Brisbane Lions AFLW star Sam Virgo has been appointed as an assistant coach for the Darling Downs under 17 girls regional team, for the Queensland State Championships.
“I jumped at the chance. I’m just really thrilled to be able to pass on some of my experiences at AFLW level, but just (also) help the girls any way I can,” said Virgo.
Alongside head coach Bert Cherry, Virgo will have the opportunity to influence some supremely talented youngsters, among them the recent recipient of the Troy Clarke Scholarship, fifteen-year-old Zimmorlei Farquharson.
“Zimmi’s a jet, I had the real privilege of getting to work with her through our under 18s campaign this year. Just to have her in the group was excellent and she’s definitely a star of the future,” she said.
“Darling downs has had a real reputation of producing some really good quality footballers in the men’s and women’s space. They’ve got a pretty good program out here, so I’m really looking forward to assisting the girls.”
Having a coach with experience from the AFLW’s high-performance environment is a huge positive, according to Darling Downs Regional Manager Jeff Neumann.
“Our girls are quite excited to have someone of Sam’s caliber, that’s an All-Australian defender and a player of her ability,” said Neumann.
“I think it’s going to have a massive impact, but I think it’s going to have a bigger impact off field, and it’s probably going to inspire those girls to be that little bit extra professional.”
Virgo found her passion for coaching through the explosion of women’s footy, which resulted in a large number of new players to the game that hadn’t received any formal instruction.
“I started off at Moorooka and we had a good year, but we had a couple of really difficult years, and a lot of new players to the game,” said Virgo.
“Whilst I was learning to play, I was also learning to coach, just through trying to pass on what knowledge I had of footy from loving it my whole life.
“I absolutely love it.”
Giving back to the game is a solid part of the Brisbane Lions AFLW ethos and something Sam and her teammates are doing their best to live and breathe.
“That was really a mantra for us, definitely in our season one and I’m sure it will continue, that our role is to inspire the next generation,” said Virgo.
“Whether we’re in season or off-season, that’s a real theme for us and a really important part of making sure Queensland footy is successful for a long time.”
The Queensland Under 17 Girls State Championships are set to kick off on Monday 9th of October.
By Sean Melrose