.

Like Smith, the 17-year-old is a midfielder rising through Aspley Hornets’ ranks to join the Brisbane Lions Academy.

Mullins, who kicked a goal for Lions’ Reserves against Gold Coast Suns recently, said the “speed” of the game was the biggest difference at this level.

But, she said: “They are a really good bunch to train with. I’ve learned so much from the girls to improve my game.”

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