Snell’s footy journey moves to Western Bulldogs

THERE have been plenty of footy colours Elizabeth Snell has worn since she first started playing the game.

The yellow and black of Kyneton, red sash of Essendon, Big V of Victoria Country, and the Bendigo Pioneers guernsey are a few she has worn in recent years.

This summer, Elizabeth will be in the famous red, white and blue of Western Bulldogs in the AFLW.

The talented midfielder was taken at pick 26 in the 2021 draft.

Playing for Sacred Heart College Kyneton in school footy was where her footy journey began.

“The school was looking for players, so I thought I would give it a go,” Elizabeth said.

Not long after that and she was racking up kicks, marks and handpasses for Kyneton in the Bendigo Bank Junior Football League’s youth girl’s competition. Elizabeth has also played 3 matches this season for Kyneton’s Women’s side in the Champions IGA Central Victorian Football League Women.

Elizabeth’s pace and skill caught the attention of selectors for Bendigo’s under-15 girls team to play in the V/Line Cup series.

After starting her playing days on a wing or half-forward, Elizabeth has moved into an onball or midfield role.

Although she played just five matches for the Bendigo Pioneers in this year’s NAB League action, Elizabeth earned the Southcombe Family trophy as club best and fairest.

The Southcombe family have had strong links to the Pioneers for many years.

Tony Southcombe was the first coach of the Bendigo Pioneers under-18s in the TAC Cup season of 1993 and his sister Jill is a long-time volunteer and life member of the club.

“To win the club best and fairest was a shock, but a great honour, too,” said Elizabeth Snell who spent time in 2021 playing for Essendon in the VFLW and for Victoria Country at national championship level.

“Playing in the VFLW was a great experience,” she said of playing for Essendon which was beaten by Geelong in the preliminary final played on July 31.

In the lead-up to the AFLW season start in December, Elizabeth will have plenty of training with the Nathan Burke-coached Western Bulldogs and also workouts in her hometown of Kyneton.

She is also busy away from footy by working at Kyneton’s Woolworths.

Elizabeth’s play on the footy field is closely followed by parents Kristina and Mark, and siblings Sarah, Jayde and Joshua.

“When I first started it was all about having fun,” Elizabeth said.

“As time went on there were opportunities to play for the Pioneers and games at a higher level.

“I had watched other girls from central Victoria make their way to AFL clubs, and thought I can do it.”

Some of the AFLW players from central Victoria who have or are still playing in the competiton include Kerryn Harrington at Carlton, Grace Campbell at North Melbourne, Kodi Jacques and Tessa Lavey at Richmond, and Collingwood’s Emma Grant.

In terms of footy she will work at building up fitness and strength and areas of her game that Nathan Burke and the rest of the Bulldogs’ coaching team have pinpointed to improve.

In 2020, Western Bulldogs achieved a win-loss record of 5-4 to be eighth in the AFLW premiership race.

Elizabeth is keen to play a part in the club’s rise.

Written by Nathan Dole.

Photo courtesy of Bendigo Advertiser.