Talented teens ready to prove doubters wrong
AUSSIE RULES: As the sun sets at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium, a young AFL prospect brightens the venue with her own air of self-confidence.
North Coast gun Lillian Doyle hasn't grown up idolising Lance Franklin or Cyril Rioli. She's part of a new generation of female footy players banging the door down with her own list of incredible credentials.
In just five years of playing the sport, Lillian has been in the Gold Coast Suns Academy, represented NSW and been involved in the national set-up.
"I'm inspired by my local footy players and coaches who have helped me get to where I am,” Lillian said.
"People like Paul Taylor, Matt Crawley and Warren Bagnall amongst others. There's so many.”
The Grafton Tiger junior currently represents Coolangatta in the strong Southeast Queensland competition, a sacrifice which has continued her upward trajectory.
"It's a bit of a commitment but since I love footy so much I'm not afraid to give it a go,” she said.
"It's hard for my family to watch me play now because it's a long drive, so it's amazing this tournament is in Coffs Harbour.”
The 18-year-old is in town with 100 fellow future superstars ready to square off against each other.
Lillian is part of a NSW/ACT under-18s team who will play the Brisbane Lions, Suns and the Northern Territory in a series of matches over the weekend.
The competition is being used as a tune-up ahead of the national championships in June.
It's opportunities like this why Lillian declares now as "a great time to be alive”.
"The amount the AFL has developed the women's game is kind of hard to imagine. It's amazing.
"At my age it's great to be coming into the professional leagues.”
As for her take on whether her side can reign supreme this weekend, Lillian unsurprisingly responded with an unwavering self-belief.
"Of course. Anything's possible.”