Gold Coast Suns young gun Lucy Single (Picture: AFLW, Design by Will Cuckson)

After moving to Australia ten years ago, Gold Coast Suns midfielder Lucy Single traded rugby union for Australian Rules Football. The move paid off for the young talent who’s become an integral part of her side three seasons into her career.

Recruited by the Suns from Bond University in the QWAFL competition, Lucy Single was a Suns Academy prospect that realised her dream. Growing up in New Zealand after being born on the Gold Coast, Single came late to Aussie Rules Football, choosing to participate in other sports before a move across the Tasman.

Lucy Single spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about her sporting background and her love for Australia’s game.

“My first sport when I was super young was rugby union and karate, that was when I was over in New Zealand,” Single told The Inner Sanctum.

“When I moved over to Australia about ten years ago, I played rugby sevens and did a bit of surf life saving and then at school we had an AFL competition and that’s where I started [playing Aussie Rules was] in grade nine.”

As someone who came to the game as a teenager, it was worth knowing the reason that Single fell in the love with the game. She shedded light on this, drawing comparisons between her native sport of rugby union and Australian Rules Football.

“At the time I felt like it was pretty similar to rugby so I was pretty comfortable in joining in the sport, I love the physicality side of it and I loved all ball sports so I was pretty keen to try AFL.”

Coming into the team as an eighteen-year-old, Single has had a lot to learn, not only about how the game is played but about being involved in elite sport. She explained what she has learnt from playing in the league over the last three seasons.

“I think [it’s taught me] the best way to look after my body, how to prepare myself and what works best for me,” she said.

“There’s a lot of education about mental health and sleeping patterns and diets and how to eat properly and all that sort of stuff so I’d probably say that’s what I’ve learnt the most.”

Single spoke about the hardest part of being such a young player in the league and how she has found learning more about Aussie Rules Football while playing the game.

“[The hardest part of being a young player in the league] is probably just a lack of experience obviously there are girls that are playing their 50th game or have played multiple seasons now so I guess [they’ve got more] footy knowledge as well,” Single described.

“Obviously I didn’t come from an AFL background so when I came in I wasn’t too familiar with it all but I’m getting there, that was the hardest part of it though.”

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    Having played 21 games at the level, Single is really coming into her own as a consistent midfielder in the Suns’ lineup. It hasn’t been easy though, crediting her more experienced teammates with helping her to find her feet.

    “I think the really good thing about our club is that everyone is willing to share what they know about the game,” she said.

    “Jamie Stanton, Jade Pregelj and Bess Keeney are probably just a few [that have helped] but those are probably just a few.

    “The older girls that are really ready to share their knowledge and their experience and are really smart football-wise and they are probably who I’ve learnt the most off of.”

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    Looking towards season eight which looms as her fourth AFLW season, Single is eyeing consistency at the level as well as improving her football IQ.

    “I feel like every season I’ve been getting better [but] I’ll probably stick to the skills and knowledge side of footy, like I’m pretty happy with the physical aspect of it so it would probably be refining my skills and learning more about the game.”

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