By Ant Wingard
Brisbane Lions defender Cathy Svarc is ready to take the next step in what has been a whirlwind 18-months since taking up Australian rules ball, as she prepares for her NAB AFL Women’s debut this weekend.
Svarc is one of eight new faces for Brisbane, who open their season against Adelaide tomorrow afternoon, and one of 11 Queenslanders in total, who are set to commence their AFLW careers in Round 1.
A physiotherapist by trade, Svarc only began playing football in 2018 but now finds herself as an x-factor for the Lions as they hope to climb back to their former AFLW glory this term.
“It has been [a bit of a whirlwind],” Svarc said.
“I know that when I started two years ago, I loved it straight away.
“It has sort of gone from strength to strength quite quickly but it’s been a great ride so far. I’m pretty excited to be where I am in such a short space of time.”
She finds herself in familiar territory for her first game too, as the Lions host the Crows at Hickey Park – the same ground Svarc played across her two QAFLW campaigns with Wilston Grange.
Those two campaigns reaped immediate rewards for the fast-paced midfielders, who quickly became a key-cog in the Gorilla’s midfield in their premiership-winning 2018 side and in 2019, won the team’s best and fairest award.
Her performances across her 26-games in the red, white and blue quickly caught the eye of the Lions’ coaching brass and was aptly snapped up with Pick 16 in last year’s AFLW Draft.
“It’s really exciting,” Svarc said about running out on Hickey Park for the first time.
“I’m not from Brisbane so that’s where I’ve started playing football. It’s really nice to play at my home ground.
“I’m a long way from my family so it’s nice to have all of that support around there and it being a familiar environment for my debut.”
Svarc will be joined by Dakota Davidson, Greta Bodey (both University of Queensland) as well as Belle Dawes and Lily Postlethwaite (both Maroochydore) as the Queensland contingent debuting for the Lions.
Elsewhere, Serene Watson, Kalinda Howarth, Molly Ritson (all Bond University), Kate Surman (Maroochydore), Jade Pregelj and Dee Heslop (both Yeronga South Brisbane) have all been named for Gold Coast for their first ever AFLW game in Sydney against the GIANTS.
In Melbourne, former Brisbane Lions Academy graduate Tarni White (Coorparoo) will round out the near-dozen debutants when she runs out for St Kilda on Sunday against the Western Bulldogs at RSEA Park.
NAB AFL Women’s Round 1 Fixture
Saturday, February 8
12:10pm AEST: GWS GIANTS v Gold Coast SUNS @ BISP
4:10pm AEST: Brisbane Lions v Adelaide Crows @ Hickey Park