Six years after she first took up Aussie Rules, Gold Coast teacher Selina Goodman will be one of 44 players to take to the field in the first AFL women’s grand final between the Lions and the Crows on Saturday.
The Lions ruck has described her journey to the historic game as “an absolute dream that you never thought would come true, and it has come true”.
She only started playing the game in Cairns in 2011, after some prompting.
“My dad’s receptionist asked me and said ‘I think you’d be good at AFL, you should come down and give it a go’,” she said.
Goodman did well enough in that first trial, and when the AFL announced women would get a national league of their own, she moved to the Gold Coast to chase her football dream.
The Helensvale State High School maths teacher was in a class for Year 7 students last year when she learnt she had been drafted by Brisbane.
“I just put my hands up and starting cheering and the kids were asking ‘What are you cheering about miss?’
“I was almost crying. I told them I had just got drafted and the whole class started giving me a round of applause.”
Winning season for Lions team
Since then Goodman has become a member of a Lions outfit that has gone the entire regular season without dropping a game.
“One thing that’s really good about our team is that there is no weak link,” she said.
“We’ve got strong players all over the park and we all just share the load.”
So determined were the Lions to do well this year, the entire team decided to go without alcohol for the season.
“I think as a club we thought we’d do pretty well, but I don’t think anyone expected the Brisbane Lions to do as well as they have done,” Goodman said.
“It’s been a huge season and we’re over the moon with the position we’re in.”
Goodman said the Lions had what it took to get on top of a Crows outfit that included professional basketballer turned AFL star Erin Phillips and prolific goal-kicker Sarah Perkins.
“We know that Perkins has been kicking a bag,” Goodman said.
“I think Leah Kaslar played on her last time and did tremendous job. I assume she’d probably be playing on Perko again, so I think she should be able to keep her goalless.
“Then our midfield unit will be all over Phillips.”
Keeping things normal ahead of big game
Goodman has been trying to keep her preparation as simple as possible ahead of the premiership game.
“We had one of the boys from the leadership group from the Brisbane Lions men’s club come down and speak, and he said just ensure you keep everything as normal as you can,” she said.
For Goodman a normal week includes juggling teaching, junior coaching and training commitments.
“I’ve got to be very, very organised, for every single day. At the moment I don’t even have weekends because we’re travelling, so that means my mum is doing my meal preps to be honest,” she said.
Helensvale State High School principal Mark Blackshaw said the entire school community was proud of Goodman’s achievements this season.
He hopes Goodman and her teammates will get plenty of support from the Gold Coast for the decider, which will be played at Carrara Stadium from 12.55pm on Saturday.
“She’s such an outstanding teacher and role model, and to have her playing at this elite level in front of what we hope to be 20,000 people, there’s a real buzz around the school,” he said.
“I know it’s motivational for the school and in particular the girls who play footy.”
One of the girls Goodman coaches, Montana Dyer, took up Aussie Rules so she could play with her brothers during their backyard games.
She now hopes to follow her teacher’s path all the way to the AFL.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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