Former Brisbane Lion Cheynee Stiller is loving his new job, as an AFLQ Club coordinator.
AFLQ Club Coordinator, Cheynee Stiller, knows firsthand how far Queensland footy has come in the last decade.
The 27-year-old played all of his football in the sunshine state, starting with junior footy at Aspley, before playing for the Northern Eagles in the QAFL and being rookie-listed at the Brisbane Lions in 2005.
Stiller said opportunities for Queensland footballers had increased dramatically, even since he entered the AFL.
“There’s never been a better time to be seen or to be drafted from Queensland,” Stiller said.
“In my first year at the Lions, I played a few ressies games, and if played 11 or 12 listed players, we would win quite easily.
“In the NEAFL, if we had a side with 11 or 12 listed players, we got a pretty handy pumping.”
Stiller is almost two months into a job as an AFLQ club co-ordinator in Brisbane North, after his 100-game career with the Brisbane Lions ended last year.
Stiller’s role is focused on helping kids transition from Auskick to junior football clubs.
“Auskick has incredibly strong numbers, but these have not always translated to juniors,” he said.
“I’m keen to develop strategies to get under-6s and under-8s strong numbers because that sets the club up for future success.”
Further down the development track, Stiller said the growth of the NEAFL competition had been crucial for keeping Queensland talent in Queensland.
“Ideally you want young people striving not just to play AFL, but also NEAFL,” he said.
“The more players we can keep in that competition, the better because it stops them going down south.”
The establishment of the SUNS and Lions Academies also provides players with greater opportunities to take their footy to the top level.
“With the academies, players are aligned more to an AFL club,” Stiller said.
“Kids think ‘If I make this team, then I’m already halfway there.’”
As someone who has been full circle through footy in Queensland, now playing in the NEAFL for Aspley, Stiller had some valuable advice for those aspiring to make a career out of the sport.
“Be persistent – If people tell you that you can’t make it, just keep working hard,” he said.
“You’ve got to have a passion for it.”