Courtney Murphy has been around Aussie rules football since she was in grade six, but her arrival at the Lions was not as straight forward as it seems. 

The 22-year-old ruck has spent the last four years in America playing college basketball, though a return to the football world was always in the back of her mind. 

So much so that Murphy strategically planted the seed with a message to coach Craig Starcevich in a bid to restart her football career. 

“I played basketball and footy through my junior years up the Sunshine Coast but had to pick one,” Murphy said. 

“There was always that part of me that was missing it while I was in America and wanting to play footy.” 

“I always kept in touch with Starce, I knew I wanted to play footy in the future. 

“I’m really glad we kept in touch over those years and it’s great to be back being coached by him again and playing alongside these girls. 

“When I was nearing the end of my college career I reached out and said, ‘hey got one more year left, what are your plans looking like back in Australia for footy because I’d love to come and play’.” 

Growing up playing footy, Murphy is no stranger to the game but having taken five years away she knows it will take some time to adjust. 

The exciting ruck prospect is back into the full swing of Lions pre-season training at the Club’s new base at Brighton Homes Arena. 

“It is definitely a different environment but a smooth transition, they’ve built a really nice team environment and it is great to come back into that,” Murphy said. 

“I think the hardest thing has been the kicking, getting back to kicking again because it has been five years. 

“So that was a little bit tough but getting into it every week and improving day by day and I know it’ll come back it’s just getting that muscle memory. 

“Before I left for America, I was in the Brisbane Lions Academy and then the Queensland team with a few of the girls and Starce was the coach too, so it is all very familiar.” 

As one of the tallest players on the Lions list, Murphy is looking to the Lions lead ruck Tahlia Hickie and forward Dakota Davidson as guiding lights in her first season. 

“I think I’ll play in the ruck or as a tall forward this year, hopefully I can contribute to that area,” she said. 

“I’m looking up to Tahlia (Hickie) and Daks (Davidson) to follow their steps and they are really helping me so far along the way.”