From AFLW Premiership Captain to Honorary Mayor of Bundaberg for the day, it’s safe to say life hasn’t gotten any less exciting since retiring from AFLW for former Lion Emma Zielke.

The inaugural Lions captain headed home to Bundaberg last weekend for two days of football celebrations in her hometown.

Recognising her contributions to sport and her representation of the Bundaberg community on the national stage, Zielke was appointed Honorary Mayor for the day and presented with the Keys to the City.

The whirlwind visit saw Zielke spend some time on Sunday morning sharing her advice and experience with aspiring football stars from the Wide Bay region, including players from the Brisbane Lions Hyundai Help for Kids Youth Girls Academy.

“It was great to get home to Bundy to share the AFLW Premiership Cup with everyone, and importantly celebrate another fantastic year of footy in the Wide Bay,” she said.

“I was particularly excited to meet with the girls who are part of the newly formed Brisbane Lions Wide Bay Youth Girls Academy and I’m thrilled to see how far women’s football has come since I was a teenager in Bundaberg.”

02:52 Mins
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Emma Zielke name etched into Queensland football history

Emma Zielke is set to have her name engraved in football history, with AFLW announcing the QAFLW Best & Fairest Medal as the Emma Zielke Medal.

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While dedicated women’s AFL competitions were few and far between when the 33-year-old was a teenager in Bundaberg, the region now boasts a growing female participation pathway including a burgeoning Lions Youth Girls Academy.

Fittingly, just weeks after having the AFLQ Women’s Best and Fairest named in her honour, the Premiership player was also on hand to present a number of awards at the AFL Wide Bay End of Season awards, including the AFL Wide Bay Best and Fairest.