Hunter star Lisa Steane is set to make her AFL Women’s debut this Saturday, after being named in the GWS Giants starting lineup to face the Roos in Tasmania.
The Nelson Bay Marlins product was picked second by Greater Western Sydney in the 2019 women’s draft, but missed out on a starting role in the club’s campaign opener against new league entry the Suns. The Giants won 9–8 in torrid conditions.
Now, the 25-year-old finally has her chance to don the orange and black for GWS in her first top-flight appearance, nearly half a decade after leaving her hometown and the Hunter to pursue her AFL dreams in Sydney.
When she got the news, however, Steane thought she was in trouble. Her partner Jeremy Eddy arrived at her school where she was teaching, and handed her a phone. On it was a video from Giants coach Alan McConnell, telling her she was starting.
“I thought I was in trouble,” she laughed. “I feel really overwhelmed… I don’t know why, but I got really nervous. When I hadn’t heard from Alan I was thinking ‘who’s going to call me with the bad news tonight.’ I just can’t believe it.”
Now, Steane admits she has one thing on her mind: win round two. “I can’t believe it’s actually happening. I’m just looking forward to having a crack, and winning the game. I just can’t believe it, I’m so, so stoked,” she said.
It’s been a long road from the Black Diamond AFL competition in the Hunter, through the rep grades, into Macquarie University’s starting lineup, and finally into a training role with the Giants as the club began its life in the AFLW.
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After passed over in three consecutive drafts, Lisa revealed she did have second thoughts about her AFL career, and added there were times she considered quitting.
An explosive 2019, however, which saw the midfielder named Macquarie’s best in the team’s 5.5–35 to 4.5–29 win over the Eagles in the decider, and soon after she was selected in the AFLW draft. Things had finally clicked.
“I just kept thinking if I work really hard, they will see and eventually I will get my chance,” she explained. “I was trying more and getting exposed more, but as I was getting better everyone else was getting better too.”
After missing out on round one, Steane wasn’t sure if she was going to have what it took to make that final, seemingly tiny hurdle into the starting lineup, especially considering the Giants roster is stacked with strong Sydney talent.
Her place in the squad was always part of the plan though, coach McConnell said, and he admitted she may have been “a bit stiff” to miss out on facing the Suns.
“She had some really good form over the pre-season practice matches on the back of a really impressive VFL program for us,” he said. “Lisa is one of those girls out of Sydney who made it onto our list and really benefited from the program last year.”
Steane is the only change for the Giants heading into Round 2. The clash in Tasmania is expected to kickoff from 3.10pm AEDT.