In what’s become a modern tradition, every season the Brisbane Lions support emerging Fitzroy talent by sponsoring two rising stars. In 2021, they turned to young guns Harrison Grace (pictured in action below) and Jaime Nelson (pictured above in the centre celebrating with teammates after a win at the Brunswick Street Oval).
Harrison Grace and Jaime Nelson have travelled similar paths on their way to our senior Fitzroy squads with both showing obvious star potential, coming through the Fitzroy Junior Football Club, and playing for the Northern Knights.
But where Harrison had the benefit of an uninterrupted career from the age of 10, Jaime had to contend with the obstacles faced by many women in her age group – being barred from footy and only able to pull play competitively when she was 16.
Jaime certainly made up for lost time though, captaining the FJFC Youth Girls in her second season and leading them to a premiership, playing in the Northern Knights premiership side in 2019, and going on to play in Carlton’s VFLW squad the same year.
Harrison was no slouch either, debuting for the seniors in 2018, playing in the midfield despite his young age, and being named as best first year player in his first full season in 2019.
“I love Fitzroy Football Club’s emphasis on community,” says Harrison. “So many good people, whether it’s the coaches, players, fans or volunteers.
“I also love how Fitzroy embraces diversity. We have an excellent Women’s team, along with numerous strong women in central roles within our club.
For Jaime, playing in a women’s squad with such an inclusive and supportive culture is what makes playing at Fitzroy so good.
“Playing with women I admire, both as players and as people, is definitely a highlight,” she says.
Brisbane Lions’ Victorian Manager, Sam Lord, emphasises the importance of the Lions’ strong relationship with Fitzroy FC and the Fitzroy Juniors, particularly given obvious historic connections.
“When the Lions aren’t playing in Melbourne, a lot of our fans can be found out at club’s spiritual home in Fitzroy – the Brunswick Street Oval – watching the Roys in action,” says Sam.
“We’re thrilled to be sponsoring young Harrison and Jaime this year, and will be sure to follow their – and the entire club’s – progress throughout the season.”