The Queensland Brigade once again proved they would leave no stone unturned in their quest for LFL Australia glory.
In town on business for the nearby Indigenous All Stars match, Legendary Australian football coach John Roe accepted an invitation from Brigade coach Luke Chapman to put the Brigade through their paces in a comprehensive two-hour scrimmage. Practicing the finer points of wide receiving at this high performance training session, Roe was left impressed by the athleticism of the Brigade players.
“As a receiver, it’s paramount that you’re making your catches, even in training, and the girls were really focused on doing that today,” said Roe as he raced around the field with an armful of training cones. “A lot of them have a background in either tag football or Australian Rules, and you can see those hand-eye skills carrying over.”
Roe was quick to dispel the modern game’s fixation on the speed of a receiver. “Don’t get me wrong, speed is important for your wide receivers, but if you’re not [making] your catches, you’re not going forward in this game.”
A man in high demand and constantly on the go, Roe spoke glowingly of the Brigade players’ aggression when competing for the ball. “Wide receivers sometimes have a bit of a reputation in football as being the outspoken members on the team, but I see it as a good thing. As a coach I’m looking for a player with a bit of attitude; someone who wants the ball.”
It’s unlikely that Roe will make the move to Queensland permanently, however the Brigade are welcoming a pair of athletes who have made an even further journey to become a part of the team.
With the depth of talent increasing dramatically across LFL Australia so too has each team’s desire to become the league’s dominant side. With this in mind the Queensland Brigade have turned to a commonwealth cousin in order to bolster their side for the 2013 season. Enter “The Grenade.”
Ashley Brasil, or “The Grenade” to teammates, is one half of QLD’s Canadian double-trouble act set to explode on opposing teams in the inaugural LFL Australia season. While the many young Canadians who move to Australia each year to study or surf are generally regarded as polite and gentle people, Brasil and fellow Canuck Danielle Sutcliffe have made it their mission to fly the maple leaf flag down under aggressively.
“Canadians are extremely competitive when it comes to sports, and anyone who watched the first season of LFL Canada is aware of what we’re capable of bringing to the gridiron,” said Brasil when asked about playing in the Australian league. “People might think I don’t look dangerous, but there’s a reason they call me ‘The Grenade.’ I’m explosive with the ball and will have you eating dirt when I’m playing on ‘D.’ A few teams are going to find that out the hard way this year.”
With a background as a hard-hitting hockey player back in her native Ontario, it would be savvy to head Brasil’s warning. However, despite their love of the tough stuff, the Canadian twin terrors are hardly a pair of brainless bruisers. Under the watchful eye of Brigade assistant coach Tracy Day, Brasil has gained a strong appreciation of the game’s technical intricacies and developed a true love of the sport. Brasil added, “I love that football challenges me mentally as well as physically. It’s such a strategic game, and coach T has really opened my eyes to what it takes to be a success.”
With an eye on winning an LFL Championship, making the Australian all-star LFL team at year’s end, and one day running out onto the field in front of the fans in her native country, “the Grenade” isn’t likely to be pulling the pin on her Brigade teammates anytime soon. The same however can’t be said for her unfortunate opposition. Time to duck and cover!