'Beyond excited' Lion welcomes Springfield funding news
"BEYOND excited" were Brisbane Lions AFLW defender Kate Lutkins' words after Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the Federal Government would provide $15million in funding toward the club's proposed training and administration facility at Springfield this week.
'The Reserve' will house the Lions' AFLW side as well as the club's NEAFL team, with construction beginning this year and expected to wrap by 2021.
"I was there at the announcement . . . the girls are really excited, it will be amazing to have a place that we can actually call home," the former Ipswich footballer said.
The Lions' AFLW side has moved homes a number of times since its inception three years ago, from Yeronga to Southpine Sports Complex and most recently Moreton Bay Sports Complex at Burpengary.
It is the latter which will host the Lions' season opener against GWS tomorrow.
Lutkins enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, when she was named Lions' best and fairest and selected in the All Australian side.
The 30-year-old was a key cog in the Brisbane defence en-route to a second-consecutive AFLW grand final berth.
Unfortunately it was a sense of deja vu for the underdog Lions, who lost in the decider by six points for a second year running.
Brushing off the bridesmaids tag, Lutkins preferred instead to embrace underdogs status as, once again, the Lions have mostly been absent from pundits' early finals calculations.
"That's the way it's always been and that's the way we like it," she said.
"We're in not so much our own little bubble, but our own inner sanctum within our four walls. Everything else is outside noise. We choose to turn it around, embrace it and let it motivate us."
Lutkins said the introduction of two new teams to the competition this season - North Melbourne and Geelong - meant the build-up to season three was similar to the first.
"It's practically year one all over again, with 60 more girls now having an opportunity to pull on an AFLW jersey," she said.
"And next year it will be the same again with another 120. It's really exciting."
The Lions have welcomed 10 new faces to the club, including Lutkins' Wilston Grange teammate, Jacqui Yorston.
Lutkins offered praise for her new Lions teammate, who she expects will bolster the Lions midfield and "be with the club for a long time".
She added first round selection Paige Parker is "one to watch" for Lions fans.
"As a defender, I think she'll really embrace her role and do really well," Lutkins said.