An Origin Story: Megan Hunt

By Abby Collins

Megan Hunt is no stranger to breaking down barriers.

This Brisbane Lions AFLW inaugural team member has been one of the pioneers for women’s footy in Queensland, overcoming obstacle after obstacle to pursue her passion.

From the moment she fell in love with the game at the age of 5, Hunt refused to let anything stand in her way.

Growing up in Gladstone she had no choice but to rough it out on field with the boys since there were no women’s teams available.

But when Hunt was told she could no longer play in the men’s grades, the 15-year-old footy fanatic wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

Outraged and upset, Hunt wrote to the league, and their response was simple: if she could get a women’s team together, they would think about starting a league.

Hunt got straight to work, and within no time she had rounded up a full roster, kickstarting a grassroots movement that would lay the foundations for women’s footy in regional Queensland for years to come.

“I came home from school having looped in all my friends to play,” Hunt said.

“I’m just really glad there’s footy up there now. I didn’t have a pathway growing up, it’s amazing to see that girls have that now.”

While Hunt might not see her trailblazing efforts as a big deal, the impact she has had on the AFLW landscape in Queensland in undeniable.

At just 20 years old she was drafted into the inaugural Brisbane Lions AFLW team, where her debut was also the team’s debut game. She had landed a dream that no one would’ve known was possible a year or two before.

Hunts’ journey has been far from smooth sailing. Her injury record shows a hat trick of ACL’s.

After her time with the Lions, she played six years for University of Queensland, played in the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) while working FIFO, and has since moved to the Southport Sharks.

To get her footy fix while working FIFO, she played on Fridays and then would fly back to work on Sundays. It was in the NTFLW Grand Final that she ruptured her ACL for a second time. Having just rehabbed her ACL back from a grade three tear, she was devastated for it to give out on her again so soon.

“I did my ACL tear while playing for UQ, I rehabbed it and did the Grand Final with them in the QAFLW,” she said.

“Then within six months I was up in Darwin playing in the NTFLW Grand Final with no real ACL.

“So, when it did finally rupture, I was devastated, I had just done all that rehab. I had some dark thoughts about whether or not I’d be able to get back to playing this time around.”

Having just signed on with the Southport Sharks at the time, Hunt wasn’t ready to be sidelined for her first season.

The Southport coaches saw Megan’s potential and passion as an opportunity. Asking her to be on the coaching staff, to take charge of the midfielders she would one day play with, was one of the best choices they could’ve made.

“The coaches sat me down and wanted me to be involved. They made me the midfield coach,” Megan said.

“It was my first real coaching gig. I think it has really helped with my footy, it was an eye-opening experience to see the field from that side.

“I was so grateful for their support; they got me involved as soon as possible.”

This footy pioneers’ story is far from over. Having returned to the field donning the Sharks’ iconic guernsey, Megan is prepped and primmed for the battles ahead.

“It’s been amazing being back on the field,” she said.

“My first preseason game was against Aspley; I didn’t play at the level I wanted but it was just so good to be back out there.

“I feel like I haven’t played my best footy yet this year. I still have so much more to give. I’ve played for 23 years, and I won’t be stopping.

“I want to get back to where I was, if not better.”

Hunt’s efforts for women’s footy has been an inspiration to countless young women. She’s a true footy hero- a trailblazer who has pushed the boundaries of possibility and paved the way for the next generation of female footballers in Queensland.

“I’m nothing special, I’m just here playing footy,” she said humbly.

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