Warrnambool has produced many memorable talents over the years for the Brisbane Lions.
Jonathan Brown, Hugh McCluggage, just to name a few.
Now, one of the Brisbane Lions’ newest recruits hopes she can become one of them.
Wearing the number 16 this season, once made famous by one of Warrnambool’s most well-known exports, Brown, Bella Smith will be looking to channel some of the triple Premiership player’s football magic when she joins the reigning AFLW Premiers this season.
“100% I’m hoping a bit of that Premiership luck and talent might rub off on me,” Smith said.
“I normally go a lower number, like a single digit and I was hoping for 8 because I knew that Zilks was giving it up.
“When I saw 16, I was like ‘Well, it’s meant to be’.
“I knew it was Jonathan Brown’s number. He’s from my hometown in Warrnambool, played for the South Warrnambool Roosters and is actually great mates with my Dad and my Grandad.
“When we moved up here, he’s why we started going for the Lions. I had his number on the back of my jumper and everything.”
Smith isn’t the only one with a sentimental choice of number. Teammate Maggie Harmer will don the #8 in 2022, a number once worn by her Dad throughout his Queensland rugby career.
While Mikayla Pauga will take #27, a number that she has tied to the significance of her AFLW achievements thus far.
“27 was the date of the draft, and also the date that I finally achieved what I had dedicated hours and hours into,” Pauga said.
“It was the number of this achievement and I thought it was a nice reminder when I play that no matter what happens from here, I’ve still come so far and should be proud.”
Tahlia Hickie will upgrade her number this season to take the vacant #2, making way for new draftee Lulu Pullar to wear the #24 for the Lions in 2022.
Pick No.53 Luka Yoshida-Martin will slot into #19, with former Tiger Phoebe Monahan set to don the #11 when she makes her first outing as a Lion in 2022.