Lillian Gross is a key player in the new Women's football league with the Broadbeach Cats. Aleenta BARRE has had Lillian and the Cats attending weekly sessions during pre-season to work on muscle and core strength. Here Lillian tells us about her journey into football and barre...
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into women’s AFL?
I am 20 years old, born and raised on the GC although I have moved around a fair bit. My dad's side of the family is where my love of AFL came from as he was born in Victoria and we are all big Collingwood fans. You could say my Grandma is my biggest inspiration when it comes to footy and I would love to do her proud - It's a dream of mine to play AFL professionally one day.
I've only been playing for about a year and a half now and when one of my friends told me that the Broadbeach Cats had a new women's team, I didn't give it a second thought. To be a foundation women's player at Broadbeach is an honour and being at such an amazing club only fuels the love I have for this sport.
What are your feelings about the first women’s offical national games this year?
Pure excitement! I have been watching AFL for many many years, and to have the Women's League stepping up, it's just amazing! Women's AFL is growing so much - It's honestly the start of a dream come true! My all time dream is to be running around the MCG in a Black and White Collingwood jumper, but if I was to make it to the Women's League I would honestly be happy in whatever colours they want me in... that's my dream and I would do anything to get there.
Why did you organise to do pre-season training at the Aleenta BARRE Mermaid Waters Studio?
I honestly never would have picked barre to be such a challenging activity. When Alicia told me that Abbey Holmes (AFLW Crows Player) was one of the Ambassadors for the Melbourne studio I thought I would try it out for myself. Let me tell you, I love it, the girls love it and it's very rewarding. I thought it would be good for the team to have a training night where we are able to find ourselves as a team but train individually, Aleenta BARRE handed us a great opportunity and we took it. 2017 is going to be a big season, so why not amp it up a bit in the pre season!
What do you think Barre will do for your team?
I personally think that barre will allow us to have smarter game play and also help us with injury prevention. Strengthening your muscles is such an important part of footy. Having miles in your legs is one thing, but to be able to use your upper body strength to bump someone and Shepard for your teammate, or to be able to explode off one spot on the field without tearing your quad or hamstring, that's another thing. To me, there is two sides to footy, the easy way or the smart way. I would like to see my team succeed and make it to the Grand Final by being smart.
How tough is barre compared to footy?
Fitness wise, I think footy is tougher. Some of our training on the field is very intense (thanks Coach) but I think barre is more challenging muscle wise. I said the other day after one of our sessions that I had a lot more respect for Ballet dancers, when you're constantly using your muscles the way we do in classes - it does get extremely tough! I never realised how much muscle is involved in pointing your toes!