From humble beginnings as a Maryborough Lion, Lauren Butler fought her way through representative and state footy to realise her ultimate dream of becoming an AFLW footballer.
Amid the stress of year 12, Butler was drafted at pick number 18 to the Collingwood Football Club last year and went on to make her national- level debut this February.
Butler first pulled on the jumper in the Pies’ round one clash with Geelong in what she labelled “a dream come true”.
“I remember a few days before when the coach brought me into a different room to tell me that I was playing and that was probably the big moment where it all became real,” she said.
“When we ran out for the first game of the season it was such a surreal feeling and I think it took a while for me to realise what I was actually doing. It was just a dream come true.”
Butler went on to appear in three AFLW games, the most recent of which in the final home and away round earlier this month where the Pies claimed their only win for the season.
Collingwood led at every term, eventually defeating Brisbane by six points.
Butler said the win was a great way to cap off the season and “such a relief” for everyone at the club.
“It was such a good feeling and it was a big relief to finally win a game for the season,” she said.
“We’d been building and building, getting better every week and to finally see the pay off was so good.”
Butler, who is no stranger to hard work, having played TAC Cup and VFL level football before, said training at AFLW level was “a big step up”.
For more on this story see the Back Page of The Advertiser, Friday, March 29