‘Last puzzle piece’ in place as Brisbane Lions sign ‘prodigiously talented’ teen

A southern Queensland teenager who has been on the Brisbane Lions’ radar since she was 13 will live out her dream to join the team.

Zimmorlei Farquharson, 18, was the Lions’ first pick, and the eighth overall, in the 2020 AFLW draft.

“Her movement is unparalleled,” Lions Women chief executive Breeanna Brock said.

“She’s the last piece of the puzzle for us in our list to build what we’ve had planned for the last five years.

“She’s just got an innate ability to win the footy, to be in the right spot at the right time, and that will certainly be a big asset for us.”

Farquharson, a Dalby local, has been part of the Brisbane Lions Academy for nearly three years.

“I remember getting a phone call in a previous role … to say, ‘Is it okay if we play a 13-year-old in a women’s grand final out here in Toowoomba?'” Ms Brock said.

“She’s been the youngest one that’s come through [the academy], primarily because she is so talented.”

The teenager recently broke the agility record at the AFLW Draft Combines when she clocked 8.170 seconds, beating the previous time of 8.495 seconds.

A girl wearing a red and blue uniform prepares to kick a football across an oval as two girls watch on.A girl wearing a red and blue uniform prepares to kick a football across an oval as two girls watch on.
Zimmorlei Farquharson playing in an under-17s championship.(Supplied: Geoff Farquharson)

Women’s league seemed impossible

Farquharson watched the draft announcement last Tuesday evening in her family’s lounge room with a small group of her Dalby Swans teammates.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking for me, seeing that my future that I’ve tried to build for 10 years could finally happen,” she said.

“It really made me humble inside.

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Now in Year 12 at Toowoomba’s Concordia Lutheran College, she got her start in football as a six-year-old playing AusKick, before progressing to the Dalby Swans AFC under-8s.

But as a young teen the thought of playing at an elite level seemed impossible.

“I didn’t really think there was going to be a girls team at all, up where the males are,” she said.

“When they announced there was going to be an AFL women’s league starting up, my heart started pounding — I couldn’t believe it.

Farquharson is now looking forward to moving to Brisbane and “showing that a country girl can really make it in the big leagues”.

Young Lion on the rise

Ms Brock said Farquharson was part of a new generation of female footballers who had been able to play the game consistently from a young age.

“She’s done AusKick, she’s played mixed football, she’s played women’s and now she’s gotten drafted,” she said.

“That’s the future of women’s football now, as opposed to girls having played at a young age and then having to stop playing because there was no all-girls competition for them.”

She said Farquharson’s height of 172cm and versatility gave her the option to play several different positions in the team.

“Certainly she’s in our long-term plan,” Ms Brock said.