Courtney Hodder is best known for a goal, and a mark. 


A Grand Final goal that was replayed on a loop after Brisbane's maiden AFLW premiership in 2021, and a QClash mark that harkened back to the days of the club's men's early-2000s threepeat. 


She's known for big, flashy moments. But Courtney Hodder is much more than those acts of pure skill and courage. 


Hodder is a friend, a standard-setter and a game changer. 


Courtney the friend 


"She's just one of my best mates," teenage Lion Charlie Mullins told


"She just

has so much care for her family and friends, and just knows how to make everyone laugh. Just a good person to be around." 


For Mullins, who's not a big talker, it was Hodder who made her feel comfortable around the club, providing her the best chance to thrive on the field. And it wasn't by accident. 


"Charlie's not a person of many words," Hodder said. 


"I always say, once you talk it's so much better. When I started, I don't think I spoke for half the year with the Lions. Then we did like a little party trick thing, and I can somehow pop my shoulder blades out and so once I did that I was like 'oh my goodness, these girls are laughing at me. OK I'm in, I'm so cool now'." 





Hodder's journey of finding her own level of comfort within the playing group, still reserved but able to bust out a party trick or joke when needed, has helped the younger brigade of Lions coming through. 


"My advice to all the young ones is just to come in and talk, you know. We're not going to bite; we love to see the confidence and the growth in them. If they're too quiet, we're not going to give them the ball," Hodder laughed. 


The small forward holds rare air at the club, known for her affable personality, but also holding great respect among the playing group. 


That respect has been earned not only for her stunning on-field feats, but for the person she is off the track. 


"There's this level of respect that the group has for her, which probably goes unspoken even among the girls," Brisbane forwards coach Phil Lovett said of Hodder. 


"You know, in team meetings she doesn't say a whole lot, but when she does it holds a lot of weight. And I think the same thing happens pre-game, she can be sort of quiet and not shy but reserved, but every now and again … she pops out and everybody gets a good laugh out of it and maybe puts people at ease.  


"Because she has that respect in the group, almost anything she does gets a laugh or gets a reaction." 


One of those pre-game things to set her teammates at ease is dancing in the rooms. Currently known among the group for her love for a particular Drake song, every time it's played Hodder is able to get them up and about. 


"She's really good at dancing," Mullins said earnestly. 


Hodder admits that she is a very relaxed person, never overly nervous before games, just waiting for that first siren to get going. 


"Before games I take a nap, or I watch Netflix on the bus. I'm such a nana," Hodder said. 


"I let the work be done when I'm out on the field. I don't worry too much while I'm off the field, having a little dance and a muck around, that's definitely my style." 


Courtney the standard setter 


According to Lovett, Hodder is the epitome of actions speaking louder than words. She lets her footy, and her personality, do the talking. 


"Both on the training track and on the field, she doesn't need a lot of instruction, she doesn't need a lot of review," Lovett said. 


"When you see someone like Courtney performing, you're almost forced to do it too, to try and stay up at that level. So, you buy into not just our gameplan, but what your teammates are doing." 




Playing in such a way that teammates are inspired to come up to your level is one thing, but during the week Hodder is constantly working to ensure her fellow Lions have the toolkit to achieve that standard. 


"We have a 'Court' tackle school. Every session I run a little tackling class," Hodder said. 


"It's nice to be acknowledged in the sense that my tackling is really inspiring my teammates, and although I haven't kicked as many goals this year, I've definitely built my game on pressure." 


Taking Mullins under her wing has also meant impromptu one-on-one skill sessions to help advance the teen's footy development. 


"We're always doing our craft together, and she's giving me tips and tricks on things, she really helps my game," Mullins said. 


"I want to play like her." 


Courtney the game changer 


That tackling craft is not only Hodder's signature, but with her addition to the side in 2021, it became Brisbane's brand. 


Having laid a record 118 tackles inside 50 – 10 more than the second-placed Kate Hore, who has played 21 more games – Hodder came in, went about her business, and the rest of the side followed. 


"Before and after she was here, there's been a massive change," Lovett said. 


"That's not just adding her numbers, it's almost like she was the first domino to fall and once everyone started seeing what she does, they were forced to follow her. She changed how we play, and she's been that consistent presence down there ever since." 


The Lions occupy three of the top four highest average tackle inside 50 counts with their last three seasons, including a new record average of 17 tackles inside 50 this year. 


Hodder herself has contributed 3.3 each week in the attacking arc, part of her 7.5 tackles per game. 


"It's not that she has no care when she's tackling. She sees the ball, she sees an opposition jumper and then she's in there … her tackling technique is almost flawless," Lovett said. 


"When you've got such a sound technique like that, you're going into any situation, against a player who is big, tall or otherwise, and she just knows she can go in and tackle effectively." 


Courtney the courageous 


And that mark. 


The mark taken soaring back with the flight of the ball into the path of teammate Dakota Davidson's lead.  




"I just thought I had the full pocket to myself," Hodder said frankly of the stunner in the dying moments against Gold Coast that caught the footy world's attention. 


"To be honest, I didn't think much of it. I came home to my parents and I'm like, 'everyone's talking about this mark, I don't even think it's that good'," she said.


"Then I watched it back and I'm like 'OK, maybe it was alright'. It's definitely blown up bigger than what I thought it would." 


For Mullins, it was about checking on Hodder once she'd hit the deck to see if she was alright, but for Lovett, who knew the game was in the bag with 40 seconds left on the clock, it was a different feeling. 


"Stupid initially, then second that's not your job, then third, yeah, holy hell," Lovett said. 


"That was for all intents and purposes (Davidson's) mark … then we all just saw her out of the corner of our eye, and it was just like 'oh my god, what are you doing?' But the more you look at it, the more ridiculous it gets actually." 


But putting her body on the line late, when the game was won, is emblematic of Courtney Hodder the player and the person. 


"That goes to Courtney's character, doing what feels right to do, playing the game to the last minute," Lovett said.