Springfield stadium ‘amazing’ for Lions players, fans
AS a sporting all-rounder growing up in Ipswich, Dakota Davidson could only dream of one day playing national league footy in her home city.
With ongoing work at Springfield's multi-million stadium, the Brisbane Lions forward can sense the growing anticipation that will happen.
She hopes to start training at the impressive site from next year, with the Lions looking to host AFL Women's matches in 2022.
Ipswich-born and bred Davidson today enjoyed casting an eye over the stadium's progress, sharing her knowledge with some Springfield Anglican College students across the road from where the massive development is underway.
"I'm stoked, hugely excited,'' Davidson said. "What a fantastic facility.''
She said being able to train and play at the one venue close to Springfield Station provided major advantages for the Lions players and fans.
"I'm so excited. It's going to be amazing,'' she said.
"They've fitted it perfectly with the train system and all that sort of stuff so spectators can get out here and we can bring AFLW out of the Brisbane area and get other suburbs involved.
"To be able to bring my sport that I love to the area I grew up in, means a lot to me.''
Joined by Brisbane Lions defender Shannon Campbell at the college today, Davidson was excited about Queensland footy returning on Saturday.
Davidson is lining up for UQ in the QAFL women's competition, providing valuable game time before the Lions AFLW pre-season preparations start in November.
The 2021 AFLW season is scheduled to kick off in February, after this year's final games were abruptly halted due to the coronavirus.
This year was her Davidson's first pre-season and national competition with the Lions.
"I was very grateful to get the amount of games (six) that I did get to play,'' she said.
She also kicked her first AFLW goal against Geelong.
Before refocusing on the national competition, Davidson enjoyed catching up with some Springfield Anglican College students, within walking distance of where the Lions new sporting hub will be completed.
"I love kids and I love teaching kids in schools,'' said Davidson who works as a teacher aid at Redbank Plains.
At today's session, Davidson and Campbell demonstrated some kicking and catching skills with students Ella Watson-Paul and Olivia Willcox soaking up the personal lessons.
Davidson said it was important to introduce more girls to the benefits of playing Aussie rules.
"We have some stats and AFL is the highest growing sport in women's in Australia,'' she said.
She has a simple message for students.
"Don't be too hard on yourself. Just take it as it is,'' she said.
"You've got plenty of time to practise.
"I've practised a lot of years now. You're not going to be the best right now but there's plenty of time to get better.''
Davidson is a classic example before making her Lions debut this season.
"I played a lot of touch footy and volleyball at school,'' she said.
"I never played AFL. It wasn't available at our school (Ipswich Girls' Grammar) and I got into it when I hit uni.
"I've played a whole bunch of sports and found my way to AFL finally.''
The Ipswich product loves the camaraderie of the sport.
"Just getting around the girls - how it's one and all - our motto.''
She is eager to play for UQ tomorrow as sporting restrictions ease.
"With COVID it was really hard because you couldn't train in groups,'' she said.
"AFL is a real team sport so I found some girls in my area. We got together every day and did our running program and gym.''