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Female touch for Academy

Emma Zielke (left) and Emily Bates (right) from the AFLQ Female Academy
They have fitted in quite smoothly with the drills we’ve been doing so far over our summer training block.
Luke Curran

Three of Queensland’s most promising female Australian Rules footballers – Emma Zielke, Emily Bates, and Taylor Harris – have been taking part in some of the Hyundai Help for Kids Brisbane Lions Academy training sessions over summer.

Zielke, Bates, and Harris, who are all members of the Queensland women’s state team, will train once a week with the Academy’s U16 squad in a bid to enhance their skills and fitness base over the off-season.

“We’ve assisted the AFLQ previously with setting the training program and taking sessions for the girls Academy, so when approached about having Emma, Emily and Taylor train with our guys, it was an easy decision to get them involved,” Lions Academy Manager Luke Curran told

“Their skills and footy knowledge is at a pretty reasonable level, so they have fitted in quite smoothly with the drills we’ve been doing so far over our summer training block.”

Zielke’s name might ring a bell for Lions fans as she not played in the AFL Women’s exhibition match earlier this season, but is also a valuable member the Club’s administration staff based at the Gabba,

Curran commented that there is also a strong female presence at the Academy off the field.

“It’s not just the girls training – we’ve also got Laura Kidd from The Gap SHS helping out with our U18 training and coaching program at the moment, along with post-grad physiotherapy students Hayley Wilkinson and Ashleigh Haydock looking after our U18 medical under the supervision of our Academy head physio, and exercise science student Kate Morris helping with the fitness program for our U16 North squad,” he said.

“All have been great additions to our program with each having good knowledge bases in their respective fields.

“Having the women around – both on and off the field – also helps our boys learn how to respectfully and professionally deal with females in what is normally a male dominate football environment.

“This helps with our strong off-field focus of producing good people as well as good footballers.”