By Ant Wingard
It probably comes as no secret that midfield dynamo Lily Postlethwaite will be among the top Queenslanders vying for selection at Tuesday’s AFLW Draft.
The two-time All Australian has capped off another dominant year, putting her right in the frame to be taken early by the Brisbane Lions of which she was an Academy member through her teenage years.
But Postlethwaite’s success on the field – she also claimed the QAFLW Rising Star in her first season at the top level – was forged in large thanks to her dedication off of it.
Postlethwaite has grown up on a farm and the 40 acres that she calls home often make for the ideal, yet unorthodox, training grounds.
“We have a horse track so if I have to do some conditioning at home, I will just do it on there,” Postlethwaite told aflq.com.au.
“Sometimes, Pa is on the track riding the horses and then you have to get out of the way.
“[Other times], my nephews are in the golf buggy driving next to me while I run.”
The training has since paid off although Postlethwaite admits she hasn’t been blessed with the anerobic genes of her brother who is a competitive cross country runner.
Instead, the Moreton Bay Lions junior relies on other members of her family to spur her on and perhaps most particularly, her father, Nathan.
— AFL Queensland (@AFLQ) October 15, 2019
It was Nathan who first introduced Lily to football back in 2013 as a 12-year-old when the former was plying his trade with the Lions’ masters team.
Lily would often train with the old boys but when the side moved from the showgrounds to the new Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex, they discovered a youth girls team training on the adjacent oval.
As Lily rose through the youth girls ranks, Nathan was always there. He coached her in every single year with the Lions, including an Under 17 Premiership win as well as in the QFAW Division 1 competition where Postlethwaite was just 17 playing in the senior grade.
“He’s been really good as a coach,” Postlethwaite said.
“He’s not really hard on me in front of the other girls but he is in the car ride home.”
Postlethwaite’s rapid ascendancy to the top of the Queensland female Under 18 ranks will likely hold her in good stead for selection in the AFLW Draft next week.
Her busy 2019 campaign was as busy as any draft hopeful, with games played regularly across multiple levels including the QAFLW, QW Winter Series, Lions Academy and NAB AFLW Under 18 National Championships.
But upon reflection, even by her lofty talents and expectations, not even Postlethwaite could have envisaged just how near perfect 2019 transpired.
“Obviously, I wasn’t expecting it to go that smoothly,” Postlethwaite said.
“At the start of the year I thought I had so many games to get through to the end of the year which is when you can relax.
“I was pretty successful and I’ve done everything I can to put my best foot forward.”
As a member of the Lions Academy, Postlethwaite has already been able to draw knowledge from teammates who have experienced these stressful finals days in years gone by.
But the similarities between her and one in particular bare more significance than others and likely paint a picture of the type of player Postlethwaite could become at AFLW level.
Both she and current Lion Nat Grider – pick 22 in the 2018 AFLW draft – captained the Big Q at the National Championships in their draft eligible year and both were crowned the Rising Star in the premier state competition.
Despite all of the comparisons between the pair, Postlethwaite is eager to achieve that one final hurdle and join Grider in the AFLW fraternity.
“Nat is one of my good mates. Obviously, we’ve gone through Lions Academy and everything together,” she said.
“It’s pretty ironic that we’ve done things very similar. Hopefully I can get that last box ticked off and end up on a list as well.”
With just days left until the draft, there’s not much else Postlethwaite can do to achieve her goal but offered some insight into what it would mean to see her name called.
“It’d just be a complete feeling. All of the hard work would have paid off.”