Lutkins excited for MCG debut

By Beth Newman

Yeronga’s Kate Lutkins was a relative newcomer to AFL, but it hasn’t taken her long to make her stamp on the sport.

Lutkins was selected at #28 in the inaugural women’s draft last month, despite only picking up a Sherrin for the first time five years ago.

The on-baller said she was ecstatic to be selected to play in the June 29 curtain-raiser as a part of the Western Bulldogs side.

“I was pretty speechless and I had a big goofy smile  (when I found out),” she said.

“I was shocked and surprised and happy.

“I literally had no words.”

The 24-year-old may be only relatively new to footy, but she has plenty of sporting talent, having represented Australia in Futsal.

Lutkins played in the Futsal world Cup in 2008 in Spain, and is gearing up for this year’s championships in Colombia.

That big game experience should definitely help her out later this month as she prepares for women’s nationals and the game at the MCG.

Lutkins said the opportunity to play with so many talented female footballers was an opportunity she would treasure.

“The whole experience of it, playing on the field with such a high calibre of players is going to be amazing,” she said.

“I think I’ll take away a lot and learn a lot from that weekend away.”

Lutkins said her futsal experience helped her pick up footy reasonably quickly, though the contact element was tougher to get used to.

“Footy is a lot more physical/more hands-on and that involved a new challenge for me,” she said.

“Getting used to getting tackled was the hardest part. My body wasn’t used to that one.”

Having  two of her Devils teammates in the side, as well as a former teammate, also in the Bulldogs squad for June 29 would make things a little bit easier on such a big stage, Lutkins said.

“It’s good having those players now that I already know.”

Lutkins has never been to the MCG and said she hadn’t had much time to dwell on the match, but said it would be a fantastic opportunity.

“I haven’t thought about it yet,” she said.

“I think it will be very surreal and overwhelming.

“I’ll be nervous as anything but when you get out there playing, I think it will be an amazing experience.”

Lutkins said the match would be a great step forward for women’s footy as well, with the best talent being showcased on the national stage.

“It’s very important to build the sport for the girl,” she said.

“It’s really looking like a bright future for women’s footy and this gives young girls something to aim to and aspire to.”

Lutkins said her Queensland captain, and former Australian soccer representative, Natalie Thomas, had been a major influence on her footy career so far.

“Natalie is a very inspiring player,” Lutkins said.

“She makes me want to improve myself on and off the field and to always get the best out of myself.

Between now and the game,Lutkins will represent Queensland at the national championships for the second time, a challenge she is looking forward to.

“It’s going to be good fun and a good trip,” she said.

“I just want to play my best and do well.”

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