Players to Watch

Katie BrennanKatie Brennan : Qld

Itís difficult to believe that Katie Brennan is only 19 years old. Her football ability belies her age and is especially creditable when you realize she comes from a state that is in itís AFL infancy.

Katie is one of the few footballers at elite level who has come through the female football pathway starting with Auskick. Her list of achievements reads like Gary Ablettís football CV with a long list of representative teams, premierships and individual awards earned by Katie already.

She has gained All Australian selection in 2009 and 2011, been a member of the AFL Womens High Performance Academy (2010), represented Queensland in Under 18s (2007-2010) and was the captain 08/09/10 and lists the following premierships as some of her football highlights: 2006 Ė Youth girls and 14 boys, 07-10 Womens with Logan WFC and 2011 Womens with Yeronga WFC.

Katie was one of eight female footballers to participate in the 2011 AIS/AFL Academy during AFL Grand Week in 2011. This was the 15th intake for male players but the first foray for females.

"It was a dream come true," Katie said. "I have always wanted to be an AIS athlete and to participate was amazing."

"During the week I got to meet top class coaches from AFL as well as spend time with the best female footballers in Australia. At times it was difficult as I realized thereís a big gap between being a good male player as opposed to being a good female player."

But Katie showed great maturity and grit to overcome any potential barriers by giving the Camp her best efforts.

"In the end I think we (the female footballers) gained a lot of respect from the boys as we asked lots of questions and were really enthusiastic in our participation. I learnt so much Ė it was an amazing week."

"I have two favourite AFL footballers," offered Brennan when asked who she most admires as footballers.

"Gary Ablett is a genuine star and an amazing midfielder.  I also like the way David Swallow plays. He is such a competitor and never gives up. He is hard at the ball and has fantastic skills."

As it turns out fellow Academy member Aasta OíConnor (Victoria), is Brennanís female football role model.

"I have known Aasta since I was little, and she taught me so much not only about the game, but about professionalism, hard work and dedication. I have never met someone so passionate about their footy. She is an amazing footballer and a great role model," Brennan said.

So expect to see some mentoring continuing as the experienced Brennan gets to rub shoulders with her idol during the High Performance Camp week.